I was assisting with Sportident timing Walton Chasers contribution to ‘The Route’ on Saturday. The Route is a new idea by British Orienteering to attract newbies to our sport, targeting a different demographic. There are three ‘Routes’ on offer at each of the events all with a 1 hour time limit.
- Route Runner: is traditional score orienteering (but on an OS map)
- Route Breaker: is again score orienteering but with the added challenge of having to collect the checkpoints according to snooker rules – ie a red control then a colour.
- Route Camp: Involves coming back after each checkpoint to the event headquarters to do a gym exercise.
The branding and atmosphere at the event was great. Small orienteering events have a lot to learn from other adventure sports: feather flags, a podium, lots of gantry banners etc together with kicking music gave the event a great feel – even though the numbers were low.
The demographic has completely new, attracted mainly through social media adverts, the competitors were mostly new to orienteering with a high percentage were women, who in the most came in groups.
All in all a good event, a little poorly attended for the effort inputted but all seemed to have a great time, however a couple of experienced orienteers who attended and raced route runner felt a little short changed as they finished their courses I under 30 mins! I know the organisers will be looking at this ahead of the next event.