March 2018

From the president

The AGM for 2018 took place on the 18th March in the South Parklands, was attended by a staunch number of members, and supported by Onkaparinga Hills putting on a metro event.

The outgoing committee members were thanked for their dedicated work over the previous year, and much had been achieved, including coaching and training programmes every week, events at schools, provision of permanent courses and the production of new maps particularly in the metro and near areas, apart from running the fundamental event programme. A more detailed description of members efforts and roles appears in the 2017 Annual Report.

A significant amount of work has been undertaken in preparation for the 2018 Australian Championships Carnival in South Australia, but this year will need to draw on the support of all members to present this prestigious event.

I look forward to working with all the new Management Committee members and OSA members over the coming year.

Rob Tucker

From the editor

As “editor” for the South Australian Orienteer, I thank all the members who have supplied photos and articles over the last 2 years. I now hand over the “keyboard” to Frank Burden, who accepted my nomination at the 2018 OSA AGM to be the SAO newsletter editor.

Jan Hillyard

2018 Australian Championships Carnival

2018 Aus Champs Logo

Planning for the Carnival is now well underway. In SA major national carnivals are run as an OSA enterprise rather than having clubs being assigned particular events, so all OSA and club members are called on to assist at all events.

The event web site lists more details about the very full event program, some information you need about entering the events and also the link to enter in Eventor. For the less experienced orienteers we are offering several A Short classes (except for the Australian Sprint Champs) and M and W Open and 45 B classes. This is a great opportunity for everyone, experienced or otherwise, to be part of a big event. And with the Australian Schools Championships part of the carnival, come and cheer our schools team, perhaps they can improve on last year’s 3rd team placing! For information about the carnival and link to entries - click General Information. The early bird entries close on Sunday April 22nd.

We also have a Facebook page.

The main roles for all events are filled and course planning has commenced. Major mapping is also complete, although some mapping updates are yet to be completed.

The events and teams for each event are:

DateEventAreaEvent Personnel
Sat Sep 29Aus Middle Distance Championships NOL Event World Ranking Event (Elites)Crooked Straight – east of RenmarkController: Phil Hazell
Organiser: Rob Tucker
Course Planner: Bob Smith
Sun Sep 30Aus Relay Championships NOL EventWeila - Bunyip Reach – east of RenmarkController: Adrian Uppill
Organiser: Craig Colwell
Course Planner: Simon Uppill
Mon Oct 1 (PH – SA, NSW, ACT,?WA and Qld)Aus Sprint Championships NOL World Ranking Event (Elites)Renmark SchoolsController: Peter Cutten
Organiser: Adrian Uppill
Course Planner: Robin Uppill
Tue Oct 2Aus School Sprint Distance Championships Public Sprint – Day 1Venue to be finalised Keithcott Farm probableController: Andrew Kennedy
Organiser: Aylwin Lim
Course Planner: David George
Wed Oct 3Aus Schools Individual Championships Public Event – Day 2Wirra WirraController: Gerry Velaitis
Organiser: Frank Tomas, Peter Kreminski
Course Planner: Andrew Kennedy
Thu Oct 4Aus Schools Relay Public Event – Day 3Mt CrawfordController: David Tilbrook
Organiser: Fi Pahor, John Such plus TT
Course Planner: John Nieuwenhoven
Oct 5 Rest Day 
Sat Oct 6Aus Long Distance Championships NOL Event World Ranking Event (Elites)Gumeracha Gold FieldsController: Jenny Casanova
Organiser: Fi Pahor and James Lloyd
Course Planner: Vince Loye

In addition other people have major roles as below. However more assistance is needed in some areas both in the lead-up to the carnival and during the carnival week. In particular we need assistance in publicity (excluding the web site and Facebook) – e.g. contacting and providing information to local papers and other media in the two main areas (Renmark and the Adelaide Hills).

And from the events listed above you can see we have a very full program, so we will be calling on people from all clubs (who have no responsibility below) to help with setting up and dismantling equipment at events. For the carnival to be successful, as many SA orienteers as possible need to pitch in and help where they can. As mentioned above all the events are run under the “Badge” of Orienteering SA, no event is the responsibility of any club. Helping at events will not prevent you entering and participating in any events. Where required start times can be adjusted for helpers at events if needed.

