is an endurance sport which involves
a huge mental element. There is no marked
route - the orienteer must navigate
with map and compass while running.
The map gives detailed information on
the terrain such as hills, ground surface,
obstacles etc. To be successful in foot
orienteering, the athlete needs excellent
map reading skills, absolute concentration
and the ability to make quick decisions
on the best route while running at high
run over rough ground, completely unprepared
forest terrain or rough open hills -
cross country in the true sense of the
word. Therefore, considerable body strength
and agility is needed. Fitness similar
to that of a 3000m steeplechase or marathon
runner is required.
There is a wide variety of orienteering
events: individual competitions and
relays, ultra-short park races and mountain
marathon events. Night orienteering
with the aid of a head lamp is also
a popular form of orienteering.
In uneven numbered years, the best foot
orienteers in the world fight for the
World Champion titles, whilst the victory
of the World Cup is at stake in even
numbered years. The programme of the
World Championships includes three competitions
for both women and men; classic distance,
short distance and relay.
Foot orienteering became a recognized
Olympic sport in 1977.
RACING SUIT: A lightweight, stretchy
suit protects from undergrowth whilst
allowing maximum freedom of movement
even if it gets soaking wet.
SHOES: Light, strong shoes with non-slip
soles allow sure grip on all types of
ground - including mud and bare rock.
MAP: The map provided by the organiser
shows the course with the control points
which must be visited. The map is designed
to give detailed information on the
terrain - hills, ground surface, and
features such as boulders or cliffs.
COMPASS: There is a wide variety of
sophisticated compasses to choose from.
Basically they can be divided into two
main categories: base plate and thumb
CONTROL CARD: To prove that they have
visited all control points in the right
order, the orienteers have to punch
their control card at each control using
an electronic device.