First weekend in August brought with it an orienteering event we had signed up for in April and was then postponed to the start of August. Needless to say, with my ankle in the condition it was, I wasn’t running this one. I was tempted to sit it out completely, but I was walking comfortably so decided to see if it would be ok to transfer my entry to the shortest/easiest course and then try and convince our girls that it would be great fun.
Another gorgeous winter morning greeted us on arrival at the oval and I easily transferred my entry across to the “Very Easy” course. The girls were surprisingly agreeable, and even excited, to go orienteering with mummy – especially since they would be allowed to carry the “beeping stick”.
We set off 10 minutes before the main events would begin (they were a mass start at 10am) and, with the girls in fancy dress, Doc McStuffins ran for the first control. I kept up a steady walk behind and in short time we had the first control in hand. There was some bushwalking coming up and we were already warm, so we dropped jackets off at the car before nabbing the second control in the middle of a bridge.
Doc McStuffins and Super Girl enthusiastically headed up the stairs in the trail, not realising at this point that we hadn’t stopped for the promised blueberries and cookies at any of the controls. Super Girl had the beeping stick for the next one and had to do a bit of a stretch to reach it – success! Time for some fruit and cookies after this one.
Doc McStuffins turn again, and after studying the map and discussing where we should find the next one, she ran ahead, proudly letting us know when it was found.
Back into some very overgrow bush trail for the next section. About half way down the hill we could hear other runners approaching. Luckily we came across a small clearing at the same time and stood off to one side while they all came past. Just as they finished we heard something crashing through the bush towards us. Curious as to what it might be – dog? oversize rabbit? – we waited until a wallaby burst out of the bushes and sped by only a couple of metres from us!
On down the overgrown trail, needing to watch very carefully where we were stepping, we found the next control before Super Girl took over again and led the way again. The trail was quite indistinct at this point, but well marked with pink tape and the occasional obstacle to get past on our way back to the bridge.
Back across the bridge and we studied the map again to see which way to go next. Doc McStuffins set off at a run and made good time to the next control where we needed another break and more snacks. Only two more controls to go now.
Heading back towards the start/finish area we found the final two controls, then I sent them both off at a run towards the finish line. Off they ran, and ran, and ran. They were greeted by three enthusiastic organisers from the event who cheered the girls towards the finish, made sure they made the final beep and encouraged them to head towards the table to record their results while I caught up.
We then hung around the finish area, playing on the swings, having some more to eat and Doc McStuffins running around like crazy while Super Girl had a rest on the grass, waiting for daddy to finish his event. All up, we probably covered just shy of 2km in around half an hour – a good distance for their age.
This is definitely the most enthusiastic and focused our girls have been while getting them involved in orienteering to date. Super Girl is still a bit young for the map to mean anything, but she enjoys beeping the stick at the control flags. Doc McStuffins was more interested in the map than I have seen before, and even picked the right direction to go a couple of times. As an added bonus, both girls wanted to take the map and printouts of some of the photos in to childcare this week as their “news” day item.