Street-Orienteering Strategy - a guide for new-Comers
by Emus Orienteering Club
This introductory article provides an overview of typical strategies that are adopted by experienced street-orienteers. These tips and hints may prove useful to some of those just starting out in the sport.
We have included a sample map that is used to illustrate some of the key points made in the article.
This article assumes that you have taken part in an event and understand the basic concepts….let's take a typical Melbourne evening event.
Before leaving home…
Before the event starts …
As the event starts….
This varies depending on course-type; let’s deal with the two main types Score Events and Scatter events separately.
Turn your map over and orient it to what you can see around you. In evening events, the sun is setting in the West – just hold your map so that the sun is off the left hand side of the map.
In score events, you have a fixed amount of time to gather as many points as you can. In street-orienteering events, the time is usually 60 minutes…quite enough time to travel 5-8 km (i.e. most people can walk a kilometre in 10-15 minutes).
As you know, the points gained for each control varies – with high-numbered controls offering more points. Each row on your scorecard has different points – 1-5 score 2, 6-10 score 3, 11-15 score 4 and 16-20 score 5.
First, turn the map over and look at it – ignore the other people running off. Locate the high-numbered controls – 16-20….and get a general idea where 11-15 are too. If the high-controls are skewed to one side, then that’s the way you should go. On the sample map – note that 18, 16 & 19 are on the lower part of the map….and not too far out (you can get an idea of this by using your scorecard as a measure – if the scale is 1:10,000, then the scorecard is about 1km wide).
To get 1, 18, 9, 14, 19, 3, 16 and 13 is about 4km – well within range – so you’ve probably got time to do a little more. The logical addition is 20 – if you do 20 first, you can then go straight to 18 – do 1 on the way home…or skip it if you’ve managed to reach 15….it’s only worth 2 points after all.
If you did all of these, you would travel about 5.9km and get
Note the ratio of low/high controls – go for the big ones, leave the little ones out unless you can pick them up easily while moving to the next big one.
Above all, keep an eye on the clock and your rate of travel as you move around the course. If you’re late back, it will cost you dearly in penalties – so plan to be within 1km of the finish as your time reduces to say 10-12 minutes to go. (I draw a mental circle, 1km in radius, on the map – and plan to be inside it with plenty of time to get to the finish. If I can’t get to the circle in time, I drop controls and head towards it – better to be 2-3 minutes early than 1 second late).
As you approach a control, read the control description so you know what you’re looking for, think about where you’re going to next, align the scorecard to the correct square……and as you reach the control, punch in the middle of the square (e.g. if you arrive at control 11, then you punch in square 11) and immediately head towards your next control. Standing around to think about where to go next will cost you 20-30 seconds per control … about 4 minutes on the course above. This is equivalent to about 400m of travel!
In a scatter course you have to visit a specified number of controls and then return to the finish. The order in which you finish dictates your position in the event.
Which course you choose depends on how far you want to run; street-O courses are typically 4,6,8 and 10km in length. If you’re just starting choose a shorter course until you get the hang of route-selection and navigation. Making a bad mistake on a 10Km course could make for a very late arrival back at the finish – better to make your early mistakes on a 6Km course.
As before, there are 20 controls on the map, numbered 1 to 20.
In general, the 14 controls that are closest to the start will be the ones to go for – but any of the following might change your choice of controls:
Unlike score courses, there is no time-limit – other than the course closure at 8:15pm (although I’m sure you’ll have finished long before then).
Golden Rules for ALL Street-O Runners