Sito amatoriale per il trail orienteering in Italia



(Interview by Stegal)

The following answers are very interesting and we'll translate them in italian language because Kreso suggested important concepts and ideas.

The first question is ever the easiest: could you write for us a brief presentation of yourself? Who are you, where are you living, what do you do in your life? And why am I interviewing you (in other words, could you say us the best results in your orienteering career)?

My name is Krešo Keresteš. I was born in Ljubljana (Slovenia). Now I’m living with my family in Trzin, suburb of Ljubljana. In my early years I was a scout where I learned a lot about orientation and topography. Later, I was more and more involved in orienteering that I even studied geodesy just because of maps. Now, I have my own cartographic studio, company for map production and design called MapDesign. I’m also very active in orienteering. I’m a president and leader of local club, I’m doing orienteering and trail orienteering and I’m a member of IOF TrailO Commission. My best results in TrailO were 1st place at WTOC 2007, 4th place at WTOC 2006, 8th place at O-ringen 1999. I got many good results and titles at ‘local’ events like National Championships, Slovenian TrailO Cup, Regional TrailO Cup (Slovenia-Croatia and Hungary last year, and Friuli Venezia Giulia this year) and Nordic Match.

After a gold medal at the World Championship in Kiev, you didn’t compete this year in Trondheim. Could you explain the reason of your lack? We had some news about a lack of training, you can’t dedicate much time to specific training: is it true?

I had some difficult time in last few years. I lost my mother, a company were I worked was overtaken two times and after that I started with my own business that sport activities were not in my first plan. There were also some organizing problems in our TrailO Commission (part of Slovenian Orienteering federation) that I didn’t know if we really wish to do TrailO in the future or not and if it will be better to work in orienteering with our youngsters in my club. For big competitions is very important that you have good team and a team with a wish to do its best, but we all lost a motivation. That’s the main reason that I was lacking in Trondheim.


Talking about training... How much time you spend for training? And how?

It is hard to say in hours, because any time with map, doing orienteering, mapping new orienteering school map and even walking through the forest and thinking about TrailO is a kind o training. Few years ago I did regular TrailO trainings, because we had some new club members who did only TrailO. There were no any special guidance how to train TrailO, but I  should learn them how to understand the map, how to visualize reality and how it should be presented on the map, what technique to use in which occasion, etc. I spent a lot of time for preparing and thinking about that. At that time I also organized many TrailO events. I learned a lot from orienteering too. I was 6 years team leader of Slovenian Junior Team. I found some clues how to train thinking what is important for good trail orienteer (geometry – technique, map understanding – mapmaking and working with map, compass – compass bearing, etc.). The answer is that you have to train your weaknesses. If you really wish to win, you cannot wait for your luck, you have to be prepared for that competition.

My preparations for WTOCs are tough. I spend 5 hours and more in hot weather doing exercises as I expect at WTOC. It is important that at competition heat and other unimportant things are not in your mind (some training maps for WTOC in Kiev are attached; I like terrain like that; some translation: doriši poti – draw the paths, doriši plastnice – draw the contours, postavi zastavico – put the flag)

Links: WTOC  -  WTOC 2  - WTOC 3


Maybe your best moment as a trail orienteer is the World Championship in Kiev. Could you remember something for us about your victory?

I should say that orienteering in Slovenia is not popular and our Orienteering Federation is very poor according to other sports. Therefore our athletes mostly finance all expenses at big events by themselves. I decided that if I will go to WTOC, I have to get the most from it. My goal was to be on top five (officially top ten ). Even if my worst result at that time was the 8th place at O-ringen 1999, I started to prepared myself already a year before the Championship. I collected and studied old orienteering maps from Kiev, I followed all orienteering blogs about trainings in Ukraine, I made trainings in the forests similar to Ukrainian, I made virtual model of park with Catching Features, I made many possible courses with exact number of controls and distance which was announced, etc. ( I remember that for some competitors Kiev was a cultural shock, but for our team first thing when we came to Kiev was a training on a map Puscha Vodytsia and we enjoyed.

I remember also my positive thinking at after day 1. On the top were Jari Turto, Roberta Falda and me, all with 17 point. I had a feeling that I will win. I would be very happy with any medal anyway. I knew that Jari has a problems with short beds (he is 2 m high) and that he will not sleep well and that Roberta cannot be concentrated to the course, because she was already in heaven winning the Paralympic Championship I knew that Championship is not ended and I knew what happened to Japanese at WTOC 2006. With so positive thinking I slept perfect and on a competition day 2 I was in a good mood.

I remember also that I spent only 3 second at last time control. It is my motto that I have to do my best, because only one second can be a difference between winner and ‘loser’.  On day 2 I started behind Jari and Roberta only with time difference, therefore seconds were very important to me. I also spent a lot of time to train time controls. When I approach to the last time control I remembered from my training at home that I choose that control for possible control. I knew that there is a knoll. When I came to the control I saw four flags and only two were next to the clear knoll. I had in my head that A should be if the description is southern foot of knoll and D if the description is northern foot of knoll. If control were not on knoll I would need some more time. They measured 3 seconds, but it should be 2, because one time keeper had a phone call.


