My first Orienteering yesterday

Well - it was the first time in 35 years , and the last time I did it, I had no clue really as to what I had to do and couldn't run .

I did it here They had 4 different courses - from a short and extremely easy one for children up to the longest 5.2K ( with 26 checkpoints) . HOWEVER - the points at which the checkpoints were placed were obviously selected in a fiendish way, whereby you could never run in a straight line from one to the other because of the physical barriers (such as swamp and thick bush, etc) . Hence I reckon my path would have been more around 10K . It took me 1hour 30 minutes to finish the course.

You are basically running a race against yourself only - as people start at different times ( according to when they arrive at the course) , than they do different courses -- so people are running all over the area , criss-crossing one another. I did purchase a cheap compass before I went to the event -- but did not have to use it at all. It was simply a matter of map reading "on the run" . The maps are highly dteailed - down to the point of showing individual trees.

I did enjoy it - and it was a very hard "workout" . It was good in one way in that you are not running all the time - you have to stop to register at each checkpoint and than have a look at the map to figure out how you are going to get to the next checkpoint. I will be definitely getting more into this - and I think it will become "my" sport.

10 Replies

  • Now that sounds great fun! Don't think there's the slightest chance of anything similar happening here.

  • I would love to have a go at that !

    I can't find anywhere near me to start.:(

  • I had a look at this a couple of months ago, but haven't got round to joining in yet, it does sound like fun though!

  • A very long time ago, when the sport in the UK was really in its infancy, I was an orienteer. I have two relatives who are very competitive in their age groups. In fact one is coming to Oz very soon on an orienteering scholarship.

    It is a great sport and especially worth considering for anyone who complains of running being 'boring' as it is intellectually as well as physically challenging.

  • I used to orienteer about 20 years ago when our sons were primary school age. They stsarted going to training as an extra curriculum activity. Hubby had done it competitively when he was at university, but he wasn't really into running at this stage and neither was I. I enjoyed it, but although I am good at map-reading /navigation, I am slow at it, as it takes my brain a few minutes to process the directions. I have no sense of direction and have been known to go 180 degrees in the wrong direction when not paying attention!

    Like GoogleMe, I'd recommend it for anyone who gets bored with running.

  • I am treating this purely as a fun thing to do - but which also uses the fitness that I have developed with the running. It doesn't matter at ll if you get "temporarily" lost - I had some difficulty recognising the physical features shown on the map with what actually exists on the ground. I have since had a relook at my running path and can see where I could have made better decisions .

  • I'd have to relearn how to interpret orienteering maps. My map and compass skills in general are fine, as i use a map and compass for navigation when hiking on our Scottish hills, using the excellent UK Ordnance Survey maps at 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 scale. But I seem to remember 1:10,000 scale O maps show small features such as ditches and natural revevments, etc, don't they.

  • Yes - the orienteering maps are basically "hand crafted" - they show individual trees and all man made object - like a park bench.

    I have learned an early lesson from this first run - and that is to not necessarily believe everything that is on the map. I took some quite out of the way routes to get to some of the checkpoints - because there were some physical features which I thought would have barred my way . However looking closely at the Google Map of the park where the run was held, I can see that there were shorter routes I could have taken :)

    Anyway - the point is, it was quite good fun - there is a conflict between wasting time doing the map reading and wanting to continue running :) . It was a lot different than just pounding the pavement for 10K :)

  • That sounds like great fun. :-) I'd love to have a go at orienterring again. I used to do a lot of outdoor pursuits when I was a lass, including orienteering, but never ran! It would be great fun to do it now and actually be able to run it. ;-) I must have a look and see if I can find anyone doing this locally.

  • Funny story about yesterday's Orienteering day.

    There must have been 50 people , all doing different courses, running all over this big park , criss-crossing one another - all with sheets of paper in their hands and peering into bushes, behind trees and down the river banks. I am sure you can picture it

    A lady walking a dog came up to me and asked if we all were doing a "treasure hunt"???? :)

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