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May newsletter - course planning

Orienteering Canada’s May newsletter “O-Canada” is now available here. This issue is all about courses planning. Great tips for course planners of all levels. Thanks to all the contributors.

Subscribe directly to the newsletter here.

You can view the Orienteering Canada newsletter archive here.

Happy reading!

Coach Profile: Raphael Ferrand

Raphael Ferrand

Born 1986
Hometown Grenoble, France
Currently living Oslo, Norway
Club Grenoble Université Club
Occupation Orienteering and physical coach, and web designer

Please list your best and proudest orienteering achievements to date.
As an athlete when I was in the French group. And as a coach each time one of the athletes I coach manages to reach his/her goal, no matter how “high” it is.

What is your first orienteering memory?
The first time as a competitor was with my family. My brothers came willing to show off their athletic skills, wearing running shorts and sleeveless tee-shirts, fighting with the organisation to be allowed to run the hardest class route. They came back all covered in blood from feet to head. So late that everybody was already home.

What is your favourite orienteering story or experience?
I remember two particular stories from Orienteering that could be on cinema.

The first takes place in the last leg of the 2005 Tiomila, between Petr Losman running for SNO and Tore Sandvik for Halden. Because of the non-forking, of the Swedish relay rules, and of the level of his opponents, Petr tactic was to follow Tore the whole leg, not letting him 1 meter. Tore who understood Petr tactic faked a head-lamp problem in order to let some distance between them two and not having Petr following him. But sticking to his tactic, Petr waited for him walking in the starting corridor. The whole race’s been like this. Petr not even pretending to do orienteering. Not even when Tore told him off or when he pretended to be lost. No. Assuming the whole time that he was following him. And so arrived the last control. Tore, a few meters in front, maybe because of the anger and the lack of focus, took a bad lane. And Petr just sprinted in the good one and won the Tiomila 2005. Who said Orienteering cannot be entertaining?

The second one is a nice one. This one takes place in 2009, in the WOC relay, last leg. The Swedish runner leading, Martin Johansson got penetrated 12cm deep by a stick. But the Czech Michael Smola, the Norwegian Anders Nordberg and the French Thierry Gueorgiou stopped there their race to help him, one going to call for help while the two others were applying some compression to the wound with their GPS harness and their shirt, and carrying him to a road. Letting go away the medals.

Is there a particular map/area where you could never get sick of orienteering?
Sisteron-Forcalquier area in France.

If you could fly anywhere in the world to orienteer, where would you go, and why?
Tepuy Roraima in Venezuela, the inaccessible House of Gods.

If you could get orienteering coaching from anyone in the world (dead or alive) who would it be, and why?
Thierry Georgiou, because he’s an orienteering technique brainiac. And Emil Zatopek for his love of sport and fair-play over the results.

Aside from orienteering, what other sports do you do on a regular basis?
Xc-skiing, trail running, and mountain-bike.

What is your favourite pre-race breakfast/snack?
A big fat poutine ! No, I try not to have too many routines, it makes us weak.

Tell us something that we might not know about you….
I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue.

Mapping Opportunity in Calgary

The Foothills Wanderers Orienteering Club is currently looking for one or more mappers to work during the summer of 2014 on updating and re-mapping orienteering maps in the Calgary area.  The projects range from small updates along the rivers in the city, due to the damage incurred by the June 2013 floods, to larger projects completely re-mapping city maps.  The mapper(s) will work on a fee-for-service basis, with a contract.  the wage will depend on the experience of the applicant.

Applicants should send their resume to by April 30, 2014.

