Try an Event

Getting started in our sport is easy, inexpensive, and everyone is welcome. Any or all of the following are excellent ways to give orienteering a try:

  • Come out to any local meet and let the registrar know that you are new to the sport. A knowledgeable club member will give you some pointers to get you on your way.
  • We hold a beginner clinic each spring.  See our clinics page for further details.
  • There is often a clinic held in conjunction with Ottawa O-Fest where you can learn and pick up pointers.
  • Register for one of our coach led sessions found under menu item 'Our Programs'.

However you choose to get your introduction to the sport we hope to eventually see you at one of our events.  Our events are super friendly and inviting but even so your first event in a new sport is always a big thing so we've put together this page to help give you an idea of what to expect and how to prepare.   

1. Choosing your event

Already have an event picked out?  Great!  If not, there are lots of ways to pick an event with which to get started :

  1. Look through the list of upcoming events on our events calendar.
  2. Visit our home page - there you will find a list of all of our events in the coming weeks.
  3. Check out one of our Events Series to find events of a specific type or during a specific season.
  4. Explore our maps page to find upcoming events on a map near you.
  5. Look through our full calendar to find a complete list of our events in any month.

2. Preparation

Once you've chosen your event there are a few things you need to know:

Clothing:
Wear hiking or running clothing suitable to the weather and footwear that can get wet. If running off trail (non-novice course), it is best to wear full leg and arm covering in the woods.
Equipment:
Bring a compass and whistle if you have them, although we can sell/rent them to you if needed. You may want to carry a water bottle although water is provided at the finish.
Event details
Important event details are available on the event page. It would also be a good idea to read the information on the relevant series page as that contains lots of good information relevant to all events in the series.

It might also be a good idea to brush up on your knowledge of orienteering maps before the big day.  You can find all you need to know to get started on our maps page.  When you arrive on site there will be someone there who can give you the low-down on map reading for orienteering events so you can head into the woods with confidence.

3. Getting there

o-signThe location of the event should be clearly marked on the event page.  Once you get close to the event site (the last two or three corners on the road) you can expect to see signs with the standard orange and white orienteering flags on them pointing the way to event parking.  

4. Registration

When you get to the event site, look for registration at the Orienteering Ottawa or Information banner.  

As a general rule, our events offer multiple courses with differing physical and technical difficulties.  Part of filling out the registration form involves writing in your choice of course.  The course options will be on display with registration so you can check them out to help you choose.  If you're not sure which course you want to do you can ask any of our experienced volunteers and they will help point you in the right direction.  You can print and take a completed registration form with you if you like.

A few notes:

  • Whistles are mandatory: you will be sold a whistle for $2 if you don't have one.  
  • Compasses and timing chips are available for rent.  
  • We require the car license plate number of the car you arrived in - this is as a safety precaution so please note it before you approach the registration table
  • If you are running with a friend, you will need to choose a team name.  Our timing system cannot record multiple names.  

When you hand in your registration form you will be given a map, and, should you need them, a compass and timing chip.  You will then be sent to the timing official where you will need to register your timing chip in the timing system.  

5. Need a hand?

At this point you are ready go.  

If you don't feel like you're quite ready for the course ahead of you or simply have some questions just let any one of our volunteers know and we'll find someone who can give you a hand, explain how things work, go through the map and course with you, etc.  At some events there will be a  free 'mini-clinic' prior to the event.  Join in for some good tips for the meet.

When you're ready to go you can head on over to the start.  

6. At the start

clear and check boxesWhen you get to the start you need to 'clear' and 'check' your timing chip in the two timing units marked as such.  If you don't do this the system won't record a start time for you.  There are also clear and check boxes at the timing officials computer where you can do this.

Once you've done that you can start by inserting your timing chip in the 'start' box.  Please leave a minute or two of space between yourself and other competitors on the same course.  This way the event is more enjoyable for everyone.

7. Finishing

The finish control is generally marked by a large FINISH banner.  When you've finished you need to download at the same spot you registered with the timing official.  

It is critical that you check in with the timing official whether you finished the course or not.  It is also very important that you be back by the course closing time (2 pm for Sunday events).  If you are not back by then we will initiate search procedures.  

8. Post Race

Congrats on a successful orienteering event!  

Now that you've downloaded and have your personal results in hand you can stick around for some drinks and snacks, compare results and stories with others.  The friendly atmosphere between competitors is really one of the things that makes orienteering so special so we invite you to cheer on your fellow competitors as much as you can.

Then chat with others about your run. Compare notes on route choices. Clarify any points with which you had difficulty. Take a look at the results possibly posted on site but always posted on the web within a day or two. See where you did well and where you had problems. Review your map and see if there was, possibly, a better route choice.


Cost

Costs may vary but a typical meet cost for a single race event is :

Standard Meet Costs per startAdultsJrs (8-20 yrs)Family MaxChildren (0-7 yrs)
Annual members $9.00 $6.00$22 free
Day-members $13.00 $7.00$32 free
Additional fees
Timing chip rental (no charge for the novice course) $2.00
Compass rental $2.00
Whistle purchase (whistles are mandatory) $2.00