Report by Doc Runaway
Doc Runaway Orientation to Orienteering
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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!
- 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?”
- Bring a stopwatch for a more accurate countdown.
- Further to that, make a note on MY watch what time I leave.
Things I Like About Orienteering
- Pencils are supplied.
- People are friendly.
- Ran like clockwork - very professional.
Things I Don’t Like About Orienteering
- Gators - no, I don’t think I could pull those off.
- 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