For more information please contact Don Bayly

2013 Events Archive

Date Name Type Location
tbd World Ski Orienteering Championships Kazakhstan
May 4 – 12 National Orienteering Week across Canada
May 17 – 20 Sage Stomp
(long distance is a Canada Cup)
 Canada Cup Kamloops, BC
June 29 – July 6 Junior World Orienteering Championships Czech Republic
July 7 – 14 World Orienteering Championships Finland
July 25 – Aug 4 World Games Colombia
July 27 – 28 Sprint races Manitoba
July 30 – Aug 1 Sass Peepre Junior Training Camp Manitoba
Aug 3 – 5 Western Canadian Orienteering Championships
(sprint, middle and long are Canada Cups)
 Canada Cup Manitoba
Aug 2-10 World Masters Orienteering Championships Italy
Aug 17-18 Fishbones Wentworth Valley, NS
Aug 20-22 Sass Peepre Junior Training Camp Wentworth Valley, NS
Aug 23-25 Eastern Canadian Orienteering Championships
(middle and long are Canada Cups)
Canada Cup Saint John, NB
Sep 14 – 15 Alberta Orienteering Championships
(middle and long are Canada Cups)
Canada Cup Calgary, AB
Sep 20 – 22 Ottawa O-Fest
(the combined Saturday/Sunday results will count towards the Canada Cup Elite Series)
Canada Cup Ottawa, ON
Sep 28 – 29 BC Orienteering Championships
(long and sprint are Canada Cups)
Canada Cup Victoria, BC
Oct 11-14 Canadian Orienteering Championships
(sprint and middle are WREs; sprint, middle and long are Canada Cups)
Canada Cup
Hamilton, ON

Buff for sale - help support high performance orienteering in Canada

Buff for sale!

Show your support for the COF and the COF’s high performance program (HPP) fund by purchasing a buff.

The buff sells for $25 +shipping. We have a limited number, so buy your buff soon. You can purchase the buff at ( and you can read about the COF’s new partnership with the o-store here)

All proceeds from the sale of this item go to the COF’s high performance program (HPP) fund. The HPP fund helps to provide stronger coaching and training opportunities to Canada’s top current and future elite orienteers.

Clubs – are you looking for volunteer recognition gifts? Bulk purchases are welcome. You can contact the o-store directly regarding shipping costs. They would love to hear from you.

Thanks for your support!

P.S. These are a great Christmas gift! (you can also find a COF sticker and badge at the o-store – and be sure to check out all their other great stuff too!).

Talent + Dedication + Support –> Performance + Growth



IOF collecting compasses for developing orienteering nations

As part of the International Orienteering Federation’s 50 year celebrations, the IOF is collecting compasses to be sent to developing orienteering countries all over the world.

To succeed in the IOF’s aim of collecting at least 500 compasses, they need your help: if you are going to attend the World Orienteering Championships or the O’Festival ERDF Savoie Grand Revard in France either as a competitor or a spectator, please bring your old compasses with you to the event. There will be compass collection stations at both events. Or if you know someone who is going to France in August, send your spare compasses with him/her to help the orienteers in the younger orienteering nations. You can write a greeting – or at least the name of your home country – on a piece of paper to go with the compass.

Anyone coming to the COCs in Whitehorse, can give their compass to a member of the national team to take over to France.In addition to compasses, also pin punches and control flags are much appreciated equipment in the new nations.

If you want to help, but are not going to France, you can send your contribution directly to the IOF Secretariat: IOF, Radiokatu 20, 00093 SLU, Finland.

For more information, please read the IOF’s news article.

Introducing the Canada Cup

The COF is pleased to announce the Canada Cup. There are 3 components to this exciting initiative.

“A meets” are now called Canada Cups

After lots of discussion, we feel that it’s a good time to change the name “A meet” to “Canada Cup”. We’re doing this for a few reasons:

  • “Canada Cup” is a more descriptive and publicly-familiar name.
  • A nation-wide Canada Cup series will provide increased visibility and marketing for our top quality events.
  • Nation-wide programs can be built on and around the Canada Cup series to encourage participation and skills development at all ages and levels. The Canada Cup Elite Series and the Canada Cup Challenge are two such programs under development.
  • Organizers will, hopefully, be excited to organize Canada Cup events – perhaps as one race of a multi-race weekend, providing more high quality racing opportunities for all Canadian orienteers.
  • The rebranding to Canada Cup is more attractive to sponsors.
  • We’re completely revamping the officials’ program so it’s a ideal time to introduce this change.
  • We’re going to change the name of B meets and C meets too – still working on the exact names.

What does this change mean for orienteering clubs?

  • We’ve updated the sanction form
  • Canada Cup events will be clearly listed on the COF schedule.
  • Clubs don’t need to change the way they name the event (eg Sage Stomp, Blue Nose Classic, GLOF, Barebones, etc) but in your event promo you’ll want to indicate that your event includes one or more Canada Cup races.
  • In a multi-race event it is not necessary for all races to be Canada Cup events.

