A Year of Yes, Week 13: Orienteering

Orienteering has been on my radar of things to do with the kids for a while now. How cool to combine navigational skills with running to make outdoor fitness more interesting. I love running which is no secret to anyone who knows me. My kids, however, are not fans of the sport. In the past we’ve tried to entice them with the Color Run and short family fun runs to everyone’s dismay.

While living in London one activity everyone agreed to participate in were weekend hikes in the countryside which included hunting for geocaches and map reading. Everyone was involved by listening to and following clues, using a compass and leading the adults. It was great fun for all taking part. That experience most definitely paid off as we attempted our first family orienteering challenge over the weekend.

IMG_0361At Bicentennial Park within Sydney Olympic Park grounds Orienteering NSW has created a permanent course with 12 routes to enjoy and practise the skill.  The courses range in distance between 1.8 to 5.1km. They utilise the app maprunners  which allows you the chance to compete against others on your own time (outside of scheduled events).

What is Orienteering? It is a competitive sport that combines racing with navigation. It is timed and the participants use a specially created, detailed map to select routes and navigate through diverse often unfamiliar terrain, visiting control points in sequence. Courses can also be enjoyed as a walk in the woods, with varying difficulty levels from beginner to expert.

My kids are so competitive. Tell them that there is a race with a challenge to beat someone else’s time for the course and they are immediately motivated. Only one person had logged the course we were about to start and their time was one hour and three minutes. We raced so quickly around tagging each marker post that we completed the lap in under 16 minutes. Record time and a proud, happy tribe. The course was short and the map easy to read so taking turns we tried to give each person the opportunity to be the one to log a check point. It was a quick outing this week but a fun one. I look forward to entering us into a proper event against other families in the near future. While searching around online I discovered many weekly events around our area. A whole new world of sport running to enjoy with my three non-runners. Score one for mom!


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