When I began to write this piece it was entitled Events for the Christmas Period but as with everything these days we have to adapt! Let’s not dwell on what could have been and focus on what’s available to do from an orienteering viewpoint all be it within 5km of home!
If you are lucky enough to have one of the many permanent orienteering courses around the country near you then why not use it as a change to your usual run, a change of seen and terrain. They can also be used as a training aide. Many regular orienteers ignore these assets; why not ask a friend to set you a course using the markers available, plotting a different course than is already available? The course can be planned from anywhere in the country, on your local map. Alternatively, if the permanent courses are too short for you, run several courses at the one location back to back or in reverse. Use the course as a map memory exercise only checking the map after two or three controls. Be imaginative!
There are also an increasing number of Maprun courses around the country, these allow you to compete against the clock uploading results at the end of your course, if you wish. Real maps can be requested or downloaded for courses if you prefer to print a paper version for easy reference. Check the DIY orienteering page for listings of all the courses available. These courses are also a great introduction to orienteering, so why not suggest it to a friend or family as many are starved of their usual sporting activity with the current restrictions.
More orienteers have been learning to make their own maps this past year, with the internet to hand it has made it much more accessible to us all. Pat Healy has been running a course on MaprunF and encouraging newcomers to make their own courses and maps. Basic maps can be made using google earth or Open Orienteering mapper, they may not be a perfect map like we are used to however it’s better than nothing! If you are able to make a map of your local area, why not send it to a friend and ask them to do some armchair planning and create you a course to run!
As the New Year starts we often set goals for ourselves, so whilst we are all missing the usual competition and social aspect of events why not add a little orienteering training to your weekly fitness regime. It looks like we will be under restrictions for some time but there is now light at the end of the tunnel! Add a little map memory, cross country or rough terrain to your training, the last thing you’ll want is an injury when at last ‘real’ orienteering returns.
You or some of your friends may be taking part in the get Ireland walking or 100 days of walking campaigns, why not suggest adding orienteering to their daily walk? It would be great to get more people involved and help our mental and physical health too.
If you have any ideas for orienteering based activities or training please share them with the wider orienteering community. You can share on the forum, via social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear from you.