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Family Fun

Speed and Map Skills Make a Winning Day

Orienteering continues to grow in popularity for good reason: It combines speed and skill into one challenging activity for individuals and groups. All you need to get started is a map, a compass and a positive outlook.

Orienteering is one of the most popular sports in Sweden, often attracting more than 100,000 runners to a single event.
Participants run a course, following checkpoints marked on a map, getting to each as fast as possible. It’s a family sport too, with courses created for a range of physical strengths traveling through almost any type of natural areas – through swamps, over rocks, into fields and woods. Participants are “kept honest” by receiving a unique stamp at each checkpoint. You can kick off the orienteering craze in your neighborhood with these simple steps.

Choose your course
Use one of these methods to design a course. Start simple with your first event.
Map your neighborhood while you go on a family walk
Go to a wilderness area and use their maps and your compass
Go to a park and use the mapped walking/running paths

Identify checkpoints within the course
Make each checkpoint easy to see
Enlist family and neighbors as “checkers”
Position a person at each checkpoint with a stamp and ink pad
Create a looped course that starts and ends in the same spot
Create age categories for competition, designing courses of varying degrees of difficulty for each group

Start the race
Start each runner at 3-minute intervals, partnering small children with parents or older siblings
Provide each runner with a map that must be stamped at each checkpoint

Finish with a smile

Go again

If you’re first to finish, start over and try to beat your own time!

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