Cary (sub)urban Orienteering – October 5, 2019

Filed under: Latest News by Imre Polik on September 6th, 2019

Last minute updates:

  • The weather is looking great, in fact, this might be the first really pleasant weekend of the fall! I couldn’t have planned it better.
  • A compass is not necessary, but could be useful.
  • Bring a pencil for writing the answers and a highlighter to plan your route.
  • Make sure to show up about an hour before your start time to get your map and plan your route. The 4-hour group starts at 9 (maps at 8), the 2-hour group starts at 11 (maps at 10). Everyone finishes at 1pm.

We will have our first (sub)urban orienteering event in Cary on Saturday, October 5, 2019. The format will be similar to the Chapel Hill street-o event, but the landscape is a bit different. There will be a 2 and a 4-hour category, and a bike option. Note that this event isn’t a regular orienteering event. In particular, this wouldn’t qualify for scouting merit badges.


All participants need to register online before 8pm, October 3. I’ll print the maps on Friday, October 4. Due to the capacity of the shelter, this event is limited to only 50 participants.

Instead of orienteering control flags I will mark certain points on the map and ask a question that you can answer there. This is not a treasure hunt, the controls won’t be hidden. No prior knowledge of Cary or the area is necessary. The key is a careful route choice and precise execution.

The course

There are 48 controls worth 200 points in total, ranging from 1 to 8 points each. Runners can take the controls in any order. The runner with the most points wins. If there is a tie, the one who finished faster is the winner. The two farthest controls are 5.5km from each other. Clearing the course (as the crow flies) takes at about 26km. Using laser sharp navigation, a fair bit of bushwhacking and crossing creeks at unpleasant places the course can be cleared in 34km. A more realistic estimate is probably 38-40km. That being said, the course seems clearable for a very good runner in 4 hours, and the event director would love to see someone do it! Judging from similar previous events a total distance around 32km is quite doable. No external help is allowed, including a GPS, asking friends, using a TSP solver, etc.

Almost all of the course is on streets, sidewalks and paved greenways, with a couple of single-track trails. Nothing is off-trail.

Bikers: there is only one control that isn’t attainable by bike at all, and one other that requires some mountain biking skills. Otherwise the entire course is very bike friendly. Of course, you won’t be able to take some shortcuts/stairs that runners could.


Teams of at most three people can also participate. Team members must always be within earshot of each other.

The map

The map is at 1:15000 scale, printed on landscape tabloid size (11″x17″) paper. In addition, you’ll get a letter size clue sheet for your answers. Please bring a pen/pencil to mark your responses. Please let me know if you need a larger map.

There are no street names or identifiers on the map.

The start and finish will be at the picnic shelter in North Cary park in Cary. The address is 1100 Norwell Blvd. Water and restrooms are available there. On the map I’ve marked several places where water and restrooms are also available. Please carry your own water and plan your pit stops carefully.


  • 8:00 Handing out maps for the 4-hour group
  • 8:50 Pre-race briefing
  • 9:00 Start for the 4-hour group
  • 10:00 Handing out maps for the 2-hour group
  • 10:50 Pre-race briefing
  • 11:00 Start for the 2-hour group
  • 13:00 Finish for everyone (Late penalty: you lose your highest scoring control in the first minute and 1 point for each minute afterwards.)

We need to leave the shelter by 2pm as it is booked for the afternoon.

If you cannot make it on the day of the event and want to run it beforehand, let me know. As there are no controls to set up, you can run any time, as long as you time yourself.

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