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Distance judgement

& pace counting

Pace Count Tip2

Pace Count Tip2

Last edited: Thu 8 Feb 2018

You can't get lost if you keep track of where you are. If there are plenty of features you can track where you are on the map quite easily. But in some places there are no obvious clues as to where you are. This is where pace counting is of real benefit...

Skill aimed at those on Green course or higher.

Almost all adults will walk at between 60 and 64 double paces per 100m. I have a short stride so for me it's 64. If you don't know what it is for you will not be far out if you assume 60. But how many running paces do you have per 100m? It's worth working this out. Find a length of flat ground. Mark a point and walk away for 60 double paces. That is 100m. Now run back to the first point and count your paces on the way. Repeat a few times to get a consistent figure. For me a comfortable jog is 40 double paces and a sprint is 32. Try again on sloping ground to see how gradient affects your pacing.

So using this information here is an extract from the blue course at the Blackborough QOFL in March 2013:

These three controls are going to be difficult for me to see as they are in depressions. More significantly it's going to be difficult to avoid overshooting as there are no easy "catching features" to stop me going too far (a subject for a future tip). But I judge the leg lengths are both slightly less than 200m, its flat and runnable so for me I'll guess it should be roughly 55 double paces from 13 to 14, and the same again from 14 to 15. By counting paces to measure the distance, together with a compass to find the direction, I should be able to land right on the control.

Give it a try next time. It's a surprisingly accurate and reliable method (providing you don't lose count!). It's particularly useful at night events.

Richard Sansbury

  • Taken from Tip #2 - Measure the distance, QuOnicle 151

Read more

For another article on this subject, see:

Training exercises (from O-training net)

Pace counting, by Bill Brown (Wessex OC)

Distance judgement, by Solway Orienteers

Map scales & pacing, c/o Berkshire OC