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Doc Runaway Orientation to Orienteering

Report by Doc Runaway

Report by Doc Runaway

Doc Runaway Orientation to Orienteering

Doc Runaway’s Summmer Series Results
  Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Score 220 210 370 310 230 290
Rank 42 31 27 25 26 27
Points 59 46 64 62 47 53
Cumulative 59 105 169 231 278 331

With a total time of 46 minutes and 30 seconds and only one wrong turn after setting out, I was feeling pretty smug. I had made it to Davidson High School in French’s Forest where I was to get my first taste of a “real” orienteering event in the Sydney Summer Series. The rules are fairly simple: you have 45 minutes to collect as many checkpoints as you can, walking, running or mountain biking, you can take longer, incurring a time penalty if you do. I collected my map, checkpoint description sheet and card and departed at 16:43 sprinting off to my destiny!!! Just kidding, I was actually heading for ‘North, Fence corner’ worth ten points the next street over.

My strategy was to track along a line of checkpoints, collecting as I went and heading back towards the high school when I had ten minutes left. I managed a few trickier, more hidden 30 point check points and climbed a fence or two (not sure if that’s allowed), I was offered advice by a fellow orienteer - thanks yellow shirt, and managed to head back with ten minutes to go, collecting another ten pointer on my way. I probably under-called my return and considered heading back out, but had made the fatal mistake of collecting the close by checkpoints first, thus finding myself in a bit of a desert.

So with 220 points under my belt, and a big smile on my face, I headed back in. The official marked my return as 17:22, giving me a rough time of 39 minutes. After perusing the map at a less frantic pace post-race, I can’t see that those six minutes would have yielded me a lot more points. So I was pretty happy with my first crack!

As I arrived back, I was glad I had started early, as the serious orienteers with gators and all had arrived, and you could see they meant business! I probably would have turned around and gone home, if I had seen them before I left!

Lessons Learned:

  1. Pay attention to contour lines, learnt this standing at the bottom of a gully staring up thinking “Didn’t I just run up this hill?”
  2. Bring a stopwatch for a more accurate countdown.
  3. Further to that, make a note on MY watch what time I leave.

Things I Like About Orienteering

  1. Pencils are supplied.
  2. People are friendly.
  3. Ran like clockwork - very professional.

Things I Don’t Like About Orienteering

  1. Gators - no, I don’t think I could pull those off.
  2. Dogs.
  3. That you have to drive around the corner and then pull out your GPS to get home, so the other orienteers don’t laugh at you.


Event: 4 November 2009: 220 Points, with a rank of 42nd in the open women's class; 59 points for this round.

Website: Sydney Summer Series