About Orienteering

A great sport for life!

Get to know ORIENTEERING!

Orienteering is the sport of navigation with map and compass. It’s easy to learn, but always challenging.

The object is to move through a series of points shown on the map, choosing routes–both on and off trail–that will help you find all the required points and get back to the finish in the shortest amount of time.

The points on a course are marked with orange and white flags and punches or electronic devices, so you can prove you’ve been there. Each “control” marker is located on a distinct feature, such as a stream junction or the top of a knoll.

Orienteering is often called the “thinking sport” because it involves map reading and decision-making in addition to a great workout. Any kind of map may be used for orienteering (even a street map), but the best ones are very detailed five-color topographic maps (1:4,000 – 1:15,000 scale) developed especially for the sport.

Orienteering is a sport for everyone, regardless of age or experience. The competitive athlete can experience the exhilaration of running through the woods at top speed, while the non-competitive orienteer can enjoy the forest at a more leisurely pace. Most events provide courses for all levels–from beginner to advanced–and the sport has been adapted for small children and people in wheelchairs.

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Orienteering by Foot

Orienteering by foot is arguably the most well known form of orienteering. When orienteering by foot, the orienteer navigates their way through a course using a map and compass while running or walking.

Both urban orienteering and traditional trail orienteering fall under this category. During a trail orienteering event, orienteers are required to find their way through woods, over mountains, through creeks and all different types of cross country terrain. Urban orienteering takes participants through the streets and avenues of a town or city.

Foot orienteering includes a variety of races including: relays, individual short distance races all the way through to epic mountain marathons. Night orienteering – where an orienteer navigates the route with the use of a head lamp – is also common.

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