If you’re looking for a run with a difference this summer, or you just want a new outdoor activity, why not try orienteering around some of Oxford’s parks? Thames Valley Orienteering Club is organising a series of monthly races with courses for all ages and abilities and no experience is necessary to have a go.
If you’ve never tried orienteering before, it’s a bit like a treasure hunt to find a series of checkpoints around your chosen course. They’re marked by flags around the park and you register each one with an electronic timing chip to record your progress, and prove you’ve been to them. The challenge arises by there being no set route between the checkpoints and you have to choose your own way, using a detailed orienteering map of the park.
Mike Shires from TVOC comments,
“Orienteering is one of the country’s fastest growing adventure sports” “Our 2015 Oxford parks series attracted over 900 competitors and we’re hoping lots more people come along to have a go this year. The beauty of orienteering is that you can be as competitive as you want to be – at elite levels it’s a cross country race with a difference, but there are always courses for families and children at events too.”
You can run, jog or just walk around a course. There will be five courses at each event, including a 5k course for runners as well as shorter ones for families and children, ranging from 1km to 5km.
The series of four events around Oxford includes:
- Saturday 16 April – Shotover Country Park
- Saturday 7 May – Cutteslowe Park
- Saturday 18 June – University Parks
- Saturday 23 July – Headington Parks and Oxford Brookes campus
It’s great fun and the events are supported by Oxford City Council and Up and Running in Oxford. Each event runs from 10am to 1pm, with registration closing at 11.30am. The cost is £6 per family group/solo adults, or £2 for solo juniors. Plenty of help is available for newcomers. Just don’t forget your sense of adventure!