07/10/2014 12:20

World Cup Final in Switzerland and about rules...

…coming home with different feelings.

As usual, the organizers put a lot of efforts into the competitions to ensure both, high quality competitions and spectator friendliness. Especially in the sprint competitions (mixed sprint relay on Friday and individual sprint on Sunday) the spectators got a lot to watch (video wall, arena passage,…)

Analysis of my performances:

Sprint relay: I got the second leg after Ursi. I just had some minor problems/mistakes (whenever you make one of this small mistakes you easily lose 1, 2, 3, … positions) but a normal sprint performance I would say. Running out on 13th place, coming back 14th, nothing to be proud of… Robi took the third leg, but as he was out of training the last weeks, no wonders were expected (nice he came, so we had a full team) and Laura took the last one. In the end, we were disqualified because of one missing punch. Sprint means a lot of stress, sprint relay even more, easy that you jump over one in your orienteering.

Looking on the results, the time gaps were much bigger than at WOC.

Why? Probably because of more forking, more difficult area, less teams (but more teams from the biggest federations), slightly longer running times. In general, the sprint relay is already an exciting event, but with more teams within closer gaps, it’s even more exciting.

Pictures by Nora Ramstein and Mario Ammann

The middle distance was located in a typical Swiss forest, with many paths and a lot of green areas, but still crossable. I’m quite satisfied with my performance that day, doing no mistake in the control circles, but I did a few bad route choices (control 3 and 8), losing the possibility to be on the podium that day. However, with the 10th place I got a good result in a tight race (if you take away Flying Dani ;)

So, the sprint final was waiting. Highly motivated for a good season ending, I tried to take fast, smart decisions (what seems to be smart in the competition doesn’t have to be smart when you look on the map again afterwards). At some route choices I opted for the slower one, but in general I showed a good performance. But soon after passing the finish line, I got the disappointing news that I am disqualified because I passed a temporary out of bounds area, bad luck. It was the one just after the start triangle when you turn immediately to the right. Otherwise, I was on the 13th place and 20th in the overall World Cup instead of 36th. Ok, no big consequences….



Splits Sprint

Splits Middle

During the weekend, some discussions were hold about disqualifications. I don’t want to blame anyone, who did which mistake, just want to describe what happened and how it could be done better. In general, sprint competitions are the most complicated ones, with the biggest sources of organizational errors and related possible disqualifications.

Mixed Sprint Relay:

  • Control 6-7: route “alternative” on the right side of the black-green impassable vegetation. On the internet-GPS-tracking it’s easy to see that there is a purple drawing, but on the map these lines were difficult to see during the race. In general I like to run with Pretex maps, but I think that the purple color has not the right color on yellow areas. That’s usually no problem and I wouldn’t spend any second on it during a race thinking about it, but in that particular case, the color was not that far from the color of the contour lines and the lines nearly parallel to them. I’m also sure that everybody would see the embargoed area on the OCAD file, where the colors are easy to distinguish. Solutions: putting some stripes in the terrain, different paper/printing, changing the rule that the lines of symbol 709 (out-of-bounds area) must show to the north, especially when it’s easier to read it to the map.

  • Forking: so far I heard, that men’s legs are forked with each other and women’s legs are forked with each other. This time, the first control was a “4-controls forking”, forked within all four runners of a team. The original idea behind men/women separated forking was fairness (so nobody could complain afterwards due to unlucky/unfair forking). At this time, nobody would have come to the idea to complain, because all four controls were along the path. The question which arises is, where does it stop to be fair? Who decides?

Middle distance:

Forest map, ISOM 2000 applies. So far I thought that olive green (settlement, 527) is an out of bounds area, where entering leads to disqualification. What does the ISOM say? “Houses and gardens and other built up areas. Roads, buildings and other significant features within a settlement must be shown. If all buildings cannot be shown, an alternative symbol (black line screen) may be used.”

So, there is nothing written about a disqualification if entering this area. Only symbol 528 (permanently out of bounds) shall not be entered (permanently forbidden to the runner) and overprinting symbols 709 and 711.

Some National Federations have their own specifications (f.ex. where it is not allowed to jump over an impassable fence)


A few runners (including myself) got disqualified because running through a “temporary construction or closed area” right after the start triangle. We made this mistake, it’s printed on the map, so we had to be disqualified.

For the future, I can only ask organizers to make it easier for the runners to avoid disqualification. This clearly doesn’t mean that organizers have to mark everything. If you don’t see a fence forbidden to cross on the map, you latest wake up when standing in front of a high fence. If you still jump over it, well, maybe you should intensify your cooperation with your sport-psychologist.

If you enter an area with forbidden access (forbidden to cross) symbol 528.1, and you recognize it, turn and leave it at the same place you entered it, you shouldn’t be disqualified. A disqualification might be ok in case you destroyed  the most beautiful flowers of a town by entering this area (and please also visit your sport-psychologist).

I don’t know how these cases were dealt with in the past (entering a private area forbidden to cross, and leaving it at the same place again after you realized your mistake) in different sprint competitions. ISSOM says “it is forbidden to cross an area with forbidden access”. To cross isn’t the same as entering and leaving at the same place. But what if it’s a rather small area? About 5m, you run over it, recognize it 20m afterwards, run back? I think that some more detailed specifications should be added to ISSOM in that case (if you recognize your mistake, run back, and haven’t got any advantage)

The area I crossed, 714, Temporary construction or closed area (forbidden to cross) says additionally “It is forbidden to enter a temporary construction or closed area”. Usually this symbol is used for areas which you don’t enter anyway, because it’s full with tables, chairs, temporary building, etc… In Liestal it was mapped like this, because many spectators were expected in this area where you might lose a lot of time when running there. There were many spectators in the town, however, at my starting time, it was easy to run through this time without losing a lot of time. Solution: put some stripes in the air (or on the ground), something that’s visible and makes your alarm bells ring. Running in 100% competition stress is not the same as jogging around the course.(control rings 20 and 21 were not on the first map (we had map change at control 14)

Those who are interested to read more about IOF mapping rules.

Sprint maps

Forest maps

To sum up: It’s always worth to come to World Cup races in Switzerland, because a lot of efforts are put into the organization. Sprint competitions are very difficult to handle and there is no 100% guarantee to avoid disqualifications. Where necessary, please make it as easy as possible to the runners.

What made me most angry: For the third time this year, my flight was delayed to Copenhagen, so missing the last train to Kristianstad. Someone leaving very close to Kastrup airport or Malmö/Lund railway station? Please let me know ;)