Carnival CoordinatorRobin Uppill
FinanceSue Bament
Technical DirectorRobin Uppill and Jenny Casanova
Mapping CoordinatorAdrian Uppill
Publicity and PromotionHelp Needed
MerchandiseJan Hillyard
SponsorshipPeter Mayer, Bridget Anderson
Schools Championships – Orienteering CoordinatorClive Arthur
Schools Championships – Accommodation and SocialBen Cazzolato - Adelaide
Equipment CoordinatorBarry Wheeler
Help needed in setting up and taking down equipment at all events
Computing/IT/EntriesKen Thompson
Live Centre Coordinator (Living It Live)Chris Naughton – to provide live and online results, and radio controls at each event.
First Aid CoordinatorJan Hillyard
Search and Rescue CoordinatorsNeeded for all events
String CoursesNeeded for all events
Event TeamsRegistration – TT
Starts – OH
Finish Logistics – WA
Toilets – YA
Parking - SB/LI – Riverland events, TT – mid week

For more information and if you can help, contact Robin Uppill – aruppill at


Don’t forget to follow your fellow SA orienteers attending the Easter carnival on the website

Aus 3 Days Tasmania

2018 Australian Orienteering Championships

The polo top comes in navy blue with sky inlets.

The bucket hat will be in navy blue.

The logo will be embroidered into each piece of clothing/hat.



• 100% BIZ COOL™ Polyester Sports Interlock
• 155 GSM
• UPF rating – Excellent


• Grid mesh underarm panels for breathability
• Unique sleeve print feature
• Contrast panels and piping
• Knitted collar with contrast placket

Male Top - Front
Male Top - Rear


Garment ½ Chest (cm)52555862657179

Female Top


Garment ½ Chest (cm)46.54951.55456.559626568


Garment ½ Chest (cm)36384042444649

Bucket Hat

Bucket Hat
Medium / large / extra large - $15

Your order for clothing is available through the carnival website. Final orders for clothing will be the same as for entries ie. 26th August 2018.
Check out General Information for details

Read your control descriptions!

At the recent SA Sprint Championships, many orienteers wasted time at control 122 (no 2 on the course snippet below). Being early in some course, the first control on some course, many orienteers ran through the gate just past of the start triangle and did not read the control description. They were looking for the control in the open area at the junction of the high fence and wall (thick black line).

Tatachilla Map

However the control description based on the symbols was “Canopy or Covered Area - inside SE corner”, and on some courses this was even explained in text.

Tatachilla Control Description

So you had to go into the northern opening of the large covered area, to the control in the SE corner of this area (as it was described). Knowing the placement of the control is important in all types of orienteering and often very important in urban sprint maps where you can be on the wrong side of an impassable object.

The OSA Web site has the full booklet on control descriptions available as well as single summary sheet. Go to Guidelines and Policies and scroll to section 2 on Event Management – see Items 4 and 4B.

IOF CONTROL DESCRIPTIONS AUSTRALIAN VERSION 2018 (Section 2 4B) has now been updated and is now in line with the recently updated IOF Control Descriptions. This document is found on the Guidelines and Policies section of our web site and can be downloaded from there (Go to About Us -> Guidelines & Policies). Anything related to Event Organisation can also be found under About Us -> Event Management .

Summer orienteering training

Over the summer Manu Jurado, coach in residence, has run many technical training activities, a weekly Wednesday evening training and some weekend events. Manu has completed a number of new maps that have been used for these activities, we also used maps completed by last year’s coach Stefano Raus. Some of these new maps will be able to be used for events and training on going, others just for training. The focus of the training was generally short sprint format, with some weekend events having two courses with the results of the first deciding on the start order of the second. For these events the OSA SI Kit was used, this enables easy use of SI with a standalone splits printer to give each person their instant splits result.

Manu continued the update of the Adelaide City Parklands maps, started last year by Stefano Raus, to the more detailed sprint specifications. So now we have updated the SE parklands through to Rymill Park, the North Adelaide Golf course and surrounds, two west parklands blocks including the Adelaide HS and the block to the south, and two south parklands blocks – Veale Gardens and the block to the west completed (Adrian Uppill assisted with the latter).