Canada Cup Elite Series

The Canada Cup Elite Series is a yearly-point scoring competition for the W21 and M21 elite categories. It is targeted at the Training To Win stage of the COF’s Long Term Athlete Development Model. Runners score points for themselves and their clubs by placing well in the M21/W21 categories. Points are accumulated over the season and individual and club awards are presented at the end of the year. All Canada Cup races count toward the Elite Series standings, with bonus points for Canadian Championship races. You can find all the details of the Canada Cup Elite Series here.

What does this mean for event organizers?

  • The event organizers will need to submit the race results in a timely manner after the event, so that the scoring guru can get to work tabulating the points and update the COF website with the latest standings.

Canada Cup Challenge

The Canada Cup Challenge will be a scoring system that we’ll apply to all age categories. We haven’t ironed out all the details but we are working to create a system that will be meaningful and motivating to the widest range of orienteers, taking into account the Long Term Athlete Development plan currently under development. Stay tuned… as we’ll be launching this in the spring.

Results from the Equipment Survey

In October 2010, the COF Board posted a survey to gauge opinion on whether the COF should acquire orienteering equipment in order to assist clubs.  Thanks to everyone who completed the survey. A summary of the results is located here.

Results covered the entire spectrum with clubs either being very much in favour or having no interest at all in the COF buying equipment. There already exists an informal sharing network between clubs/associations when equipment is needed and it doesn’t make sense for the COF to duplicate this. We encourage the clubs to continue this equipment sharing. If your club is looking for specific equipment to borrow and you aren’t sure which clubs have the equipment, please contact us.

The Eco Endurance Challenge

The Eco Endurance Challenge … North America’s Largest 24-hour Orienteering Event?
submitted by Peter Lewis

Just before noon on the last Saturday in April, close to three hundred men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes, dressed in gear ranging from sleek spandex running suits and top of the line trail running shoes to army boots, with loaded backpacks and combat fatigues, stand map and compass in hand anxiously awaiting the horn that will mark the start of the 11th twenty- four hour Eco-Endurance Challenge.  Close to another two hundred slightly less adventurous souls will have already set off two hours earlier on the eight hour event.  As the horn sounds, some teams will race off at breakneck speed trying to get a head start on the pack, while others will amble away in larger groups, chatting as they go, for an enjoyable but challenging day out in the Nova Scotia woods. This is the Eco-Endurance Challenge, or E2C for short.   It requires teams of two or more people to spend up to 24 hours on foot finding controls scattered over a large tract of Nova Scotia wilderness.

The E2C has its origins in an event known as the Maxi Moose 24-hour Wilderness Race, organized by former Executive Director of the Orienteering Association of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Trails Federation, Michael Haynes.  Besides being well-known for several books describing the walking trails of Nova Scotia, Haynes has wide experience, both as a competitor and designer of orienteering courses. This type of event is technically known as a ROGAINE, or Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance; the 1999 Maxi-Moose event incorporated the North American Rogaine Championship and featured 174 competitors.  Several Nova Scotia Ground Search and Rescue teams were attracted to take part in this event in the rain and fog of the Cobequid Mountains near the Wentworth Ski Hill (site of the 2011 Canada Winter Games). Beginning in 2001 a successful partnership between the Halifax Regional Search and Rescue (HRSAR) Team and OANS began with Haynes as the first course planner and HRSAR as organisers of what has grown to become probably the largest one-day orienteering event in North America. The 2010 event accommodated 160 teams with 409 competitors.

The Wilds of Nova Scotia
The event is staged in a rugged area of Nova Scotia woodland interspersed with rocky granite outcrops containing many lakes, watercourses, forest roads and trails.  The land is owned by the Bowater-Mersey Company and is located some 20 km west of Halifax and 40 minutes from Halifax International Airport. With an area of over 300 square km available for the competition map, changing the start location has resulted in each event being a unique experience. The 24-hour course has traditionally covered an area of over 100 km2 with 60 control points of varying values to be found. Given the large area to be covered, a modified 1:50,000 map is used for the event. Although not a “traditional” orienteering map, the availability of aerial and satellite photographs and continuous field-work has made it possible over time to depict harvested areas, clear cut areas and offer a more accurate representation of the minor trail networks and larger boulder features.  Other innovations have been to include a Line-O of 5 controls and the use of a large-scale aerial photo for an additional 5 controls.

