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What is orienteering?
Orienteering is a sport that involves using a detailed orienteering style topographical map to navigate one's way around a course with designated control points which are drawn on the map. On the course, distinctive orange and white control markers are set in the places that correspond to the points on the map. To prove they have visited each control, competitors either: 1) If using manual punch, stamp control cards at each control point using a special pin punch; or 2) If using electronic punch, insert their finger stick into the electronic box located at each control. Many people consider orienteering as a competitive sport and they run through the course in the least amount of time possible. Others, however, see it as a challenging recreational activity and are not worried how long it takes them to complete their course. Families, groups of friends, scout troops, and school groups often participate. Athletes enjoy the competition. Young children enjoy the search for the controls. Many people just enjoy the walk in the woods looking for controls. Participants range in age from young children to senior citizens. (back to questions)
When are meets?
Meets are usually held on Saturdays, rain or shine. Registration will normally start between 9AM and 11AM. Beginner's clinic will usually take place before/during registration. Starting times usually last for two hours--normally from 10AM to 12PM. If different from this, there will be more information provided on the "Schedule" page. There is a three hour time limit on standard courses. All participants need to check in at the finish when leaving the course. This is the only way we know you are off of the course safely. Meet directors are responsible for setting times at their events, so please verify start times by looking at the meet schedule. (back to questions)
How much does it cost?
Orienteering Louisville is a non-profit organization that is run by volunteers. The fees are used to cover the costs of making and printing maps, insurance, and other meet related expenses. Due to significant increases charged by Louisville Metro for the use of their parks, we have had to increase our fees. Meet fees are now $7 for club members, $7 for juniors (high school and below), and $9 for non-members. Annual club membership dues are $15 for individuals, $20 for families and $10 for juniors (high school and below). Special meets may have different fees. Most of our meets use electronic punching, and we charge $1 if you use one of our finger sticks. (back to questions)
What courses are offered?
Orienteering has seven standard courses. At local recreational meets, you can choose any course based on your skill level and physical ability. Beginner courses are mainly on or near trails or other linear features, such as roads or fence lines. The control points are located on large distinct features. Advanced courses are cross country and control points are located on small point features. All advanced courses are similiar in navigation level, but they differ in overall course distance. Course descriptions are listed below.
What do I need to bring?
The great thing about orienteering is that you don't need a lot of equipment to participate. You'll definitely want to bring along a compass. OLOU can loan you a compass if you don't have one or forgot yours. As for clothing, there is no right or wrong way to dress for orienteering. The most important thing is to wear clothing and footwear that you will be comfortable in while hiking and/or running off-road. Long pants are advised for courses that get away from the trails. Some courses have water available at designated control points, but you might want to carry your own depending on the weather and how much water you usually need. (back to questions)
What are the different types of events?
There are many different types of orienteering events hosted by OLOU. The standard OLOU meet is a basic cross-country or point-to-point event. In this event, participants complete the course in a specified order. Start times are staggered to discourage following. Several courses for different skill levels are set up at these events. The competitor with the fastest time wins. The score-o is another event. This event has many points set on the course with different point values depending on their difficulty. There is no set course or pre-defined route for this event. Instead, participants usually have a mass start and have a time limit to get as many points as they can. Points are deducted as a penalty for those not back on time. The competitor with the most points wins this event. In the event of a tie, the person with the fastest time wins. A Goat is a longer distance cross-country meet, but with some additional rules. These include a mass start, forked controls, and skipping one control point. A rogaine event is a longer distance score-o. They can last up to 24 hours and usually encompass larger maps and areas. (back to questions)
Send an email if you have any other questions about orienteering