Your First Meet

Great! You've decided to attend your first orienteering meet! Here's a quick 10-step guide that'll help make your first event a success.

1) Take a look at our schedule of events and pick oneWe host events throughout the region all year long.You can even pre-register online. Pre-registering comes with a lower registration fee, ensures that your information is accurate, saves you time on event day, and helps the club print the right number of maps. However, you may also register on the day of the event for an added fee. 

2) Show up! Most of our events have a "start window" of 10am to 12pm, which means you can arrive at any time and start whenever you want within that time period. Occasionally, we have events with a "mass start" when everyone starts together.

3) Wear clothing and footwear suitable for the weather and your desired level of exertion. Walking in the rain would require different gear than running in warm weather, for example. A good suggestion would be to dress as if you're going on a hike or trail run. If your course takes you off-trail, long pants are recommended. Maps are provided, compasses are available to borrow, and electronic scorecards "e-punches" are available to rent.

4) If you haven't already pre-registered, follow the signs to our registration table, where'll you fill out our registration form, pay, and receive rental equipment. Entry fees at our local meets cost $8-$15 depending on whether you're a member, what course you choose and what equipment you'll need to rent.

5) Choose a course. We always make sure our events are beginner-friendly, so there'll be a range of 3-7 courses to choose from, for beginners and intermediate to advanced orienteers. Beginner courses are usually 1-2 kilometers (~1 mile) in length. If you finish your first course and the start window is still open, you can always try another, more challenging, course!

6) Get a quick lesson from our beginners instructor. We always have instruction for beginners at every meet, and they'll give you a quick run-down for the event. They'll explain a few basic instructions, an overview of the map and symbols, and how to use a compass and electronic scorecard "e-punch" (if applicable).

7) Head over to the start line, and enter the chute for your chosen course. The staff at the start will assign you a start time (usually 2 minutes after the previous starter and 2 minutes ahead of the next). When your start time arrives, you'll receive your map with course printed on it! Go!

8) Navigate the course! Your goal is to find the checkpoints in order, but it's up to you to determine the best way to get there. Keep in mind that what's best for a serious runner may not be what's best for a walking family, or vice versa. What's your motivation? A fast, competitive time? Or a nice, leisurely, walk in the park?

9) Always return to the finish, even if you don't complete your course. We need to know that you've safely returned so we don't send out a search party. The finish staff will verify that you found all of the checkpoints and give you your official time.

10) Don't leave just yet!  If there's time, you can try another course. Or you can check results, compare route choices, and share adventures with other participants. Orienteers are a friendly bunch, and we always love discussing courses afterwards!