The Presenter follows a fence at a fast walk, thumbing the map, a look of concentration on her face.
I’m on my way to the second control in my first orienteering race. Finding the first control was a breeze – although I did have a little help from my expert instructor. But now, I’m on my own.
The Presenter reaches a fence corner, stops and looks up.
PRESENTER (to camera)
I’ve just reached this fence corner –
(CLOSE UP of map)
So according to my calculations, my second control should be just down this track.
She starts to head down the track soon sees the control…just as a young boy races past her, punches the control, and takes off down an adjacent track.
CUT TO Presenter punching the control.
Two down, nine to go.
After studying her map for a moment, she heads off in the same direction as the junior orienteer. The footage speeds up, so that the next eight controls are a high speed montage of an identical scenario: the presenter looks up from her map, sees the control and starts to head towards it, as some little kid (a different one every time) flies past, punches the control, and disappears into the distance.
As I complete the rest of my course, I can’t help but notice a recurring theme.
As the Presenter approaches the final control before the finish chute (normal speed), the final little kid flies past. This time the presenter narrows her eyes, and gives chase, not quite managing the catch the kid on the finish line. She dibs her e-stick (CLOSE UP) then bends over panting, while the kid heads over to his group of friends who have already finished.
PRESENTER (to camera)
She heads toward the finish tent.
Now that I’ve finished, I need to hand my control card into the finish tent so that they can check that I’ve been to all the right controls. I also need to download the data from my electronic chip, which records my total time.
She downloads, then hands her finish card to an official.
How did you go?
Pretty well, thank you, but I kept getting passed by ten year olds.
They’re pretty quick.
The Presenter moves away from the finish, heading towards the water containers.
So quick that I thought I’d go over and find out how they did it. But first, I’m going to take a well-earned drink.
CUT TO footage of different kinds of race finishes, at WOC if available and sprint finishes in relays. Electronic timing finishes if possible.
There are several different types of finish in an orienteering race. Where electronic timing is used, competitors often use their electronic chip on the finish line to get their final time. In many of these races, not only is the final time recorded, so is the time taken to get to each control. Although competitors are able to see who was the fastest on an individual leg, it’s still only the fasted overall time that counts.
Mid-shot of juniors discussing their course with the Presenter.
PRESENTER (to juniors) So which of you had the fastest time today?
And how long did you take?
18 minutes [or whatever]. How long did you take?
Ahh….I think it was just a little bit longer than that.
The kids laugh.
So how did every one go to the first control?
Ad-lib extended discussion with kids, with kids pointing out route choice on maps.
So that was my first orienteering race. I learned how to orientate and thumb my map and how to recognize and translate different symbols on the map into features in the forest. I even completed my course without finding any of the wrong numbered controls. Next time, I think I’ll be ready for some more challenging navigation and maybe, with a little help from my new friends, I just might learn how to improve my control flow.