Event Types

Racing in a National Event

Racing in a National Event
Credit: David Jukes

Last Updated: Sun 13 Oct 2019

Orienteers attend a wide range of events from local club events to huge national events and from urban sprints to long forest relays. Many travel overseas to events in Europe and beyond. We're a dedicated bunch!

Local Club Events

These are small and informal and usually take place on Saturday mornings for club members and beginners to the sport. SO offer four courses ranging in length and technical difficulty and results count towards the SO league. Membership of British Orienteering is not necessary for these events. However all regular participants are encouraged to become British Orienteering members to benefit from cheaper entry fees and other incentives. There is no need to pre-enter.

Regional Events

Open to everyone. These events usually offer a larger range of colour coded courses. Regional events often offer a white course which is easier than a yellow and ideal for juniors wishing to try it on their own for the first time as there should be a control at every decision point. Colour coding is designed to provide comparability between the course standards at different events ie: a Green course at a SO event should be similar in length and technical difficulty to other Green courses in Britain. Seven colours are used with each colour representing a certain level of difficulty (both technical and physical). The darker the colour the longer and harder the course. For cheaper prices and to ensure a map, pre-entry is often available via Fabian4.

Colour Distance Difficulty Average finishing time
White 1 - 1.5K Very easy, written instructions 30 mins
Yellow 1.5 - 2.5K Easy, novices, line feature controls 25 - 40 mins
Orange 2.5 - 3.5K Easy, progressing novices 35 - 55 mins
Red 4.5 - 6K Medium, longer, simple route choice 50 - 80 mins
Green 3.5 - 5 K Hard, short, technical problems 35 - 55 mins
Blue 5.5 - 7K Hard, long with technical problems 50 - 70 mins
Brown 8K+ Hard, physically and technically 60 - 80 mins

National Events

Open to everyone. These are medium-sized events often with even more courses on offer, the scheduling of which is coordinated by each of the Regional Associations (SEOA in our case). The results often count towards specific leagues or trophies with each orienteer scoring points for their club. As with level C events, pre-entry via Fabian4 is advised for cheaper prices and to ensure a map.

Major Events

High calibre large orienteering events to decide regional or British champions in each age class. Open to all British Orienteering members who hold a British passport or have been present in the UK for at least three of the six months preceding the competition. Colour-coded courses are often available as well as championship courses. Pre-entry is essential via Fabian4 or SiEntries.

Powering down the home straight at a major event

Powering down the home straight at a major event

International Events

A variety of levels of competition all over the world and throughout the year for all orienteers. Southdowners regularly travel abroad to compete and especially enjoy summer multi-day events such as Swiss O-Week, POM, O-Ringen and the Fin5.

Score, Sprint, Long, Middle, Night?

The majority of Southdowns club events are known as line events, where you follow a set course from start to finish, but there are a variety of different orienteering formats on offer to keep orienteers on their toes!

  • Score events, like our popular Xmas Score, have no set routes. You 'collect' as many controls as you can in any order and in a given time, usually one hour.
  • Sprint events are shorter and faster and usually take place in a park or urban setting.
  • Long Distance events are most often set in forest terrain and will involve long courses and lots of running (or lots of getting lost!)
  • Middle Distance events are more technical and will be harder to navigate, hence the courses are shorter than the Long.
  • Night Orienteering speaks for itself, is great fun and a really good way to hone your navigational skills for daytime orienteering.
Orienteering at night

Orienteering at night