Veale Gardens and surround was used for an Australia Day event, where the course travelled around Australia with multiple choice questions at each location. Three areas that will be used just for training events are the Wayville Showgrounds and the office area of Wayville along Greenhill Rd (see the maps) and the Marion Shopping Centre and surrounds.

Some weekend events were held on new maps at Heathfield High School and The Paddocks at Para Hills. The latter was a “secret” training without juniors as this new area is being used for the SA Schools Championship this year. A few events were night orienteering, most recently at Belair Golf Course where Adrian Uppill set the courses (see map) enabling Manu to have a run. After Easter, OSA will plan more midweek training activities, so look out for details in ENews and on the web site.

Wayville Map Belair Golf Club
Sprint Relay Map Australia Day

Mapping workshop by Manu Jurado, West Parklands

Date: Sunday 4 February 2018

Participants: Ian Grivell, Max Grivell, Toby Cazzolato, Ben Cazzolato, David George, Abigail George, Jack Marschall, Manuel Jurado, Aylwin Lim, Adrian Uppill. The summary below is from Manu taken from a longer report on the mapping workshop he ran with the above participants. Each mapped a small area of the west parklands, and Manu prepared a longer report on the outcome on the mapping looking at each of the map symbol types.

Below is a summary by Manu on the importance of mapping, what makes a good mapper and how it can benefit the orienteer. Note ISOM is the mapping standard for bush maps, and ISSOM the standard for sprint maps. So when you see a map, all the symbols on every map are the same as they are mapped according to these standards.

Manu’s Summary:

ISOM and ISSOM are the “Bible” for mappers. It is important that we know and understand every different symbol, minimum sizes and some other purposes of cartography such as legibility and generalization. We all learn practicing and drawing maps, and on every new map I make I am still learning new things about ISOM.

On the other hand, very good mappers are very patient persons. It is very psychological work especially when you are 6-7 hours in the bush trying to represent the forest in 2D. I recommend not working more than 3-4h in the field, and always bring enough water and muesli bars, dates or any other sweets. I usually start mapping very easy features (tracks, paths, point features) as a warm up (the first 30’-1h), then start mapping complexfeature areas (rocks, vegetation, complex contours) in the middle and finally when I am very tired come back to very easy feature areas such as paths, open forest, urban areas, etc.

I am not only the one who says that mapping is very good mental training for orienteers, many other elite orienteers are also very good mappers. Best examples are some WOC medallist like Philippe Adamski (France), Oleksander Kratov (Ukraine) or Graham Gristwood (UK). Most of the mappers that are nowadays mapping for World Cups or World Champs were elite orienteers in the 80’s or 90’s.

In conclusion, I invite you to keep mapping, for local or regional events. Start mapping schools, then urban sprint maps and finally bush sprints and bush maps (Middle, Long distance). And keep always sharing your maps and discussions between the Orienteering community in SA. Especially organizing these kinds of workshops where you can discuss more with other orienteers. Hopefully in future you can organize another workshop, and this time in urban terrain (CBD or any other town around Adelaide ?) . Please, although I will be on the other side of the world, I am more than happy to help you with all related with mapping , ask me and I will answer (atoja92 at

I hope you all like the idea of the workshop. It was interesting to compare different maps and mapping styles. I know we had only 2 hours for mapping, so most of you could not finish the bounded area but for me it was enough in order to write some conclusions about your maps.

Then and now - Tjuringa Orienteers

A historical document
- resourced by Jan Hillyard -

Some of the older and possibly newer members of Orienteering South Australia may be interested in reading the history of Tjuringa Orienteers Inc. It is interesting to read that there was a walkers course on offer, now that would be an idea to resurrect for the members who now no longer run or those who do not want to run.

Tjuringa History Page

Tjuringa Orienteers Inc Annual Camp

Tjuringa Camp Group

Tjuringa Camp Group 2

Tjuringa Camp Group 3

Forty two Tjuringans and 5 blow-ins distinguished guests enjoyed the fine weather at Port Elliot to socialise, swim and orienteer. Thanks to Adrian Uppill and OHOC for use of maps, and Stefano Raus for setting the Friendship Relay (yes, all the way from overseas, thanks to computer technology).

