British Orienteering continues to keep our guidelines for event organisers, coaches and participants under review as the government COVID-19 guidance evolve across the UK. Protecting the health of all our participants, members, volunteers and staff, and ensuring that we play our part in suppressing the spread of COVID-19, remain our highest priorities.
Our initial understanding is that the new Government restrictions announced in England on Tuesday 22 September will continue to permit orienteering events to be held in line with the current British Orienteering guidelines. However, we will review the detailed Government guidance as it emerges and will make any necessary changes to the British Orienteering guidelines as soon as possible.
British Orienteering will also continue to work with SOA, WOA and NIOA to review the impact of the restrictions announced by the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.
We will issue a further update once the revised Government guidance for sport has become available.
Following the review of the Return to Orienteering guidance in England by the Board of British Orienteering on Tuesday 1st September, please find the link to the full document.
The key changes are:
Subject to a further review of the implementation of these revised guidelines, British Orienteering will aim to move in future revisions towards a higher start rate of up to four starters per minute from each start location, with allocated start times.
British Orienteering would welcome further feedback from clubs about their experience of operating within the current COVID-19 guidelines, and about any challenges they have encountered in obtaining permissions from landowners or local authorities.
The Board plans a further review of the guidance in October, subject to any further changes in the government guidance.
To view the current guidance visit: COVID Safe Orienteering
British Orienteering is supporting National Fitness Day again this year. We are encouraging all those who have never tried orienteering to download one of over 500 Permanent Orienteering Courses across the UK.
As we ease lockdown restrictions, orienteering clubs around the UK are getting together to promote their Permanent Orienteering Courses as a way of discovering the outdoors in a socially distanced way. There are over 500 Permanent Courses around the country and many are within easy reach of towns and cities.
A new video has just been released by the Orienteering Foundation, explaining how to get started on a Permanent Orienteering Course.
The video sets out how to understand the map and how to orientate it to match the environment around you. It gives examples of the checkpoints you could be looking for and shows you how to download a map.
Orienteering is a sport where you have to navigate your way around a series of checkpoints in the fastest time. Permanent Orienteering Courses are exactly that - permanent. They have checkpoints, in the form of posts or plaques, in forests, heathlands and parks, which you can navigate to at any time, and at your own pace.
These courses allow you to discover new areas of parks or forests that are a little bit more off the beaten track, and further from other members of the public. They're ideal for small groups or individuals, so perfect for social distancing.
It's a chance to learn something new, an opportunity for everyone to connect with the outdoors, get some exercise and have the satisfaction of completing a challenge.
Key to all orienteering is the specially drawn map. The film shows how this map works, the way the symbols are drawn and how courses are printed with a start and finish symbol and checkpoints to find on the way round. The film also shows how to line your map up with features to help you go in the right direction. Other than having the map, you need little else to get going. A compass isn't necessary on simple courses, just be dressed ready for the outdoors whether you are planning to run or walk.
Many local clubs have also been developing these courses virtually, and our Virtual Orienteering Courses can be completed using your GPS smartphone or watch. More information on Permanent and Virtual Orienteering Courses can be found on the British Orienteering website.
With the opportunity to select the difficulty of a course, look for a course in a particular terrain, search for wheelchair accessible course or embrace technology with an added virtual element, there has never been a better time to embrace your next outdoor adventure with the sport of Orienteering on National Fitness Day.
If you do one activity today, make sure you download a Permanent Orienteering Course today and go Orienteering!
The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) recently announced that Covid-19 impacts meant that the Sprint World Orienteering Championships (WOC) scheduled for Denmark in 2020 was postponed until 2022, and that Russia was no longer able to stage the 2021 European Orienteering Championships in Sprint (Sprint EOC).
Other announcements alongside this included the cancellation of the entire World Cup programme for 2020, and that the move of Denmark Sprint WOC to 2022 also meant the intention to move the date of Sprint WOC in Edinburgh from 2022 until 2024.
Since those announcements, the IOF have been working hard with member federations and event organisers on a revised approach for these major events. They have now been able to announce some further changes to the international calendar for 2021.
Specifically, the Czech organisers of the Forest WOC for 2021 have agreed to add Sprint WOC races to the overall programme in July. They will stage the current disciplines of Individual Sprint and Mixed Sprint Relay, with the debut of the new Knock-Out Sprint discipline remaining scheduled for Denmark Sprint WOC in 2022.
In addition, the Swiss organisers of World Cup Round 1 in May 2021 have agreed to re-arrange their programme and incorporate EOC into the competition. That competition will now include all three Sprint Disciplines of Individual Sprint, Knock-Out Sprint, and Mixed Sprint Relay.
Alongside these changes, IOF have announced updates to the remainder of the 2021 World Cup programme to better balance the overall calendar. World Cup Round 2 (forest races in Sweden) moves from the previous date of immediately before Jukola in June to take place in August instead, and World Cup Round 3 in Italy will now include a Mixed Sprint Relay.
Further details of the inclusion of sprint competitions within the 2021 World Championships are at https://orienteering.sport/nokian-tyres-world-orienteering-championships-2021-to-include-sprint-competitions/, and more information on the revised World Cup programme is at https://orienteering.sport/world-cup-2021-a-balanced-program/.
These further announcements are good news for international sprint athletes in particular, who were facing the prospect of no World Championships in Sprint until 2022 (the last was in 2018), as well as the uncertainty around Sprint EOC for 2021. British Orienteering would like to express thanks to the IOF for their perseverance in seeking solutions, and to the various event organisers for their flexibility in making it possible for suitable alternatives to be found.