Zagreb Blog

World Orienteering Day 2018 to be Celebrated in Zagreb

By 22 May 2018

Want to run 'round a park in Zagreb with a map and a compass?

World Orienteering Day is actually a week of activities taking place worldwide, aimed at promoting the orienteering sport with the general public. Over 1500 locations in more than 70 countries worldwide will see events between May 23rd and May 29th, with the stated goal of "Increasing the visibility and accessibility of orienteering to young people, increasing the number of participants both in the schools’ activities, as well and in the clubs’ activities in all countries of National Federations, helping teachers to implement orienteering in a fun and educational way and to get more new countries to take part in orienteering." (taken from the website)

In Croatia, there will be several locations where World Orienteering Day events will take place, and in Zagreb Orienteering club OK Vihor took to organizing 4 events. Three of those will be around schools, and organized just for the students from those schools "Ivan Goran Kovačić" elementary school in Šalata, Voltino elementary school and Surveying high-school in Sopot, in Novi Zagreb. The fourth, biggest event will take place this Wednesday, May 23th, at the Ruđer Bošković Tehnical School in Pešćenica, where a race for the citizens will also be organized.

So, if you like orienteering, or would just like to see why those people choose to run around in the woods in their free time, you're welcome to join the race (online registration has been closed, but the organizers have allowed for people to sign up for the race right before the start as well, with the number of maps being the limiting factor) on Wednesday. The participants will be allowed to start in the time period between 4pm and 6pm (without the staring list, so you will be given your starting time by the race officials on the spot), the track length is between 2 and 3 kilometres. The organisers say that it's a sprint race, and the participants are expected to finish it in 15ish minutes – but don't worry if you don't feel capable of that, no matter how slow you are or how lost you get during the race, there's always gonna be someone even slower than you. And it's probably going to be the author of this article, as I must stop and snuggle each and every dog I come across in a race, and this one will be held in a park, so there will be dogs!

Orienteering is an outdoor (mostly) sport, actually a family of sports or sub-disciplines, characterized by running from course start to finish and visiting along the route a number of control points in a predetermined order, with the help of a map and compass. In order to choose the best possible route, orienteers look at the characteristics of the terrain, and the winner is determined by the fastest time in completing the course. What is unique to orienteering is that an orienteer must navigate and make quick decisions while running at the highest speed they can possibly muster at that specific point during the race. The sport originated in Scandinavia, where it's still the most popular, with 75000 members in over 600 orienteering clubs. In Croatia the numbers are more modest, as there are around a dozen of clubs, and around 200 people show up for the races that are included in the Croatian cup. The greatest international successes for Croatian competitors have been achieved in trail orienteering discipline, where there's less running and more orienteering, as several Croatian competitors managed to get medals in European and World championships, and Team Croatia became world champions in trail orienteering in 2014 in Italy. At this year's European championship in trail orienteering, young Iva Lovrec came in eighth, showing that new generations of excellent orienteers in Croatia are also created.