We had a great time, notwithstanding long-gone fences, misplaced controls and late rain forcing the cancellation of Sunday's picnic lunch. Prior to the 2018 AGM, all the members gathered to have a photo taken proudly wearing the new running top of the club. A quiz night on the Saturday night coordinated by Aylwin Lim was enjoyed by the new and old members.

On the weekend starting Friday the 16th of March, the Tjuringa orienteering club met for their annual meeting at Port Elliot Caravan Park. They kicked off the start of the weekend with a friendship relay. Paul Hoopmann drew the short straw, scoring easily distracted team mates one looking for ice cream, the other running off to a Fringe show (cough cough Rebecca Campbell cough cough). After that the kids were free to roam. Most of us were mucking around on the bouncy pillow while the adults enjoyed a nice cup of coffee or a beer.

At the annual meeting we greeted all the new people to our club and applied for positions in the committee. Most people signed up for the same positions, while others tried something new. Finn Johnson and I were dobbing our mums and ourselves into random positions that we had no clue what they were for. After that everyone had some tea and went down to the camp kitchen for our quiz night. We also conducted some demonstrations on what to do with a snake bite, sprained ankle or broken bones. Later that night, a night course was run, Simon Gilbie was kind enough to lead those unfamiliar with night orienteering, otherwise we would’ve been lost. The next day most people went down for a nice refreshing swim before we started our last event. The waves were coming down hard and the Johnson’s, Morcom’s, Cazzolato’s and the Ochota’s couldn’t resist a dumping or two.

On the last day we attended the last event, orienteering at the Bluff in the warm, drizzling rain. There were three courses easy, moderate and hard. Most people took the hard course and ended up regretting it because it was hard and some of the kids beat their parents. When this event finished, the ” meeting” had come to an end and everyone said their goodbyes and went on with their journey back home after enjoying a fun weekend. Photos of the meet are on the Tjuringa website.

By Max Ochota

Reflections on the TJ camp, February 2018

Chris Franklin

I’ve been a member of Tj for 25 years, first joining when it was a vibrant family-based community thanks to the likes of the Hillyards, Davills, Merchants, Morcoms, Craigs, Lees, and Ekelbooms.

I have watched as Tj declined in membership numbers in recent years to the point of collapsing or at least needing to merge with another club. I see this as a result of 2 things. Firstly, the children of the families mentioned above have grown into adulthood and moved on with their lives and secondly the long serving older members of the club eg. Marc Turner, Jan & Rob Hillyard and Paul Hoopmann are no longer able or willing to commit to serving the club as members of the committee.

At the club camp last weekend at Pt Elliott it was a surprise and delight to see so many new faces and families with young children and some of these young ones even contributed to the business of the AGM. I believe the thanks for this must go to 2 people. Firstly, thanks to Aylwin Lim for his enthusiasm, creative ideas & willingness to put in the time to build the club membership and develop a supportive community. Also thanks to Ben Cazzolato for using his family’s connection with Goodwood PS to build our club numbers.

A group of families with the common interest of encouraging their young ones to compete in the sport of orienteering and enjoy the social activities it offers may return the club to what it once was.

This doesn’t mean things will be done the way they have been in the past & there will always be differences of opinions on the best way to operate. However, if there is progress rather than decline, I see this as a positive outcome.

On a final note, the sport depends on club members volunteering for a variety of roles hopefully associated with their interests and skill level and not because they were pressured. While it is important to encourage new members to take on these roles it is worth remembering that, unlike a few of the deeply committed orienteers, most families have a life outside of “O” and it may not be easy for a club to fill all the positions and satisfy the many requirements of OSA and OA.

Boxing Day entertainment

coordinated by Jenny Casanova

Jenny’s hand drawn map was used to entertain her guests over the xmas holiday break. Eleanor Casanova, who has just turned 3, enjoyed running around the garden, she's so sweet!

Fern & Tyson and Liz & Ryan and their families came around too, all the kids enjoyed the orienteering.

I was so proud of my home-made map.

Jenny's Map

Eleaor Casanova

Going on a holiday, want to earn some money to pay your way?

