Starting an Orienteering Course

Starting an orienteering race is simple but does consist of a few vital steps.


First you need to warmup as you would for any run – hip, knee and especially lower legs need to be primed and ready for the effort to maximise your performance and, most importantly, avoid injury.

Clear & Check

Then you walk to the start area where there are Clear and Check control points, which you use to clear the old data on your Sportident timing stick and check the stick is working correctly.

Choose Map

You then need to pick out the map of the race you’re doing.

On bigger races, there can be quite a range of maps to choose from so you have to make sure you’re picking the right one for your chosen race. Typically the maps are in shallow trays, labelled according to race, and helpers are around to make sure you get it right. This part obviously is key as on any race there will be easy, moderate and hard maps.

On many bigger races too, depending on the type, runners will be released in small groups at 30 second intervals to avoid crowding amongst the starters.


Lastly, walk or run to the Start Control and insert your timing stick into the control to start your race proper. And you’re off!