Boston Run TRAINING / Saturday May 14, 11:30AM – 1PM


This training is for orienteers that would like to improve their map reading skills and practice a smoother style as you traverse a course. Two different types of practice will be employed.

controls   tunnel

The map at top left is an example of control picking. There are many close controls with lots of direction change. The idea is to keep your feet moving, especially when you approach a flag, punch and immediately start in the direction of the next control. The thought process might go like this if you were leaving control 20: You would say to yourself, “21 left.” Now you have it in mind to immediately turn left and start walking/running when you punch 21. The seconds you save if you do this at every flag really add up!

The map at top right is an example of corridor orienteering. Only a narrow ribbon of map is left uncovered. Your goal is to use compass and all the clues given on the corridor to stay within it. If you stay withing the corridor, you will encounter control flags. Punching them will prove you stayed on course! This really teaches you to stay in touch with land and map.

You will really get your money’s worth at this event. Everyone will encounter 30 flags in a compact area!

There will also be two 100 meter pace count practice areas set up. One in the field and one in the woods.


Boston Run Trailhead, Peninsula (across from Happy Days Visitor’s Center) Meet in parking lot.


  • Registration by 11:30AM, with last starts at 1PM!
  • Members – $5 ($3 for extra maps)
  • Non-Members – $10 ($3 for extra maps)
  • NEOOC Annual Individual Membership – $15


  • Event Directors: Randy Mitchell
  • Course Designer: Bob Boltz
  • Registrar: Kim King

How to Select an Orienteering Course

by Karen Dennis via OUSA

This article first appeared in the “Beginners’ Clinic” feature in the June, 1995 issue of Orienteering/North America, the magazine of the sport in the United States and Canada. O/NA frequently publishes helpful features such as this one. O/NA is available by subscription, but the best way to receive it is with a membership in the Orienteering USA (United States Orienteering Federation). Karen Dennis is an experienced orienteer, course setter, and mapper.

This is a description of the standard orienteering course levels and the skills required to do each one — ordered from easiest to hardest. This list is to help you decide which orienteering course and/or which training session to select. Above all, remember that orienteering is intended to be fun. Choose the course which challenges your current skill level but is still easy enough to be fun for you.

Course List

  White for the beginner
  Yellow for the experienced beginner
  Orange for the intermediate level orienteer
  Brown shorter course for the advanced orienteer
  Green short course for the advanced orienteer
  Red longer course for the advanced orienteer
  Blue longest course for the advanced orienteer

White Course—for the beginner

Choose this novice course if you are just beginning to orienteer and have had little or no experience. Before starting you should know:

  • how to interpret map symbols and colors (legend).
  • how to orient the map to North using a compass and/or land features.
  • what are the basic objectives (rules) of orienteering competition.
  • what to do when hopelessly lost (how to user a “safety bearing”).

This course is designed to introduce you to, and give you experience in:

  • following land features (“handrails” such as trails, roads and streams)
  • learning to relate the map to features on the ground
  • judging the distance between control locations
  • gaining self-confidence in map reading

Yellow Course—for the experienced beginner

Choose this beginner course if you have had some experience with orienteering and are quite comfortable with the beginner course, or have done a lot of hiking using topographical maps. Before starting you should know:

  • everything listed for the white course above
  • how to read contour lines
  • how to select and follow a “handrail”
  • how to select and use an “attack point”
  • how to interpret a scale and judge rough distance
  • how to take a rough compass bearing
  • how to select a route choice (safer vs. shorter)
  • how to “recover” from an error by backtracking to last known point

This course is designed to introduce you to, and give you experience in:

  • following handrails to an attack point (rather than to the control)
  • taking a bearing from the attack point to the control
  • judging fine distance between the attack point and the control
  • selecting between simple route choices
  • recognizing “collecting features” and “catching features”
  • reading and interpreting contours
  • recovering using attack points and maps features

Orange Course—for the intermediate level orienteer

Choose this intermediate course if you are moderately experienced with orienteering, you have mastered the white course and done a few yellow courses and been very comfortable with them. Before starting you should know:

