This article is from the Running FAQ, by Ozzie Gontang with numerous contributions by others.
(Matt Mahoney firstname.lastname@example.org) updated
Orienteering is called the "thinking sport" because it involves two skills
-- running and map reading. The object is to run to a series of markers in
the woods, along any route you want. The hard part is finding the markers
with the aid of a map and a compass.
There are 6 courses to choose from, called White, Yellow, Orange, Green,
Red and Blue. This has nothing to do with the colors of the markers (which
are orange and white and look like lanterns hanging from trees). It has to
do with level of difficulty, like belts in karate. The white course is the
easiest, about a mile, with the markers clearly visible from roads or
trails. Blue is the hardest, about 4-5 miles, and involves mostly
cross-country running with emphasis on successful navigation using terrain
features. Each marker has a 2-letter code (to distinguish it from markers
on other trails) which you match up with a code sheet that you carry with
your map. There, you stamp your card in the appropriate numbered spot. Each
stamp produced a distinct pattern of holes in the card.
Orienteering now has its very own news group, rec.sport.orienteering. The
BAOC newsletter is run by Wyatt Riley out of Stanford (wriley@leland.
stanford.edu). Subscription requests should be sent to:
with the following line in the text:
subscribe baoc your name e.g. subscribe baoc Bill Clinton
BAOC home pg:http://www-leland.stanford.edu/group/orienteer/baoc.html.