On May 24th, 2017, in many places across the world local orienteering races took place as a part of World Orienteering Day (WOD- http://worldorienteeringday.com/). The aim of WOD is to popularise orienteering, mainly among schoolchildren, as a great and fascinating sport and an interesting pastime for whole families.
I haven’t written about orienteering on my blog yet, even though it’s my second passion, next to ultra running. My first contact with orienteering was when I was a scout in primary school. Then, for a few years I was a member of ‘Neptun’, a local orienteering club in my hometown Gdańsk in Poland. In 2001 I even took the 1st place in regional championships.
After a few years’ break I returned to orienteering when in 2006 I took part in Harpagan, a long-distance (100k) navigational race in which I have been participating ever since. Initially it was a walking event for me, but gradually over time I evolved to running it. After I moved from Poland to the UK, in 2012 I joined Thames Valley Orienteering Club, and since then I’ve regularly run in local and regional orienteering races, usually treating them as a good physical and mental workout. In orienteering you need to be both precise and quick to be successful.
Coming back to WOD 2017, on May 24th I was actually on family holiday in Poland and I thought it would be great to take advantage of the opportunity to run in Reagan’s Park in Gdańsk in an event organised by the Harpagan folks. My intention had been to run it leisurely because 2 days later I was about to participate in a mountain ultramarathon called Kierat (more on this topic in the next post).
Firstly, we set off as family Krzysztofik on the short course, where our daughter Ola was responsible for finding the checkpoints and punching the control card. We got 10 out of the required 20 points, then Ola’s attention got irrevocably directed to a nearby playground. That meant the end of Team Krzysztofik’s performance.
While Ola explored the playground with her grandfather, I went off to do the long course which consisted of 30 controls. It took me 35 minutes to get them all, resulting in overall 3rd place. It was quite a fast-paced run, contrary to my initial plan, but fortunately 2 days later, at the start of Kierat, I didn’t feel any adverse consequences 😊.
To sum up, I think that WOD is a great initiative and I wholeheartedly encourage people to try orienteering. It’s an active way of spending time outdoors for whole families, what could be easily witnessed in Reagan’s Park in Gdańsk, where overall 223 people took part, among them a couple of familiar faces and many families with children.
All the best,