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Don't rush

Dont Rush 19

Dont Rush 19

Last edited: Sat 18 Nov 2017

Orienteering is racing. So the fastest wins - right? Well, yes and no. Yes - it is true that elite orienteers are super-fit. But no - fast young runners are frequently beaten by older wiser navigators. Why?

The best orienteers are strong runners, but they are also fast navigators - able to quickly memorise the map and make rapid route choices. It's the fact that you have to be good at both that gives our sport its unique appeal.

OK- you can rush like this near the finish!

OK- you can rush like this near the finish!
Credit: Wendy Carlyle

Clearly there is no point charging ahead until you have a good idea where you are going. Running fast in the wrong direction does not win. I fit into the category of someone who is reasonably good at running, but I'm weaker at navigating.

When the courses are easy, for example lots of path running, I can get an advantage. When it gets more difficult, for example with complex contouring then I do less well.

The first forest league this year was at Buckland Wood and featured short courses requiring expert navigation. I made a complete Horlicks of it - losing time on five controls and getting worse towards the end. Part of my problem was that I tried to go too fast. I was finding the navigation difficult and my reaction was to speed up when I should have made myself slow down.

An unhurried style- where it counts

An unhurried style- where it counts
Credit: Laurence Johnson


As my mistakes mounted up I tried to compensate by running even faster. Idiot! I was just making it worse and worse for myself. So my advice to you is: don't rush - only run as fast as you can navigate.

Richard Sansbury

  • Skilling Up- Hints and tips for Improvement #19, QuOnicle 160, March 2015

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