Foot orienteering is an endurance sport which involves a huge mental element. There is no marked route – the orienteer must navigate with map and compass while running.

The map gives detailed information on the terrain such as hills, ground surface, obstacles etc. To be successful in foot orienteering, the athlete needs excellent map reading skills, absolute concentration and the ability to make quick decisions on the best route while running at high speed.

Orienteers run over rough ground, completely unprepared forest terrain or rough open hills – cross country in the true sense of the word. Therefore, considerable body strength and agility is needed. Fitness similar to that of a 3000m steeplechase or marathon runner is required.

There is a wide variety of orienteering events: individual competitions and relays, ultra-short park races and mountain marathon events. Night orienteering with the aid of a head lamp is also a popular form of orienteering.

Every year, the best foot orienteers in the world fight for the World Champion titles and the World Cup victory.

Foot orienteering became a recognised Olympic sport in 1977.


RACING SUIT: A lightweight, stretchy suit protects from undergrowth whilst allowing maximum freedom of movement even if it gets soaking wet.

SHOES: Light, strong shoes with non-slip soles allow sure grip on all types of ground – including mud and bare rock.

MAP: The map provided by the organiser shows the course with the control points which must be visited. The map is designed to give detailed information on the terrain – hills, ground surface, and features such as boulders or cliffs.

COMPASS: There is a wide variety of sophisticated compasses to choose from. Basically they can be divided into two main categories: base plate and thumb compasses.

CONTROL CARD: To prove that they have visited all control points in the right order, the orienteers have to punch their control card at each control using an electronic device.

Robertson and Alexandersson lead the World Cup after Borås

Tim Robertson (NZL) and Tove Alexandersson (SWE) can start the final preparations for the World Orienteering Championships in Denmark in four weeks with lots of confidence. Their results from this weekend in Sweden have ...

Sweden took clear Sprint Relay win in Borås

Sweden took a superior win in the World Cup Sprint Relay on Sunday afternoon, as centre Borås welcomed the orienteering world elite for second day in a row. The sun was shining as the 57 teams was sent off into the stree...

Alexandersson and Kyburz win thrilling Knock-Out Sprint

The World Cup Knock-Out Sprint in Borås, Sweden ended up with two nail-biting finals and victories to Tove Alexandersson (SWE) and Matthias Kyburz (SUI). After the qualification race in the morning, the competition moved...