Information for those new to forest orienteering:

The AOS events have 9 courses available. Below is some detail to help you choose the most appropriate course for you. There is a course suitable for all levels of fitness and experience. Start easy so you get used to reading the map while you have the safety of a linear feature. You can always go back out on a harder course afterwards at no extra cost. Note the lengths quoted are straight line distances - you will always need to go further - on some maps even 30% further.

The courses are colour coded for level of difficulty:

  • White - Very easy. About 2km in length. Mainly suitable for young children. They follow tracks or linear features, for example fences or streams with a control at every decision point, right on the linear feature, with its placement usually helping to steer the runner in the right direction. Compass not needed but good for orientating the map and getting familiar running with one.
  • Yellow - Easy. About 2.5 to 3km in length. This will also always have a linear feature that can be followed between controls but on some legs it may be shorter to leave the linear feature and cut across to another one. Controls will be visible from the linear feature – but could be up to 50m away from it. This is a good first course to try. A compass is recommended if you are going to try and cut off corners. You should practice reading the contours on the map as you do the course, noting whether you will be passing hills or depressions, going up or down etc so that you are ready to move onto harder courses.
  • Orange - Medium difficulty. There will be 2 courses - a short and a long, typically about 3.5 and 5.5km long. Once you have practiced using a compass to cross across forest blocks and matching the contours on the map to the ground on a yellow course you can try an orange course. You will need to leave the handrails of the linear features and travel across the terrain but the control will have a handrail ('catching feature') behind the control to stop you if you go too far, or be close to an obvious feature ('attack point'). These navigation features could be a track or it could be something like a major contour feature, e.g. a ridge or gully or a vegetation change.
  • Red - There will be 5 red courses with Red 1 the longest and Red 5 the shortest. Red courses are as difficult as it can be set in the particular terrain! In some parts there may be no obvious handrails and the controls could be located some distance away from major features. Some legs may go long distances across the map with a need to choose the best route. For a runner to successfully complete a Red course they need to be confident in following a compass bearing and able to interpret fine contour features.
  • Red 1 is intended for our elite orienteers and may take them 90 minutes or more to complete (so much longer for anyone not running fast in the right direction through what could be rough terrain). DON'T START BY TRYING RED 1 even if you are wanting to train for going long distances!

    The difficulty of Red 2 - Red 5 will be as hard but as the lengths come down legs will be shorter and so in theory you will not have the chance to get so far off course. The shortest red (Red 5) will also be less physically demanding as it is primarily intended for older, or injured experienced orienteers who may not be able to clamber through very rough terrain.

    If you are new let registration know and they can get someone to have a talk with you before you go out. Also there is usually a 'model' map - a small piece of map that a club member can take you for a map walk on. And remember if this is your first orienteering event out of the city it is FREE - but still pre enter please.

    If you have any queries on which course you should select, or anything else you might want to know feel free to email auckoc@hotmail,com or phone Joanna Stewart - 5755695 or 0211153727