MWOC Local Event Planning and Organising



These notes have been written to HELP newcomers and as a reminder to old hands.  The notes are for guidance and can be varied to suit conditions.

• Agree with Programme Co-ordinator (Robert) to plan an event, preferably locally to where you live to minimise travelling.
• Agree when the event will be held.  There are sometimes restrictions on permissions and also unsuitable times of year, such as exposed mountains or where undergrowth is high.
• If you are completely new to these roles, accept the offer of a Mentor (or even ask for one).
• If in doubt ASK.  There are many Orienteers within the club who are only too willing to offer assistance. Robert is a BOF Controller and also knows a lot about mapping and map changes, Terry Smith and Gabriella are also BOF Controllers, Terry is also the mapping officer.  Bill and Steve know about Sport Ident timing (Si).  Many others are well experienced and can offer help


• For 2011 the local events will normally contain the following courses:

Course Technical Difficulty Minimum Length (km) Maximum Length (km) Optimum winning time (mins)
Blue 5 5.5 7.5 60
Light Green 4 3.0 4.0 45
Orange 3 2.5 3.5 30
Yellow 2 2.0 2.9 20

• Remember to reduce length by 1km for every 100m of climb
• Try to keep climb to less than 5% of total length. This is often not easy in Mid Wales terrain.
• Parkland, such as Gregynog, is the fastest running terrain.
• Forest, such as Nash Woods, is usually the slowest running terrain.
• Remember that rough open mountainside, such as Pumlumon, can be tough and slow.
• If in doubt, make the courses a little on the short side; there are no M21 elite runners in POW!

• This is not intended to be a planning course-training manual, but to give hints to help easily plan good courses.
• There are various courses available via WOA or BOF to assist.
• If possible visit the area in the previous similar season for similar vegetation. 
• Otherwise 3 or 4 months in advance, but remember that the vegetation can change rapidly before the event – New growth in Spring and leaf fall in Autumn etc.
• Planning should commence with familiarisation with the area.  Get a copy of OCAD8 and the blank master map from Terry. 
• Have a walk round just to get the feel of the features.  Note entrance, car parking, possible assembly area, registration, start and finish.
• Remember that the hardest course to plan is usually the yellow/short course.  The start (and finish) is often fixed by the yellow course limitations.
• Use blank copies of the map to “armchair” plan possible courses. This saves a lot of time out on the area.
• Find out the control numbers to be used.
• Mark potential control sites in the area.  Use brightly coloured tape, tied to vegetation or a small cane stuck into the ground.  Number each site (using the numbers of the Si units if known)
• When planning the routes, think of the competitors.  The competitors should navigate to a feature and only then see the control. 
• Is the feature easily accessible and visible? 
• Is it dangerous? High cliff or very steep hillside? 
• Are all controls visible when standing nearby? Can the juniors or small competitors able to see the features and controls?
• Is there a sensible route from one control to the next?   Are competitors liable or forced to battle through brambles?
• Complete the planning and re-allocate the numbers when controls are changed. 
• Remove unused site markers.
• If you find significant changes are needed to the map then ask an experienced OCAD user to do this for you.  Inform Mapping Officer (Terry) of the changes.
• Using the course planner put all courses onto an OCAD file.
• Having planned courses, set-up control descriptions on spreadsheets/word/or OCAD for each course + decide how many sheets to print off; cut these up into batches for each course – use a paper clip to keep each course separate from each other. Most entrants prefer to have a separate copy as well.
• The control descriptions can also be printed on the map (as a back-up). This can be printed on the back of the map or on the front.  If it is on the front then it can obscure the key provided that any non-IOF features are still visible.    
• Remember that the yellow course descriptions should be text, orange preferably choice of text or symbols, light green and blue to be symbols only.
• Collect the controls kites, numbers and punches from the previous event together with the clock, first aid kit, sundry bits and bobs, Si units, dibbers and kit.
• Get some string for the results washing line. This should be in the bits and bobs.
• ENSURE THAT ENOUGH VOLUNTEERS ARE RECRUITED and that they know what they are expected to do – car parking, first aid cover, registration, dibber hire, coach(es), start, finish and control collection. Free runs are given to authorised assistants most members will help if asked.

• Send the OCAD map files with courses to Terry via email for printing.
• Complete a RISK ASSESSMENT for the event (form on British Orienteering website).  This needs to be ‘signed off’ by a suitable person. (Qualified Coach or Controller?)
• Send Robert the event details to be put on the web site, i.e. Location, directions, facilities (toilets), assistance and coaching, terrain, distance and climb of each course, start time and closing time.
• Send Bill (for east) or Steve (for west) a copy of the courses as a file exported from OCAD8
• Plan car parking for competitors
• Plan layout of assembly area; position of helpers’ cars, tents, toilets (if provided) etc.
• Print out a few copies of map showing all controls.  Use for putting out and collecting controls.

• Decide what controls you can put out beforehand (any controls hidden “off-track” should be safe from vandals) and plan your routes.
• Do NOT put out controls that are highly visible from tracks and well-used paths etc. UNTIL the Morning of the event. Si controls are expensive and replacements cost £119 plus carriage!
• A hammer + screwdriver/metal pin can be useful to make holes in very hard ground.
• Remember, it can take a considerable time to put out controls.  Use a bag or rucksack to carry controls, kites and stakes. The control unit can come off the holder on the stake, so carry separately or be very careful.

• Get a “float” ready for on-the-day – not everyone will give you the exact amount) i.e. have plenty of £1.00 coins + a couple of £5.00 notes ready in your float!  In our experience, several may give you a £10.000 note to change!! Also, make a note beforehand of how much is in your float so that at the end of the event you can give the “takings” to the Treasurer (Robert).  He should ask you if you have any expenses.  These could be for mileage when planning the event or sundry items.  (27p per mile Feb 2019)
• If possible get someone to help you put out the visible Controls (mostly on easier courses), give them a map of the controls you want them to put out (have the route/order planned). Put the correct number of Si units, stakes and kites in a bag.
• Build in time on day to put out directions to the event + putting out of remaining controls on “paths” etc.
• Set up the assembly area – car boot or table in a tent for registration and download together with any notices and literature.
• Have an assistant to do registration and take entry fees.
• Ensure that there are coaches or others (wearing ‘ask me’ T shirts) on hand to assist newcomers.
• It’s a long morning so have some food/hot drinks and waterproof/warm clothing.
• When entrants download, note their time on the registration form and give them the time print-out
• Plan collection of controls afterwards (i.e. have a map (s) with all control locations and numbers shown, that you can ask people to collect – if a person is collecting several, then give them a bag to collect them in).
• Give the download to Bill or Steve before they leave so they can upload on to website and update league tables.
• At the end, check site clearance, litter collected; collect direction signs on way home and remember to give all to the next planner.

And lastly THANK YOU for fulfilling the essential task of planning/organising an event.

Mid Wales Orienteers (MWOC) are reliant upon volunteers such as yourself to undertake these tasks and very much appreciate your help. We look forward to your event!

14th Jan 11  by Terry Smith