Search and Rescue Expertise
The logistical expertise and manpower of the Halifax Regional Search and Rescue team has enabled the E2C to grow and become a much-anticipated event in the Atlantic Canadian Orienteering and Adventure Racing Community. Evaluation and planning for the following year’s event begins almost immediately after the final controls have been collected. The event planning committee meetings begin in September and increase in frequency as the event approaches. Safety is paramount in any SAR training activity.  All teams are required to take safety equipment (compass, whistle, matches, knife, water) with them into the woods. These items are checked before control cards are handed out. Local Scout and Guide groups are recruited to man 24-hour safety camps and water supply points located around the course. SAR personnel patrol the forest roads continuously on ATVs with GPS locaters and radio communication. Trained Wilderness first-responders are on-hand and can be taken by the ATVs to the remote locations if necessary. Two custom-designed SAR $250,000 vehicles (most of the money for purchase was raised by members through events such as the E2C) are located at the Start/Finish area throughout the event. The Command Unit can display the location of the patrol vehicles on large screen TV and serves as the communications centre’ it is also used for scoring and results. The second vehicle serves as the Logistics Support, providing refreshments and a rest area for the many volunteers.

Competition Classes
For both the 24 and 8 hour events there are 4 available categories of competition. For the elite orienteers/adventure racers, the Public Competitive Category requires teams of two. For the Recreational, Emergency Responder, and Armed Forces teams there is no limit on the number of competitors in each team. For all categories, teams must adhere to the rule that their members must remain within voice contact at all times. Each team is free to choose a team name – imaginations have run wild for choices! A few examples – We’re Lost Again, Dad!, Lost in Declination, Eco Challenged, Boondock Harriers, Hail to the Chimp, 414lbs of Atrophy, My Compass Is Wrong Again, Wake Us When It’s Over.

For the Elite
Since 2008 generous sponsorship has enabled the award of monetary prizes to the first three teams in the 24 Hour Competitive category, with a $1,000 cheque awarded to the winning team and $500 and $250 to the 2nd and 3rd teams respectively. For the first time this year, monetary prizes will be awarded to the first three teams in the 8 hour event. Several sponsors’ prizes are also awarded to the teams raising the most in pledges prior to the event.

One of the unique highlights of the event is the banquet held at the awards ceremony after both the 8 hour and 24 hour events. Here the sore and weary can share their stories from the woods over a substantial 3-course Turkey or Roast Beef dinner, freshly prepared by the HRSAR logistics team before they face their journeys home.

2010 Maps
Map A / Map B / Map C

Sign-Up Now
Be part of North America’s largest Orienteering Event – Go to

Quotes from competitors from previous years

  • “I kind of like these compass thingies. When you find the control point it is a real good feeling that you have read the map correctly, taken into account the declination, and bingo there it is- just where you expected to find it”.
  • “We may not be the winners but I get great satisfaction from just completing the damn thing”.
  • “To start, we both would like to thank the HRSAR and the volunteers who organized and put this race on. Hats off to the volunteers, especially the lonely water station in the south end of the watershed”.
  • “The event itself was fantastic. Well organized and lots of fun. The food on Sunday was an unexpected bonus. We’ll definitely be back next year”.
  • “The meal was fantastic at the Lions Club hall and the emergency hotdogs and hamburgers at the base station were a sight for hungry stomachs.”
  • There seem to be several ingredients for a successful E2C experience. Physical fitness, good endurance, map and compass skills, and the ability to move well in the woods are important. Maintaining a positive outlook and a sense of humour is essential. A good balance between conversation and silence amongst the team is also good.”
  • “After the race and a night of sleep I felt more relaxed than I have in a long time. It was great to be roaming around in the woods, brooks, swamps, and back roads for a long stretch of time completing our version of the challenge. Later on it was entertaining to hear the anecdotes of other teams. I’m already looking forward to next years Eco-Endurance challenge and I wish there was a 24 hour race for each of the four seasons of the year!”
  • Was it physically grueling? You bet it was. However, fixated in my memory is a day when I challenged myself and got to places I never could have experienced without the organization and hard work of the many volunteers who made this event . It was a great day for the soul (and maybe this middle-aged body too!)”
  • “My husband, his friend Ober Reid) have done the challenge the last couple of years.  Normally, they travel from Sussex NB on Friday night so they can have an early start on Saturday.  While packing, my husband packed his hiking boots of course.  When he got to the challenge he realized that he picked the same foot from 2 different sets of hiking boots.  He did the whole challenge wearing 1 hiking boot and 1 of his dress shoes for work.  Surprisingly enough, the shoes lasted the whole time!  Better to wear 2 different shoes than do the whole thing while hopping on 1 foot!”

