Street orienteering in Chapel Hill (Saturday, 16 November)

Filed under: Latest News by David Waller on November 6th, 2019

On Saturday, November 16 we will have an urban orienteering event on the streets and greenspaces of Chapel Hill.  This will be a mass start “score-O” in which competitors can chose which controls they visit and in which order, with different controls being worth different point values.  The competitor with the highest score at the end of either two or four hours will be the winner.  All are invited to participate, but because this event is different from most of our others, please read the following information carefully.

1.  Registration is now closed. If you have not pre-registered for this event, the only way to participate will be to use the GPSO option, described below.

2.  There will not be the typical orange and white flags marking each control point.  Instead, competitors will navigate to the center of the circle on their map where they will find an object in plain sight.  They will carry an additional clue sheet that asks a question about the object, and will answer the question on their sheet. Therefore, it is critical for each competitor to carry a waterproof pen or pencil to write down their answers

3.  There will be no ‘beginner’ courses.  Everyone will get the same map with the same locations circled.  Beginners may choose to find the locations that are relatively easy, while experts may choose to find the difficult ones.  People may also choose to finish well before the two- or four-hour time limit with no penalty.  Acquiring all of the controls will require traveling more than 30 km, and it is not expected that anyone will be able to do this within four hours.

4.  For participants who are cutting-edge technology first-adopters, the event will be optionally available as a GPS-Orienteering (GPSO) event. In theory, competitors who use the GPSO option can use their (Android) phone to track their location, and to record when they have reached a control site. This would eliminate the need to keep track of clues and an answer sheet. There are several important caveats to this option, though. Please read details about GPSO here.

5.  Bicycles are allowed on the course, and it is permissible to use a combination of foot and bike navigation for the event.  Roads and trails where bikes are not allowed will be mapped.  It is also fine to travel as a team, although all team members must stay within audible contact of each other at all times.

6.  Start, Finish, and Registration will be at the park shelter at Umstead Municipal Park in Chapel Hill.  Note that this is not Umstead State Park near RDU! See map here.  (GPS coordinates = 35.921556, -79.062878).  If the parking lot is full, there may be spaces available to the west (GPS coordinates = 35.921736, -79.064227).

7.  Maps will be distributed beginning at 11:00 AM to give people a chance to study the map and to plan their route before the mass-start at noon.

8.  Refreshments will be available at numerous places in the area, but many will require payment.  For example, competitors may want to stop at a convenience store during the race to pick up a sports drink.  Some of these locations will be indicated by a blue circle on the map; however, many more will not be mapped.  Competitors will probably want to carry their own water or else carry money to purchase refreshments on the course.

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