  • everything listed for the white and yellow courses
  • how to navigate with or without a “handrail”
  • how to select and use “collecting features” and “catching features”
  • how to “aim off”
  • how to “simplify” a map
  • how to follow a compass bearing
  • how to recognize and avoid “parallel errors”
  • how to read IOF control descriptions

This course is designed to introduce you to, and give you experience in:

  • how to navigate cross-country with confidence
  • make route choices (according to your personal strengths and weaknesses)
  • recovering from “parallel errors” and other mistakes
  • fine map reading while traveling
  • visualization of contours
  • judging physical challenges and pacing yourself

Green Course—short course for the advanced orienteer

Choose this competitive level course if you are an experienced orienteer and have done several orange courses with confidence. Before starting you should know:

  • everything listed for the other courses
  • how to “pace count”
  • advanced techniques such as attacking from above, contouring, thumbing your map, red light, yellow light, green light
  • how to evaluate your own physical and orienteering skills
  • extensive recovery techniques

This course is designed to give you experience in:

  • pacing yourself (physically)
  • recognizing the challenges presented to you by the course setter
  • perfecting your orienteering skills
  • discrimination of mapping details
  • Brown Course—shorter course for the advanced orienteer
    Red Course—longer course for the advanced orienteer
    Blue Course—longest course for the advanced orienteer

These courses have the same difficulty as green, and vary only in the length of the course and in the physical challenge. Brown is shorter and less physically demanding, red is longer, and Blue is the longest and toughest advanced course.

Race Result / Boston Run 29APR2016


Despite iffy and unseasonal weather predictions, we had a very good showing of orienteers at today’s event. The day started off pretty chilly and damp, but gradually warmed, and we never got any real rain until just as the last controls were retrieved. There were lots of compliments for Howard Montgomery’s subtle courses, and his ‘butterfly loops’ that reused some controls several times. This despite having to change venues only last month because of a wedding party at the original Octagon site! Happily, we caught the attention of quite a few passersby at Boston Run, and we did a lot of ‘orienteering ambassadorship’ at the registrars table. And Fran Kern said that she did a bit of recruiting out on the course as well!

Many thanks to all our volunteers, including:

  • Director: Randy Mitchell
  • Designer: Howard Montgomery
  • Registrar: Collen Sabeh
  • Starter: Todd Pownell
  • Timer: Mike Sabeh
  • Greeter: Holly Wilgus
  • Control Collectors: Howard Montgomery, Bob Boltz, Dominic Conte, Fred Mailey, Michael Sabeh


White/Yellow Course: 10 controls 2.6 km 85 m
  1 Holly Wilgus                   83:44
  2 Chuck St.John                  115:29  (Manually entered start time)
  3 Fran Kern                      115:31

Orange Course: 13 controls 4.3 km 105 m
  1 Steve Johnson                  40:47
  2 Kate Arbogast                  82:59
  3 Frank Mahne                    129:23
  4 Tom and Jack Loya              152:36

Brown Course: 14 controls 4.1 km 90 m
  1 Alex Bogorad                   82:26
    Jennifer Rockwood              DNF
    Mark Rockwood                  DNF

Green Course: 15 controls 4.6 km 105 m
  1 Mark Stypczynski               74:27
  2 Ted Frank                      81:11
  3 Guy Russ                       87:11
  4 Fred Mailey                NEO 100:16
  5 Johnson & Witalis              121:22
    Kevin Pete                     DNF
    Andreas Johansson              53:02 / DNF*    (Punched 44 - 51 in wrong order)

Red Course: 16 controls 4.9 km 145 m
  1 Todd Pownell                   42:20
  2 Tom Svobodny                   51:05
  3 Steve Johnson                  55:17
  4 Bob Boltz                      55:23
  5 Gil Even                       87:32
  6 Mike Sabeh                     94:24
  7 Jeff and Alex Perry            118:21
  8 Dominic Conte                  134:03
  9 Bob Turanchik                  151:27


Post your GPX track to RouteGadget, or check out the detailed splits.


*Read about Andreas Johansson’s big mistake on the triangle, and how he punched a few controls in the wrong order.