Can you help? TEO has a backlog of permanent courses which need building. The areas have been mapped, but the checkpoint locations still need to be selected. TEO will pay $300 per course of twenty checkpoints set in any of the areas listed below: Howard Springs Pine Forest Howard Springs Nature Park and Scout camp Fred’s Pass Katherine Sports Ground Batchelor Township To find out more, please talk to a TEO committee member. Setting will be easier if you have at least a Moderate course standard of navigation. TEO is also looking for someone to make a map of Humpty Doo Primary School for $300. Base maps will be provided by TEO. Most of the mapping can be done from Google Earth, but a field check visit will be needed to confirm the armchair mapping. If you are familiar with OCAD mapping software, estimated time required is 4 hours on the computer and 2 hours on the ground.

If you are heading north for a while and are interested, please contact the mapping coordinator, Lachlan Hallett, email topendorienteersNT at and he will give you an update on what mapping is still required. Some of the jobs have been completed/allocated now but we are looking for anyone interested in mapping the Territory Wildlife Park, which would be a great place for orienteering.

Thanks to the Bearing North (Top End Orienteering) editor, Teresa Laird for allowing me to publish her articles.

2018 Australian Schools invitational team camp

Every year, over a hundred junior orienteers from all over Australia and NZ are selected to officially represent their States and NZ at the National Australian School Championships Carnival. They get to spend an incredible 10 days together; sharing accommodation and meals, participating in social and professional development activities, and make life-long friends in the process.

2017 SA State School Team

The 2017 South Australian State Team

As our sport grows, the number of talented and enthusiastic orienteers who miss out on selection to the Official State Teams gets larger each year.

So that they do not miss out on all the fun, we will be organising a special Schools Invitational Camp during the Nationals this year. It will be held at the Adelaide Shores Caravan Park, 1km from where the Official Teams are staying. It will run for 7 days, from 1/10 to 7/10. There will be no Camp during the long weekend in Renmark.

Adelaide Shores
Adelaide Shores Caravan Site

The Camp will be open to all students aged from 9 to 18 who have not made the SA State Team. Because it is not part of the Official Carnival program, parents will be required to stay at the Caravan Park to help and to supervise the children, and to provide transport to the daily Carnival events, where they will compete as members of the Invitational Team.

After the day's events, the Camp participants will have a chance to relax and socialise. There will be talks and activities at night after a shared evening meal. Photos from last year's Camp below:

School Team Camp
School Team Camp

School Team Camp
School Team Camp

School Team Camp

We have booked accommodation for approx. 45 juniors, plus adult administrators. However, there is no limit on numbers. Extra juniors are welcome to participate in the Camp program, subject to accommodation availability at the Caravan Park.

If you are interested in participating, let me know. If you have a child who is not interested in being in the Official State Team, or unlikely to get selected, you may reserve a place for them NOW. Others may have to wait until after the Team selections are announced in July or August.

Parents, friends and family members will have to book their own accommodation with the Adelaide Shores Caravan Park. If you know you will be staying there, there is no reason why you shouldn't book NOW, as places are likely to fill up due to the SA school holidays.

For more information, contact Aylwin Lim 0438 322 761 or ayllim at

Tjuringa Logo

Bundy Forest East

Sunday 15 April
Another Tjuringa Orienteers Event

  • 10km from Gumeracha.
  • Beautiful open pine forests and native bush, mostly good running (white).
  • Rarely used section of Mt Crawford Forest.
  • Updated map.
  • Come practice for the National Championships. Most of the rest of Mt Crawford is now embargoed, access is forbidden.
Bundy photo 1
Bundy photo 2

Bundy photo 3
Bundy photo 4

You KNOW it's going to be GOOD, so keep the date free!

Course Planner: Lewis Carter

Organiser and Controller: Aylwin Lim

2018 - A big orienteering year in SA

The Sunday event program commences in late March, with the following highlights:

  • Urban series to further introduce orienteering to newcomers in May.
  • Three events near Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges on the June long weekend.
  • In August the State Long Championships and the SA Night Championships on the areas northeast of Burra used for the 2015 Australian Three Days.

The main program ends with the 2018 Australian Championships and Australian Schools Championships.

The full program is listed here.

Need to plan ahead?

The June long weekend in the Flinders Rangers is something to look forward to.

