News Archive


Tweet Wednesday 9th September 2020

My Lockdown Adventure with MapRun by Sarah Mansel, Suffolk Orienteers

Sarah Mansel is a member of Suffolk Orienteering Club

Sarah Mansel tells of her Lockdown Adventure with MapRun.

"I’m not quite sure why I decided to attend the British Orienteering webinar on MapRun.  I’d never felt bothered before and had never even heard of MapRun, so I guess that it was purely because I had nothing better to do that evening.  However, I am very glad I did.

Pat Macloud from North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club was an enthusiastic presenter and there was an awful lot to take in.  I could see the future potential for the concept of virtual orienteering courses, but was very confused about the different things you could do with the app.  The very next day I started trying to do a ‘quick route’ from my home – just basing it on my usual morning run and then in nearby Bradfield Woods.  There were difficulties with using GPS on my phone, and I still didn’t really understand what was meant by ‘check sites’.  I persevered and contacted Pat directly for advice and after a chat with the MapRun administrator from our neighbouring club, I was hooked.

I volunteered to be the local MapRun administrator for Suffolk Orienteering Club and started creating a course in Elmswell, where I live.  I was familiar with the area, but I needed to edit maps in Open Street Map to get the paths okay on Open Orienteering map.  Attending my second British Orienteering webinar on the use of Open Orienteering Map was a great help. Once the map was satisfactory, I published two courses in Elmswell; a scatter course in the core of the village as well as a longer score course taking in some of the footpaths surrounding the village. 

Over the next few weeks, MapRun gave me new purpose; I had been trying to get out for a run or a bike ride every day of lockdown, but it was beginning to get dull with the same old routes day-in, day-out.  MapRun motivated me to explore further afield.  I can’t drive so that meant a bike ride to a nearby village or suburb, then a run/walk around some provisional control sites, checking the footpath connections on Open Orienteering Map as I went.  Once back at home, it was then onto the computer to edit Open Street Map, before being able to launch the event the following day.  I never thought that I would gain so much enjoyment from exploring housing estates.  1970s developments seem to offer good route choices, as they include a lot of pedestrian interconnectivity, which is now beginning to reappear in post 2010 housing estates too.  I had some very positive feedback from one of my courses in Cedars Park, Stowmarket from a West Anglian Orienteering Club (WAOC) member. Since the 21 May I have published 13 different MapRun courses in 9 different locations.  

Elmswell Scatter MapRunF

Then I wanted to encourage more people to have a go at the courses.  There were a couple of other local orienteers who wanted to make it work and they created some courses in other parts of the county. We started by publicising the MapRun courses on the club website and Facebook page, but there was a disappointing uptake.  The next step was to create a mini-league of events so I picked half a dozen of the already up and running courses to form part of a league and planned to then launch a new MapRun each month from August until the end of 2020.  Participants will have a minimum of 6 weeks to run the course at any time before scores will be allocated, and the best 5 scores would count for the total league score.  It’s still early days and I am now getting the September course finalised and then I’ll need to do a bit more publicity and encouragement.  If it is a success, I would like to organise a MapRun Street-O League in 2021 and beyond.

I know it is not the same as ‘real’ orienteering as we know it, but you can certainly get a bit of competitive spirit and navigational challenge from a MapRun Urban Street-O. And it is certainly easy to practice social distancing.  There are technical issues – sometimes it takes a while to ‘pick-up’ the control, so performance might be dependent on your phone – but it is still fun – certainly more interesting than a run round the local streets and footpaths.  With the launch of MapRunG which runs on Garmin watches, I think that this type of ‘virtual’ orienteering will become more popular. It is an easy way to generate more opportunities for people to orienteer." 


Interested in creating a MapRun yourself or with other club members? 

Checkout these webinars which will help you.

Webinar:  'Learn More About MapRun' presented by Pat Macloud from North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club.
As Sarah highlighted in her account is a great starting point and you can watch the video recording of this webinar below.


Webinar:  Open Orienteering Map webinar presented by Oliver O'Brien (South London Orienteers) - can also be viewed below.

Interested in MapRun, but just want to download the app and take part in a MapRun which is already set up and available? 
Just like Sarah has created!  Then find out more about existing MapRun click here and download the app....and off you go!


Please note:  All webinars have been recorded and available to watch on British Orienteering's YouTube Channel here.

Can you think of a subject topic for either a full webinar or a bitesize webinar which you think will be really helpful to your club and members - and help with the re-starting of orienteering again?  Email:


Celebrating the re-start of orienteering.  
What activities or events has your club organised? Have you recently attended a re-start event?  How was it?
Maybe you have downloaded a Permanent Orienteering and/or Virtual Orienteering Course and enjoyed it with your family?  Or you have recently enjoyed taking part in a local MapRun course or even designed your own MapRun course for members of your club to take part in?  
However, you have been taking part in orienteering, share your experiences with others who may not have re-started yet.

Share your re-starting orienteering news and send your snippets, and photos to Jennie Taylor Communications Officer. 


To view the current British Orienteering Guidance visit: