Locals went wild in time for the orienteering ‘treasure hunt’

Locals looking for outdoor exercise, entertainment, or a COVID-safe activity with the kids may want to take part in an orienteering run at Long Reef on Wednesday, January 20.

Held at Griffith Park (corner of Anzac) in Long Reef, the event is the 30th season of Sydney’s Urban Orientation Summer Series.

“If you can read an old fashioned Google Map or street directory, you can do it!” says Queenscliff resident and organizer Ian Jessup.

“You have 45 minutes to visit as many checkpoints as you can in any order. Checkpoints are worth different amounts, so you need a strategy as well,” he explains.

Ian says he got into orienteering when a teammate on his hockey team invited him. “I never liked running for fun, 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 kind of like Pokemon GO,” Ian says in a nod to the 2016 craze. [or you can go solo] wears an electronic finger tag. You use maps much like a street map to find these electronic units, and when you find them, you identify them with your finger. There is a real treasure hunt element.

While a few hundred typically attend each class, the start time is staggered and in open spaces, making it COVID safe. Participants must find as many checkpoints as possible in 45 minutes, then score at the end for the data to be uploaded. There is also a free off-road course for primary school children (parents can also come).

For this Wednesday’s event, anyone can show up anytime between 4:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Urban orienteering is both a competitive sport and a fun activity for families. Photo: Supplied

While some people can cover 10 km in a single orientation session, others will cover considerably less distance. “It’s half brain, half muscle,” says Ian. “We always say don’t run faster than you think or you’ll miss something.”

Ian, whose club is local club Garingal Orienteering, is happy for those interested to contact him directly on 0416 040 135 or [email protected]

More general information on the Sydney Summer Orientation Series visit https://www.sydneysummerseries.com.au

Dino J. Dotson