Wednesday, 4 June 2014

How do I find out about...?

Last night I went to a lovely talk at ESSA (Explorers Club). They have guest presenters at their club evenings on the first Tuesday of every month. I don't go every month, but every time I do I thoroughly enjoy it and I always meet new and interesting people.

Two women came through for the first time and they were sitting behind me. We got chatting.

A common problem that they - and many others I meet - have, is that they don't know where / how to find out about events and activities. They want to try things, but don't know where to start.

My advice is always, "Just rock up". This, for me, is the biggest thing. To get people away from their normal - whether the couch or the same road race that they run every year... that's the challenge. A lot of people know about a lot of events - but they just don't rock up.

If you don't know the words 'adventure racing', 'orienteering', 'trail running', 'obstacle races' to search on Google, you're stumped. But it does help to just rock up at any event and from there you meet people and find out about more.

I've just been writing an emailer for my school orienteering bunch. We send them a free voucher for the next orienteering event and info on other events coming up. If we get two participants (of the +500 on our list) to an event, we're excited. And these are school children (and parents) who have participated in four weeks of Orienteering Schools League events in Feb/March. *sigh*

As I was writing the emailer, I thought I'd copy the relevant bits here. Then you know about some events too.

All you need to do is to rock up.

Run Wild at The Wilds (Houghton, JHB)
Sun, 8 June 2014
The event on Sunday morning will be held at 'The Wilds' in Houghton. Here's the event sheet The Wilds - Sun, 8 June 2014. It really helps us to know how many people are coming so that we can print enough maps. You can let us know by registering online. You can just rock up on the morning of the event too.

Gauteng Orienteering Champs
14-16 June 2014
Now this is good fun. Enter all three events or just one. This year there is a sprint event in the Woodlands Office Park (Woodmead; Saturday afternoon)); the middle (Sunday) and long (Monday) courses are at a venue in Midrand - all nice and close and convenient. Monday, 16 June is a public holiday. Although this event is called 'Championship' you don't have to be a champion orienteer. While the regular club orienteers are running for points and rankings in their age groups, there are non-championship courses every day for those who just want to have fun. The event sheet, with dates, times and details is here.

Metrogaine Jo'burg (Northcliff)
Wed, 18 June 2014
This event is my baby. And, where the Metrogaine in April celebrated 13 years of, this event - always held on or near the winter solstice - falls on my 'not-13' birthday.
This is a massively fun week-night event where you get to run around, in the dark, headlamps and torches blazing, as you look for answers to clues at each control. You've only got one hour or 90-minutes (two course options). Participate in pairs and walk, jog, run as you wish. Just remember, don't be late! Hot chocolate and a cupcake afterwards. PRE-ENTRY ONLY

And then there are a bunch of other great orienteering events in July.
There's a weekend in the Sabie (Mpumalanga) area on 6 and 7 July (middle and long distance events) and then my favourite-of-favourite orienteering-variation events, the annual rogaining weekend.

Annual Foot and MTB Rogaine (Lydenburg, Mpumalanga)
26-27 July 2014
Oh golly goodness. I just hear the word 'rogaine' and I get super excited. This is a two day event. Day 1 is the foot rogaine. Pick 4hr or 8hr time limit. Day 2 is the MTB rogaine. Pick 3hr or 5hr option (running also permitted if you don't have a bike).
You participate in pairs (I'm doing this event with my friend Zig as a women's pair).
In short... you're given a map with lots of control points marked on it. Find as many as you can in the limited time. Ba-ba-ba-boom. Pre-entry. More info here...

And then, on the orienteering side of things, we pick up with our regular bush / cross-country (more rugged) orienteering events. In the first half of the year we've had shorter, 'tame', urban events. Now we're getting towards my favourites. The 2014 orienteering event calendar is here. Don't be deceived by the distances. 5km in orienteering is not the same as 5km on road (just as 10km in the canyon at Expedition Africa took teams 7hr to 14hrs - and more).

Bush orienteering events - course descriptions

  • Yellow- This course is for younger children (suited to U12). Control flags are often visible from one control to the next and they're all on paths. 1.5km to 2.5km 
  • Orange - OSL courses fall into this category for the most part. Basic navigational skills come into play and the distance is around 2.5km to 3.5km 
  • Light Green - This is where the fun starts. I'd recommend giving this course a try if you're feeling fairly confident. You'll have more route choice and some controls that will make you think. Distance of 2.5km to 3.5km. 
  • Green - Only once you've made it through a Light Green course should you move up to Green. This course is more technically difficult. It's a short and challenging course at 3.5km to 5km. 
  • Blue - A great option once you're more competent and prepared to run further. It's more technically and physically demanding than Green and ranges from 5km to 7.5km. 
  • Brown - This is for experienced orienteers only as it is both difficult and demanding at 7.5km to 10km. Adventure racers, don't think this is for you if you have no orienteering experience. I've gone looking for people who thought this 5hrs after they started out...

Look out for these events coming up:
  • Sun, 3 August - Mohale's East (Magaliesberg / Hekpoort area)
  • Sat, 23 August - Kloofendal Nature Reserve (Kloofendal / Little Falls area)
  • Sun, 24 August - Laurentia South (Krugersdorp area)
I'm not much into mass participation trail events nor short trail runs nor neon runs nor the popular obstacle events. They're out there too.

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