Locals looking for some COVID-safe outdoor exercise, entertainment or an activity with the kids might like to join in for some Orienteering at Long Reef on Wednesday, 20 January.
Held at Griffith Park (corner of Anzac) at Long Reef, the event is the 30th season of Sydney’s urban orienteering summer series.
“If you can read a Google Map or an old-fashioned street directory you can do it!” says Queenscliff resident and organiser Ian Jessup.
“You have 45 minutes to visit as many checkpoints as you can in any order. The checkpoints are worth different amounts so there’s some strategy needed as well,” he explains.
Ian says he first got into orienteering when a teammate on his hockey team invited him along. “I have never liked running for the sake of it, so this was a perfect way to get me moving.”
The sport has different categories, including by age group and whether participants are walking or running.
So how does it actually work?
“It’s a bit like Pokemon GO,” Ian says in a nod to the 2016 year craze. “One person in your group [or you can go solo] wears an electronic tag on their finger. You use maps much like a street map to find these electronic units, and when you have found each you tag in with your finger. It’s got a real treasure hunt component to it.”
While a few hundred usually participate in each course the start time is staggered and in open spaces, making it COVID safe. Participants need to find as many checkpoints as they can in 45 minutes and then tag off at the end to have the data downloaded. There is also a free off-road course aimed at primary school kids (parents can come along too).
For this Wednesday’s event, anyone can turn up at any time between 4.30pm and 6.45pm.
While some people might cover 10kms in one orienteering session, others will cover considerably less distance. “It’s half brain half brawn,” Ian says. “We always say don’t run faster than you can think, or you’ll miss something.”
Ian, whose club is the local Garingal Orienteering club, is happy for interested parties to contact him directly on 0416 040 135 or firstname.lastname@example.org
More general information about the Sydney summer orienteering series visit https://www.sydneysummerseries.com.au