Courses are set by degree of technical navigational
difficulty, not by length . Never choose above your skills until you consistently rank high at that level.
POINT-TO-POINT Courses are the base structure of Orienteering Races.
The skills each Color Course expects of you are detailed below:
OTHER RACE FORMATS:-
In Sprint-O you run very short courses as quickly as possible. Make decisions quickly. Exciting to watch and great potential for errors!
In Trail-O each major control of the race is a subset group of control flags set close together. You view each group from a nearby path (trail) and chose the one which matches the description on the race clue sheet. This event was started to help physically disabled people enjoy the sport. It has turned into a mental challenge even for the elite athletes.
In Score-O you try to find as many mapped features as you can within a time limit with the more distant and/or more difficult features having higher point values.
Motala format is used where the area is small. You do 3 or 4 loops out from the start, each loop often has only 4 controls.
WHITE course - for the novice YELLOW course - for the experienced beginner ORANGE course - for the intermediate level orienteer ORANGE-LONG unofficial - just a long intermediate level for A/Rs There is a big navigational step up to the Advanced Levels. Do not attempt until you have learned your skills and successfully finished several Orange courses ADVANCED COURSES- Brown, Green, Red and Blue are the SAME NAVIGATIONAL LEVEL, but they are of different physical demand. In national USOF competition, courses are assigned by age and gender groups. Please see USOF course/age/gender charts
Before starting you should know: 1) how to read and interpret the map symbols and colors (the legend). 2) how to orient the map to North, using a compass and/or land features. 3) what are the basic objectives (rules) of orienteering. 4) what to do when hopelessly lost (how to use a 'safety bearing'). The course is designed to give you experience in: a) following land features ('handrails') such as trails, roads, and fences. b) learning to relate the map to features on the ground. c) judging distance between control locations. d) gaining self-confidence in map reading.
Before starting you should know: 1) everything for the novice (WHITE) course above. 2) how to read contour lines. 3) how to select and use a 'handrail'. 4) how to select and use an 'attack point'. 5) how to interpret a scale and judge rough distances. 6) how to take a rough compass bearing. 7) how to select a route choice (safer vs. shorter). 8) how to "recover" from an error by backtracking to last known point. This course is designed to give you experience in: a) following handrails to an attack point (rather than to the control). b) taking a bearing from the attack point to the control. c) judging fine distance between attack point and control. d) selecting between simple route choices. e) recognizing 'collecting features' and 'catching features'. f) reading and interpreting contours. g) recovering using attack points and map features.
Before starting you should know: 1) everything for the above two courses. 2) how to navigate with or without a handrail. 3) how to select and use 'collecting features' and 'catching features'. 4) how to 'off-aim'. 5) how to 'simplify' the map. 6) how to follow a compass bearing. 7) how to recognize and avoid 'parallel errors'. 8) how to read IOF control descriptions. This course is designed to give you experience in: a) making cross-country navigation 'safer'. b) choosing routes according to your strengths and weaknesses. c) recovering from 'parallel errors'. d) fine map reading while traveling. e) visualization of contours. f) judging physical challenges.
Before starting you should know: 1) everything for the above courses 2) how to 'pace count'. 3) advanced techniques such as; attacking from above contouring thumbing red-light/yellow-light/green-light running 4) how to evaluate your physical and orienteering skills. 5) extensive recovery techniques. This course is designed to give you experience in: a) pacing yourself (physically). b) recognizing the challenges presented by the course-setter. c) refining your orienteering skills. d) discrimination of mapping details.