Sat, 9 JunRawnsleySA
Event Time:Afternoon 
Location:Flinders Ranges, 40km north east of Hawker 
Enquiries:Bridget Anderson 0432 511 836 
Sun, 10 JunManawarraOH
Description:Orienteer of the Year Event #3 
Location:Flinders Ranges, 40km north east of Hawker 
Enquiries:Craig Colwell 8339 8457 or cuculain at 
Mon, 11 JunManawarraWA
Description:Orienteer of the Year Event #4 Miiddle Distance Event 
Location:Flinders Ranges, 40km north east of Hawker 
Enquiries:Peter Kreminski 8379 1354 or 0414 810 058 

Old OSA Logo

Bush Series information and fees for 2018

The standard series of events, comprising primarily of bush events with some metro events. Events include:

State Championships:In each of Sprint, Middle, Long, Night and Relay
Orienteer of the Year (OY) Events:In these events participants earn points toward the Orienteer of the Year Award in their age category
City to Bush Events:These events are held in the Adelaide metropolitan area utilising both park/street and bushland areas
Metro Events:Park/Street events in the Adelaide area

Courses:Classic Bush Events: Standard cross country bush courses from very easy to hard navigation, generally with full SPORTident timing
City to Bush and Metro Events: Short to medium courses (1.5 – 4 km) of easy to moderate difficulty, unless otherwise indicated
Start Times:10:00am to 12:00pm unless otherwise indicated
Course closure at 1.30 pm unless otherwise indicated
Directions:Event locations listed in the following section are of a general nature. Here you will find more detailed directions closer to the event date
Pre Entry:Pre Entry for most events is available via the Eventor entry system.
See here for details.
Note: Pre Entry is required for all championship classes at Championship and Long Distance OY Events, and at these events only limited enter on the day courses will be available.

Entry Fees:Sub
(≥ 21)
City to Bush,


  1. Any senior on Easy and Very Easy courses pays the Junior fee
  2. Entry Fees for Long Distance OY and Championship Events may differ and will be specified in the event information/entry form
  3. Entry Fees include all land access fees that may apply such as ForestrySA Levies or entry fees to national parks

The first few events for the year:

Sun, 25 MarMack CreekTT
Description:Orienteer of the Year Event #2 
Location:South of Para Wirra Recreation Park, 10km north east of One Tree Hill 
Enquiries:Fi Pahor 8232 0652 
Sun, 15 AprMt Crawford Forest: Bundy ForestTJ
Location:Mt Crawford Forest, between Williamstown and Forreston,
10km north east of Gumeracha
Enquiries:Aylwin Lim 0438 322 761
Sun, 29 AprBlack HillTT
Enquiries:Fi Pahor 8232 0652 
Sun, 6 MayHeathfieldOH
Enquiries:Craig Colwell 8339 8457 or cuculain at 
Sat, 12 MayStonyfellWA
Event Time:1:30pm to 3:00pm 
Enquiries:Peter Kreminski 8379 1354 or 0414 810 058 
Sun, 20 MayShepherds HillTJ
Description:Combined Foot and MTBO Event 
Enquiries:Aylwin Lim 0438 322 761 

The National Easter Carnival is coming to WA in 2019

Although this seems a long way off, preparations have already begun and now’s the time to block out your calendars so you can come along to participate in the events, and also spread the word to encourage friends from interstate to come too. All events that are open to everyone to enter – not just the most experienced orienteers. There will be courses for all ages and abilities. It’s a great opportunity to take part in a National Event without having to fly anywhere.

When is it?

Easter weekend for the Prologue and Australian 3-Days is 19-22 April 2019. The Prologue is planned for Scotch College, and the other 3 days will be in the Helena Valley. For the second weekend – 26-27 April 2019 – we will be holding the Australian Sprint and Middle Distance Championships in Narrogin, a totally new area for orienteers to explore.

What’s the logo?

Thanks to Noel Schoknecht and Damien West for their work on the logo for the carnival. The little creature is a woylie, or brush-tailed bettong, which is an extremely rare small marsupial. Although woylies once inhabited much of southern Australia, they are now critically endangered and Dryandra Woodland, close to Narrogin, is one of the three areas left where woylies can be found in the wild. Here you will find more information on the woylie.

Please consider supporting the Australian Wildlife Conservancy in the protection of this and other threatened native animals.

