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Want some direction
in your life?
Get orienteering, get fit,
and get going!
¦ As an ultra-marathoner, trail
runner, adventure racer and
general outdoor enthusiast,
Jen silverthorn doesn’t need
to add any extra activity into
her life. However, the sport of
orienteering, with its blend of
off-road running, navigation
and mental focus captured her
attention about five years ago,
and has since become a staple
alongside her plethora of other The controls are shown on a high-quality the intelligent sport, combining athleticism
map and numbered to indicate the order in with intense concentration.” sweden’s
which you must visit them. To prove you O-Ringen, the world’s largest annual
The training benefits from technical actually found the flag, you use a small orienteering meet, regularly welcomes
running, the charm of Calgary’s great chip that you carry around on your finger to more than 15,000 athletes, and each year
outdoors, and the hope of the elusive scan the electronic box located with each Calgarians such as Zissos, to join the
“perfect race” have kept Jen coming back control. This data is then downloaded to orienteering festival.
each year. a central computer on completion of the
The sport of orienteering attracts all course for immediate results.
ages, all levels of fitness and all degrees of Many people think orienteering is all
experience. It requires participants to find about the compass, but actually it is all
carefully placed flags known as “controls,” about the map and the ability to read it
in a designated order by using a highly quickly and while moving. In fact, the best
detailed map. orienteers in the world train without a
For some, orienteering is a sport unto
itself and Calgary has produced a handful of
elite orienteers who take advantage of the But for others, orienteering is used as
fact that map symbols are internationally great cross-training for other outdoor
standardized to travel the globe in search pursuits. silverthorn finds that the time
of exhilarating places to race. Adrian Zissos spent with a map and compass really
has been orienteering for 20 years and helps her navigation in adventure racing.
enjoys the exciting terrain, big events, and Like Zissos, she enjoys the sprint races
the tough competition that can be found and uses them as a substitute for speed
in Europe. He’s particularly fond of the work. “sprint orienteering is a terrific way
15-minute sprint distance event and has to work on agility, hills and speed all in
raced in Instabul’s Grand Bazaar, the streets a tight compact package without having
and alleys of Venice, and the old walled to worry about repeats.” silverthorn is
town of Obidos in Portugal. “Orienteering is currently the highest-ranked female in the
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