Foot Orienteering is the most common form of orienteering. Foot orienteering is an endurance sport which involves a huge mental element. There is no marked route – the orienteer must navigate with map and compass while running.
The map gives detailed information on the terrain such as hills, ground surface, obstacles etc. To be successful in foot orienteering, the athlete needs excellent map reading skills, absolute concentration and the ability to make quick decisions on the best route while running at high speed.
Orienteers often run over rough ground, completely unprepared forest terrain or rough open hills – cross country in the true sense of the word. Therefore, considerable body strength and agility is needed. Fitness similar to that of a 3000m steeplechase or marathon runner is required.
There is a wide variety of orienteering events: individual competitions and relays, ultra-short park races and mountain marathon events. Night orienteering with the aid of a head lamp is also a popular form of orienteering.
Every year, the best foot orienteers in the world fight for the World Champion titles and the World Cup victory. The programme of the World Championships includes four competitions for both women and men; Sprint, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Relay.