Contact Details Website
Email: owaeaster2019 at
Facebook: @OWAEaster2019

Emma Plummer
Carnival Director

Aus Easter Carnival 2019 Logo - WA

No mistakes!

Max F tracing route

Max F, a new Tjuringa member marking up his course on the Tatachilla map, after running his first course alone.

Close up of what he wrote

He proudly writes “I was the only one in the family that didn’t get disqualified”.

Ageing, an inescapable drag on performance…

… and thoughts from recent experience (and the internet) on how to combat it.

Frank Burden

After a break from running of over 25 years, my attempt to restart just over two years ago turned out to be a bigger challenge than expected. Last year, I managed to overcome one challenge, Achilles tendinitis, which, until a few years ago, was a rarely curable scourge of older runners. I thought it might be useful to write how I did it, and about a few other things I've learned over the past two years so that others (hopefully) might benefit.

While returning to running is still a work in progress, I've learned more about getting fit (courtesy of my GP, surgeon, physiotherapist, Michael Mosely (SBS), Norman Swan (ABC RN), and, of course, the internet) over the past two years than during 30 or so years running before the break.

Firstly, did you know that on average human muscle mass reaches a peak in the mid-20s and from about the age of 40 reduces naturally at an average of about 10% per decade. Exacerbating this loss are injuries and sedentary lifestyles. Muscle loss can start after just four hours of inactivity, and if muscles are immobilised (e.g. a leg in a splint) can be at 1 – 3% per day!

The inevitable decline in performance arising from muscle loss, measured by relative running speed, was illustrated in an article in the March 2017 The Australian Orienteer. The article displayed World Masters 5km records for men and women relative to the world record for both genders. It showed that speed reduces at about 10% per decade commencing in the mid to late 30s.

Other age-related factors impact on performance. Susceptibility to injuries increases beyond age 40, with an associated reduction in recovery times, and there is a natural decline in such things as bone density, flexibility, balance, eyesight and mental skills. Combined, these things make it impossible for runners to completely overcome the effects of age, but they can be slowed down.

On the positive side, runners are reported to have a life expectancy three years longer than average and a biological age (measured by length of chromosomes) as much as ten years younger than average. Presumably, healthier lifestyles followed by most runners help here.

Additional benefits of running include a healthier cardio-vascular system and partial offset of age-induced muscle loss. Runners, generally, are reported to have healthier bones and joints, and, surprisingly, healthier and stronger backs. Some scientists suspect that running stimulates new cell growth in brains, and recent research indicates that exercise delays or can prevent the onset of dementia.

Restarting running after a break of over 25 years made me realise just how much age affects fitness. In the 30 or so years prior to the break, I could run and recommence running with relative ease, even after prolonged periods of inactivity caused by work commitments. This is certainly not the case now.

I stopped running in my early 40s when I experienced Achilles tendinitis in both legs when trying to get fit for a Corporate Cup season. When running, the condition causes a piercing pain like red hot pokers being pushed into the tendon about five cm above the heel. Apparently it mainly affects older male runners. The condition arises when micro-tears in the tendon initiate a repair response that is inefficient. If running continues, rather than repairing the injury more damage is done, pain increases, and scar tissue forms.

At the time of my injury in the early 1990s, the medical advice was to stop running, restart running slowly after a break of about six months, and then hope for the best. The best didn't happen and the only alternative was surgery, which I was warned didn't have a high success rate. I declined the offer of surgery.

Since then, medical knowledge of tendons has improved and a successful cure has been developed.

A fractured patella four years ago re-awoke a dream of mine to return to running but I was unable to restart until metal work holding the patella together was removed just over two years ago. I could then run and orienteer relatively pain free, but age-related challenges started to appear. About six weeks after recommencing running and orienteering, Achilles tendinitis returned in both legs. Neither heel wedges nor strapping helped.

Online, I came across an article written by Håkan Alfredson, who is a Swedish specialist in tendon injuries, a runner, and also an Achilles tendinitis sufferer. He described an exercise called eccentric painful heel drops. His story is that he tried to cause his tendons to fail while doing the exercise so that he had a reason to request an operation to cure his problem. His extreme use of the exercise had the opposite effect and resulted in his tendinitis being cured.

