Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In The Beginning

I’ve never ‘done’ orienteering. But I can read a map pretty well and I can walk under my own steam. So I think I’ll give it a go.

My interest has been taken as I have a 10 year old son who has been doing orienteering at school in preparation for the Victorian Primary School Championships this year and last. He has incredible map reading skills, and so performed quite well in the pairs event despite lacking a little in athletic ability. After last year’s event, I looked around the web at ways I could encourage this sport with my son. That’s when I first found out about Park & Street-O events running around Melbourne every night of the week. The Thursday night Northern series was geographically the most appropriate, but for one reason or another, I never followed through with much investigation.

After this year’s event, less than a month ago, my son brought home past editions of ‘The Australia Orienteer’ dating back to 2006. I’ve since read through each of these and although the majority of the articles feature elite squads or bush orienteering, the orienteering scene is one which I want to begin an affinity with.

I’ve also been reading more about the Street-O events coming up. I was initially planning on running my first one this Thursday, but due to other commitments have found that I’ll only be available for one event during December. I’ve therefore decided to begin the sport on January 7th, 2010. A good New Year resolution in any case and one that will probably get me fitter since I stopped playing social sport a couple of years ago. The event is at Darebin parklands and looking at a few previous maps of these types of events, controls are scattered around the area and the runners have to mark a certain number of these (depending on which level course they’re running) and return to base.

As I’m not really sure what to expect, I’m going to try one of the easier courses. With course D, the number of controls to find seems to be around seven. I really don’t know how long this might take, but I think I’d prefer to start with course C, the next level up. I’m sure, in time, I find the B & A course a more appropriate challenge.

Perhaps in the future, I’ll graduate to bush events. They seem enjoyable, but I really want to get my feet wet slowly before seeing what kind of time & monetary commitment is necessary. At only $4, it’ll be just a third of the cost of what my weekly indoor cricket matches were costing me and appear to be very well organised and a place where I rely solely on my own talents (or lack of) to remain competitive. So for now, Street-O events is where I’ll be. Once I get a feel for them, I’d like to include my son, who is still not convinced it’s an activity for him.

As I continue to write this blog (and I hope it’ll be an ongoing effort), I’m certain that I’ll learn the correct terminology to use. But for now, please forgive my ignorance. At some stage, maybe other new comers will see this blog and use it to gain valuable information about starting the sport.

Some of what I’ve been reading:
Melbourne Street-O Site :
Orienteering Australia :