How are courses measured?
Courses are measured as the crow flies, in a direct line from control to control. Unless you have wings, you will travel farther than this distance! Courses are measured in kilometers, so a good rule of thumb is to simply round up to miles to estimate how far you will go. So in a 5 kilometer race, you’ll likely travel up to 5 miles.
All courses have a run-out start: after receiving your map and punching start you must follow the marked route to the start triangle. There is a lot of out-of-bounds on school grounds to avoid or risk disqualification. There is a flag but no punch at the triangle on your map – but you still have to go through it! The Start triangle is the place where navigation begins. The Start flag is at a narrow gate where there is only space for one person at a time to get through the gate, so please put your mask on at this funnel point.
All courses have a mandatory route and a mandatory crossing across 138th towards the end of the courses.
In addition, the WIOL Varsity and Intercollegiate Varsity courses, along with the Public Short Advanced and Long Advanced courses have another mandatory crossing across Juanita Drive to get to the Western part of the map. The crossing is between two controls (114 and 115), and we will subtract that leg time from your final result. So if you have to wait for traffic to clear, no worries–this will not be reflected in your final time.
Out-of-Bounds Areas: There are multiple out-of-bounds areas at Thoreau Elementary: the gravel stadium/ball field and a playground near the start; the parking lot’ and some landscaping near the mandatory crossing on your way to the Finish.
Big Finn Hill Park offers a variety of different terrains, something for every skill level, from beginner-friendly large trails, to rootstocks far from trails that are suitable for advanced orienteers. Most of the park is on a plateau unlike the adjacent Saint Edward park, and hence the terrain is relatively flat. Although the small hills add up rapidly, there are no long and brutal uphill running legs as in some other parks.
The beginner courses stay largely on trails, the more advanced runners are sent increasingly off-trail. But do not be deceived that trails are easy–they are not! In places, there is a mishmash of larger and smaller trails, some of which may be hard to spot! Off-trail legs are mostly in the whiter areas of the map, but now in the wintertime when leaves are gone the visibility is rather good in many otherwise dark green areas. Runnability is also better than in the summertime.
The southeastern part of the map features a large and wet marsh, and on rainy days the marsh may overflow and the adjacent trail may be muddy and flooded. This also applies to a big trail where some of the less advanced courses go. We hope though that the weather remains mostly dry and the venue will not be overly muddy.
Black X (531): manhole, culvert