Orienteering: what it is and why runners should try it

Orienteering: what it is and why runners should try it

What signs are there?

Almost everything that we see on the ground is displayed on the map in the form of conventional symbols. Everyone, at least from the school geography course, knows the simplest topographic symbols. But this knowledge will not be enough to successfully read a sports map, because topographic and sports signs are different. The first step for a beginner orienteer is to memorize all sports conventions, which are divided into the following large groups:

- ski tracks (for winter orienteering).

A small group also includes auxiliary signs on maps, such as: lines of the magnetic meridian, points with elevation marks and a cross for color matching. The former are required for any card, while the latter and third are very rare.

Symbols and explanations on maps

Marked exclusively in brown. The horizontals denote ascents, descents, large pits and hills. Microrelief is indicated by dots, check marks, single lines and other conventional symbols.

2. hydrography

Hydrography includes any rivers, lakes, swamps, swamps, springs and puddles. It should be understood that the map compiler will not paint puddles due to rain onto the paper, but will only draw persistent puddles. Lakes, rivers and marshes outlined with a black line are insurmountable and should never be crossed.

3. value

Vegetation refers to not only vegetation, but also its absence. Any bushes are marked in green, clearings in yellow, and a clear forest in white. Moreover, the type of forest and plant species will not be indicated in the sports cards. The only exception is the clear boundaries of different forests. For example, if spruce plantings turn into birch plantings, then their borders will be indicated by a black dashed line.

4. feces and stones

Marked in black. Both groups of stones and individual stones can be distinguished. Rocks, the overcoming of which is life-threatening, and therefore it is forbidden to move on them, are drawn more boldly so that the athlete immediately pays attention to them.

5. artificial objects

Strictly speaking, orienteering is all-season. The masters of the map and compass compete perfectly in ski orienteering in winter. Using a special tablet, a map, a compass and a marking chip, they ride on a specially rolled grid in the forest, and sometimes even straight, passing checkpoints.

Yet the bulk of starts and competitions are held in the warm season, when the snow melts and you can just run on your feet. And this time is already very close! We have prepared a small to-do list for you so that you don't forget anything while preparing for the season.

Before the season starts, it's time to check your equipment. Is the compass still pointing north? Is your electronic chip out of date? Do you have the right footwear for all types of surfaces?

There are no trifles in sports, so it's important that everything is ready. Do not forget that if you are planning to participate in sprint competitions in the city or in classical orienteering in the forest, you will need different sets of equipment.

Urban orienteering is fast, dynamic, very similar to middle distance in athletics. Therefore, it is better to choose the lightest and most comfortable set of clothing - a T-shirt and shorts - as well as lightweight sneakers for asphalt pavement.

In the forest, the body must be protected. You should buy long tights or breeches complete with gaiters, as well as a T-shirt and shoes with an aggressive tread that will allow you to run both on the ground, sand and swamps, and on windbreak with stones.

Be sure to check the compass - over time they lose their properties. This happens if the compass is near magnetic sources for a long time. Even in ancient times, when it was necessary to knock a ship out of the way, pirates discreetly placed a magnet under the compass so that the navigator would lead the ship in the wrong direction.

Since April, orienteering starts are held almost every weekend in Russia and in the world. The format of "multi-day" is very popular: participants come for 3-5 days and run different distances every day, sometimes in completely different areas.

Orienteering is closely related to tourism, therefore, such competitions are often held in tent camps, with all the attributes of a camping life. Here everyone can find a convenient option for themselves, since there is always a large set of age groups and distance options.

To fully immerse yourself in the world of orienteering, we advise you to plan a visit to Northern Europe - primarily Finland, Sweden and Norway. They have a wealth of experience in running competitions and their quality standards are truly role models.

Orienteering is a popular sport that requires not only endurance and speed, as in running, but also the ability to think logically and navigate the terrain. In the Scandinavian countries, orienteering starts bring together thousands of participants of different ages and levels of training. In our country, competitions are not yet so common among amateurs, but that is why they are no less interesting.

In this article we will tell you what orienteering is, what skills an athlete will need to take part in a mass start, and why runners should definitely try this sport.

What is orienteering

Orienteering begins at the moment when you are given a map of the area and a route legend at a briefing, and the organizer tells about the peculiarities of the polygon. Somewhere on this training ground there are control points (hereinafter - CP), which you have to find, fix your position there and return to the starting point before the expiration of the set time.

You will have to walk a lot, often on difficult terrain, read a map, think logically, calculate strength, make mistakes and correct mistakes - and, of course, be proud of yourself after each success. All this is orienteering. Let's take a closer look at this popular sport.


People were good at determining their location on the ground and calculating the direction to the desired point even before our era. These skills were necessary to wage war, lay sea and land trade routes, and develop new territories.

As a sport, orienteering emerged quite recently, at the end of the 19th century. His homeland is Scandinavia. Different sources indicate different data: according to one, the very first amateur orienteering competitions took place in May 1897 near the Norwegian city of Bergen; according to others, it was October of the same year, but already in the city of Oslo.

One thing is certain - orienteering was born from the exercises of army garrisons at military training grounds, and later ordinary amateurs began to adopt the experience of the military.

The father of orienteering is considered the Swede Ernst Killander, a major, a participant in the First World War, who invented competitions on rough terrain. It was he who came up with the idea of ​​orienteering in unfamiliar terrain in a natural environment, and he was the first to suggest that each participant make his own route to the desired point.

Sweden hosted the first orienteering championship in 1923. Other countries have picked up the Scandinavian invention and implemented it at home. In 1960, athletes from seven countries took part in the international championship in Stockholm.

This sport was gaining popularity at such a rate that the next year after the first championship, the International Orienteering Federation was founded. At that time, it included 10 countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

Today, 80 countries have representation in the federation. In 1977, the International Olympic Committee recognized the federation, but orienteering was not included in the program of the Games. But it got into the World Games, which are held in the same way as the Olympic Games, every 4 years and are, let's say, an alternative to them - in the World Games, athletes compete in those forms that were not included in the Olympics.

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