What’s your main goal for the next trail-orienteering season? And how are preparing to achieve it?

I don’t thinking about next season yet. I know that I should already start if I will want to do something at WTOC in France, but in this time it is difficult to motivate myself and our team.


What is the situation of Trail-O in Slovenia, how many trail-orienteers are competing? We read in the website of Italian federation that there is a special “bond” between the Slovenian trail-orienteers and the competitors in Friuli. Do you think this situation could help the ones and the others to increase the general level of the competitions?

By my opinion situation of TrailO in Slovenia is very poor. In the best years we had more than 10 competitors from our club competing abroad. Now we are only five in OK Trzin doing TrailO regularly and not more than five in OK Azimut.

It is the most important that clubs are working and that they respect TrailO as sport. Competitions are not everything, but it is important that we have good organized competitions. With only three events per year, as we started, is difficult to motivate someone to stay active and spend his time for this sport. Now we have more than ten events per year nearby, what is very good for more serious work.

I think that cooperation between trail orienteers in Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia is a good start and that we should still do a lot to increase and to keep high level of the competitions. Maybe Alpe Adria TrailO Cup some day?


In Italy, the average trail-o competitor is male, already well experienced in foot-o (sometimes Elite or ex-Elite), over-30. Is it the same in Slovenia or are there other young orienteers involved in trail-o?

It is difficult to say how looks average Slovenian trail orienteer. In our club we did a lot of trail-o promotion to the disabled people in the past. Some members who did only TrailO attracted some friends and we got totally new population never involved in FootO and doing only TrailO. Without putting special effort in our activities in last few years situation changed. Everything depends on a club’s work in the past. I can see a lot of young TrailO competitors in OK Vihor from Zagreb where they stimulate them to compete in TrailO equally as in all other orienteering disciplines.


Last winter you send a questionnaire to trail orienteers to open a discussion about rules, maps, symbols, isom and issom... Why? Did you receive good results from it?

My concern in a IOF TrailO Commission are also TrailO maps. We got a question if every discipline has its own map specifications, do we need our own. I decided to found out what trail orienteers think about their maps, their courses, etc. Actually, I got only 17 answers from all over the world (2 from Italy, none from Sweden, none from Norway).

My opinion is that in this moment we are to small community and if we don’t wish to make even more job to the organizers to stick with ISSOM maps.


Every orienteer has a favourite kind of terrain... open areas or forests, rocky or hilly. Usually, trail-o competitions in Italy are now in parks. What’s your favourite terrain? Could you send us some examples (a .jpg) of these maps?

I like contours, not many as they are on steep terrains, but contours of all shapes. When I was on a way to WTOC 2006 in Finland by car, I enjoyed trainings every day from Lithuania to Finland ( Also because terrains were not so green as they were at home. I liked  WTOC courses in Finland very much, because they were technical, but I enjoy also at Nordic Match 2006 in well known Lunsen ( where was more orienteering course. I like details including stones.


Which O-techniques do you use during a competition? Do you rely most on the compass, on contour levels, distances, or the details of terrain? Do you have a check list in your mind or a standard procedure to approach each control?

I have four different approaches how to solve the control and many techniques which I combine depending on the situation.

During a competition, I’m always in time-trouble, and sometimes I must spend just some seconds to decide the last controls answer (as in the last Italian Cup in Gallio...). Do you have the same problems? How do you train yourself to avoid it? Do you do some calculation at the start, for example “I have x minutes for y controls, so the average time for each one is...”? What do you do when you are not sure about the correct answer after some minutes... do you prefere stay (at risk of having time-trouble) or “gamble” the answer more likely?

I don’t have such problems. This could happened to me only if I would be very confused as I was at WTOC 2008 in Czech Republic.

In general are three minutes enough to solve the problem. If the answer is not clear, I spend more time, but after that I aware that I have to be faster on a way or even on any of the next controls.


Temp-o seems to be the next frontier of trail-orienteering. How do you feel about it? Did you ever try it? Are you more or less confident in this kind of competiton than in the classic trail-orienteering?

I feel very confident at time controls. We already had some competitions with mainly time controls, but first time with SI card I tried at WTOC 2008 in Hungary. It was not a real competition. I did some mistakes, but anyway result was successful.


Could you give us some suggestions on how to increase our ability in trail-orienteering?

If you respect TrailO as a sport, then you have to act as a sportsman. You have to do trainings, regularly compete on a different terrains, be prepared for every competition and always do your best to win. If you do TrailO only because you like to be in nature, like maps and like solving the problems, you do it as recreational athlete and with this approach is difficult to increase your ability in TrailO. You can get some experience at competitions, but if you wish to beat Scandinavians, you have to be better than they are with 50 and more TrailO competitions per year.


Please, write for us a sentence explaining trail-o, to involve the largest part of orienteers in this discipline in the future.

If you don’t find enough challenges in foot orienteering, than trail orienteering could be right adventure for you.


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