Sito amatoriale per il trail orienteering in Italia


Q: The first question is easy: 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)?

A: My name is Marit Wiksell and I’m 18 (soon 19) years old. I live in Borlänge, in the middle of Sweden. Soon I have finished my 12th year in school and this autumn I will hopefully move to Uppsala to continue my studies. In my spare time I like creative things, for example photography and sewing. I also listen to a lot of music and I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I have been doing foot-o since I was born, but me and my parents tried trail-o for the first time 1997, when I was 6 years old. In 2005, I joined the A-class for the very first time and came on 3rd place in my first competition. In the beginning I got a lot of help from my uncle (Lennart Wahlgren). Since then, I’m only getting better and better!  

2nd at the Swedish Championship (night) 2009

4th at the Swedish Championship (day) 2009

2nd at O-ringen 2008

2nd at the Nordic Team Championship 2008 and 2009

10th at the unofficial Nordic Championship (individual) 2009

Q: We know you are a very talented orienteer, but results always come from hard training. How much time you spend for training? And how?

A: Since I’ve been an orienteer for so long time, I know how to read a map very well. To become a better trail-orienteer, I’ve been participating in as many competitions as possible. I also try to talk to other participants after the competitions, to find out what I’ve been doing wrong. So I do not spend any time training on my own.

Q: What’s your main goal in the 2010 trail-orienteering season? And how are preparing to achieve it? 

A: I want to represent Sweden in ETOC, and hopefully also in WTOC. Since Sweden has a lot of good trail-orienteers, I have to make good results to be able to go there. I will go to as many competitions as I possibly can, to get as many good results as possible.

Q: Do you also compete, or try to reach the same results, in foot-o or do you dedicate the efforts just in trail-orienteering? Why did you decide to be a trail-orienteer?

A: I have never liked running fast and training a lot, but the map reading was the fun part for me. That’s why I like trail-o so much; I get to do what I enjoy the most. Now I put all my efforts in trail-o, but sometimes I also run foot-o just for fun.

Q: 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 Sweden or are there other young orienteers involved in trail-o? You are a girl and you are really young: do you have any special sensations when you compete in a unisex sport, where the most part of competitors are older than you?

A: I think that the most of the trail-o competitors in Sweden has been doing foot-o before, sometimes for a very long time. The most of the competitors are older and there are not so many young participants, only a few. In Sweden, a lot of foot-orienteer’s thinks that you have to be old and not able to run to do trail-o. That’s why I think it’s important to show everyone that it’s okay to be a young girl in this sport. Personally I have also learned a lot from this, by spending time together with people that are different from me.

Q: 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?

A: I like terrain with a lot of details, since it suits great for trail-o. I actually enjoy almost all terrains; I don’t want to be only in parks or only in rocky forests. I like variation!

Q: 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? 

A: I use as many techniques as possible, to be sure that I get the correct answer. It also depends on the control what techniques are the best to use, so it’s hard to give a correct answer. I have to be flexible and that’s also why I don’t have a check list in my mind. I use the techniques that I think are the best in the moment, depending on the terrain, map and so on.  

Q: Did you ever spend some time in Italy, for sport or holidays? Do you know some trail-o maps, or orienteering maps, in my country? I think you already know some members of Italian trail-o national team: Roberta Falda (past world champion), Remo Madella and Renato Bettin for sure. Did you spend some time with them, and what do you think about the level of our national team?

A: I have actually never been to Italy, but I would like to go there both for trail-o and holidays. I have met some of the Italian trail-o team, foremost the ones that have been on competitions in Sweden. I think that there are a lot of potential in your team!

Q: During a competition, I’m always in time-trouble, and sometimes I must spend just some seconds to decide the last controls answer. 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?

A: Actually, for the most time I do not have time-trouble. I try to walk to the next control as soon as I have made a decision and not spend a lot of unnecessary time. For the most time I’m quite fast at the controls, so then I can afford using more time on controls that I find harder. Usually I know before the start how many controls it is and how long time I can use on every control, which also helps me to know if I have to hurry up or not.  

Q: 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 competitonthan in the classic trail-orienteering? 

A: I have tried temp-o several times, and I really enjoy it! I think that it can be a success, if all the rules can be figured out in the best way. Both the ordinary trail-o and temp-o suits me well.

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

A: I think the most important thing is to participate in many trail-o competitions. It’s also good to discuss controls and different techniques, to find out how other participants are thinking and how you can solve problems in a better way. I also think that the mental part, like sport psychology, is important to be able to do as good results as possible.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for the website , in order to make it more user friendly for foreign trail-orienteers? 

A: The most important thing is to have the site in English, so everyone can understand what it says. This is also a good idea, to have interviews and facts about participants in different countries.

One last question: please, think back to Soderkulla, second stage of Nordic Championship 2009. Place of control number 10. Two flags, so far (really far!) in the forest, almost invisible between trees. I hope that Marco Giovannini, manager of this website, could propose us the map and a photo of the area... Do you remember this part of the competition? What did you think, consider, evaluate to give the correct answer? 

Actually, I do not remember this control and where the flags were placed so it’s hard for me to give a correct comment to this control.


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