So you think you can run?

The Jo’burg orienteering clubs have posted a challenge and incentive to the running community. They’ll give R200 to any newcomers participating in an ‘Adventure Navigation Urban Series’ event should they complete the men’s course in less than 25 minutes or the women’s course in less than 30 minutes.


Photo by Fred Richardson

The new ‘Adventure Navigation Urban Series’ runs from February though to early June. These urban venues take place at a variety of venues which include school properties to parks, campuses, a golf course and even the Joburg Zoo. The terrain is generally even and runnable, which makes for fast-paced running.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘cunning running’, orienteering is a navigation sport where participants receive a map at the start. A course is marked on the map by pink, numbered circles, connected by lines. Runners complete the course by visiting the checkpoints (called ‘controls’) in sequential number order. At each control, runners ‘punch’ a timing card to verify that they have been to the correct control for their course. Runners choose their own routes between controls, which are marked by a brightly coloured orange-and-white flags. The fastest runner wins.

The men’s and women’s courses are between three- to four-kilometres in distance as measured by the best route option available.

“We thought we’d put out this challenge to the running community because there’s running and there’s running,” says Richard Lund. An orienteer, he heads up marketing for the South African Orienteering Federation (SAOF).

“This is a stimulating and captivating sport; it’s about so much more than just running because navigation and route choice are thrown into the mix. We’ve found that more and more runners are looking for that something different and many are moving over to trail running. Orienteering is trail running taken up another notch, especially at our winter events which are held on more rugged terrain.”

At the first Urban Series event, held at Jeppe Boys, the men’s course (best route) measured three kilometres and the course was won by Michael Crone in 15:22. The women’s course (best route) measured 2.75 kilometres and it was won by Stephanie Courtnage in 19:01.

“We think our money is safe,” says Lund, “but we’d like to be proved wrong.”

This challenge is open only to newcomers. At registration they’ll be briefed on how orienteering works, what  the map looks like, how to ‘punch’ in at the controls and what to look for. They only get one chance on the course. All runners completing the men’s and women’s courses under the times specified will receive R200.00. The two-kilometre novice course is not included in this challenge.

Dates & venues

Day Date Location Pre-register online Event information
Sunday 2 February Jeppe Boys High Event completed Here are the results
Sunday 9 February Jo’burg Zoo Pre-register online Now available
Sunday 23 February Wits Ed. Campus Pre-register online Now available
Sunday 9 March Golden Harvest Park Pre-register online still coming…
Saturday 22 March Houghton Golf Estate Pre-register online still coming…
Sunday 6 April TBA Pre-register online still coming…
Sunday 4 May TBA Pre-register online still coming…
Sunday 18 May Heronbridge College Pre-register online still coming…
Sunday 8 June Fort Klapperkop Pre-register online still coming…

For more information on the sport of orienteering as well as details for these Urban Series events, please visit