Athletes' Representative Election

Athletes’ Representative Election Process
In 2008, the position of Athlete Representative was created. The goal is to have athlete representation on the Board of Directors to ensure that national team athletes have a voice at the decision making level of the COF. At the COF annual general meeting in August 2008, a motion was passed to amend the COF constitution to add an Athletes’ Representative to the COF Board of Directors (BOD). The individual in this position has full voting rights in the same way other Board members do, but unlike board members that are elected by the general membership, the Athletes’ Rep is elected by national team athletes.

Term of the Athletes’ Representative
The elected individual will serve a 2-year term starting immediately after the 2011 COF AGM in July and ending with the 2013 COF AGM. After the 2011 COF AGM, the Athletes’ Rep will be a voting member of the COF BOD and delegate to the AthletesCAN Forum including all the responsibilities listed below. Prior to that, the elected individual will serve as a member of the COF High Performance Committee to become familiar with the current issues of the High Performance Program and the operating procedures of the High Performance Committee. Another election will be held in early 2013.

Responsibility of the Athletes’ Representative
The rep is expected to:

  • Advocate on behalf of the athletes as a participating member of the Canadian Orienteering Federation Board of Directors
  • Fulfill the duties of a COF board member
  • Advocate on behalf of athletes as a participating member of the COF High Performance Committee
  • Be the Athletes’ Rep for Orienteering to AthletesCAN including attending the annual AthletesCAN Forum (travel and accommodation expenses are paid for), which is usually held at the end of September. Share the experiences and learnings from the Forum with Canada’s national level orienteering athletes.
  • Keep all Canada’s national level orienteering athletes updated year-round with relevant information from AthletesCAN, the High Performance Committee and the COF Board of Directors
  • Work to enhance the profile of orienteering in Canada

Who elects the Athletes’ Representative?
The Athletes’ Rep is elected by the Canadian members of the 2010 World Orienteering Championships and Junior World Orienteering Championships teams.

Who is eligible to be the Athletes’ Representative?
Both former and current Senior National Orienteering Team members are eligible provided they have been a Canadian Senior National Orienteering Team member within the last 8 years. A Canadian Senior National Orienteering Team member is defined as any individual who has represented Canada as a competitor at a World Orienteering Championships.

Nomination process
The call for nomination will be circulated via email and web to the Canadian orienteering community. Nominations for the position must be sent to the COF (by email to by February 7, 2011. Individuals can nominate themselves or someone else can nominate an individual with his/her prior approval.

All nominees will have the opportunity to submit answers (by February 7, 2011 to to the following questions:

1. Why do you wish to run for the Athletes’ Representative position? (answer not to exceed 250 words)
2. What is your vision for elite orienteering in Canada? (answer not to exceed 250 words)

Election process
By February 10, 2011 the COF Executive Director will send by email the list of nominated athletes and their responses to the above questions to all the current Canadian national orienteering team members (the Canadian members of the 2010 World Orienteering Championships or Junior World Orienteering Championships teams).

Voting will be done by Feb 17, 2011 by replying by email with the name of the desired Athlete Representative. The email is to be sent to the two COF officials acting as proctors (to be announced)

If an athlete has not responded within one week, a COF representative will attempt to contact the athlete by phone to ensure he/she received the email. Once the phone call has been made the athletes will have 3 days to cast their vote. Then the elected individual will be announced.?