The exercise involves rising on tip toes using both feet and then slowly lowering the heel using the calf muscles of just one leg. The exercise is done with leg straight and bent so that both calf muscle groups are exercised. Weights are added (e.g. to a ruck sack) as the treatment progresses. The process is painful and causes the site of the tendon injury to be re-damaged and remodelled over time. Typical recovery times are reported to be of the order of three months. In my case it took over six months before I could run pain free, probably because I impatiently tried to speed up the repair by increasing weights too quickly …. and because I continued to do occasional weekend orienteering during the treatment, which sufferers are advised not to do.

The next problem was how to improve running fitness, but without running! During the treatment period, Achilles tendon pains returned after running about one km during orienteering events and would then take about four days to go before I could walk again without limping. My solution was to buy (through Gumtree) an elliptical trainer. These stand-up trainers have a cycling action and are low impact so do not stress the Achilles tendons too much. They also provide selectable and graduated workouts to help improve muscle and cardio-vascular fitness. This worked to a point, but I discovered that by far the most effective way to become fit for running was to run!

Subsequently, I transitioned to a treadmill that has selectable firmness through an adjustable cushioning system. I use the softest setting, which is like running on springy grass. This was important because I found that road running caused pulled or strained muscles too frequently, and certainly far more frequently than my younger days. To date, I've been using the treadmill for about three months and have had no muscle pulls or strains, whereas road running caused a pull or strain about every three weeks!

After a week, the novelty of exercising relatively pain free on the elliptical trainer passed and boredom set in. Again, the internet was the source of my next solution. I discovered an enormous source of orienteering videos (and documentaries) on YouTube. Because of the way I'd set up the trainer, I had to download individual videos and transfer them via memory stick to a resurrected laptop with an attached monitor that was mounted in front of the trainer.

One download method that continues to remain effective is the Video DownloadHelper plugin used with the Mozilla Firefox browser. The plugin also works with SBS On Demand and presumably other online TV channels. When selecting a video for download, a file format and resolution is chosen which needs to be compatible with the playback PC and monitor. I select MP4 format and HD720 resolution wherever possible. A lower resolution of 360 lines still works but the video is slightly blurry.

Examples of downloadable YouTube orienteering videos include headcam recordings of competitions with superimposed maps that enable progress to be followed. Live commentaries in English of major events are also available. These include world orienteering championships (sprint and forest, including relays) that follow live progress of individuals and teams with GPS tracks superimposed on maps, radio and TV updates at checkpoints around the course, the use of hand-carried cameras following competitors, and post-competition interviews with competitors. Since about 2015, a vast trove of high quality orienteering-related videos has appeared on YouTube.

The following screen captures of videos were taken from Youtube.

Maja Alm Sprint 2017 WOC

Maja Alm (right, Denmark) on her way to become women's WOC 2017 sprint champion.

Start Jukola Relay 2015

Teams lined up at the start of the Jukola relay.

Ivan Sirakov - Head Cam

A typical head cam image (Ivan Sirakov, Bulgaria).

Sprint headcam videos take you through ancient and modern towns and cities all around the world. These include the ancient Greek city of Paestum in Italy and the Karnak temple complex in Egypt. The longest videos I've found are of the Finnish Venla (female) and Jukola (mainly male) orienteering relays of 2015. Although the videos are, respectively, just over seven and nearly nine hours long, the Video DownloadHelper plugin speeds up the download process considerably. The relays comprised 1305 starting teams over four daytime legs (Venla) and 1787 starting teams over seven night/day legs (Jukola).

2018 Master Games

Alice Spring 2018 Masters logo

Orienteering will once again be in the 2018 Alice Springs Masters Games from October 13-20th 2018. This will enable people to have a few days rest after the Australian Championships carnival in SA and head up to experience outback orienteering. There will be three foot orienteering events and one mtbo event.

Masters Games

New look OSA website

Have you been online yet to navigate the new OSA website? Some articles you may be interested in .....

  • The latest online edition of the Australian Orienteer is now available.
  • Information about all events is now on Eventor. To see this click on the event to the right. If it is a country club event Eventor will give you a link to their website when online.
  • Upcoming Training Activities - details and locations on the General Coaching & Training page
  • Our permanent orienteering courses can now be found in About Orienteering -> DIY Orienteering


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