Have you heard of Orienteering? Well, it’s a sport I have been doing since I was in Year 1. In Orienteering you are given a map to follow and you have to find controls that are placed in different locations.
A control is an orange and white flag and a box with a certain number on it. To prove that you have been to the control you are given a USB stick called a dibber that you insert into the control. The winner is the person who finds all the controls in the quickest time. You not only need to be a good runner but also you need to have accurate map reading skills.
I started orienteering when I was 6. I was competing on the white course which is the easiest and best for beginners and I was followed by either my Mum or my Dad. The first time I was allowed to compete on my own was in the Kent Junior Championships at Lullingstone Country Park taking home the gold medal. I then moved up to the Yellow course which is slightly more complex and further to run.
I have recently been to Ostend (Belgium) to take part in my first international event. On the first out of the two day event, I ran 2 sprint races, winning one and coming second in the other. After the first day, on aggregate time I came first and I was given a yellow vest to run in on day two. On the second day I had one longer race in the city centre and came 3rd. Although I came 3rd on day two, they work out your aggregate time over the two days to find the overall winner. Over the 3 races I came first, winning my first International orienteering event and retaining my yellow vest!
Next season in the South West Essex league I will compete on the orange course with longer distances and more advance map reading.