Pt. Pinole

Sprint Champs

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2002

Contact: Steve Gregg, 510-531-6697

After a LONG dry spell with no orienteering, we return to Pt. Pinole for the annual BAOC Sprint Championships. There are also White, Yellow, and Orange courses for beginners and recreational orienteers. Except for a few final tweaks, all the courses are finalized and most are streamered. If you can't attend but would like to run the courses ahead of time and vet locations, please let me know and I'll send you a map.

The terrain at Point Pinole is extremely fast, mostly open, and the navigation rarely ventures beyond Orange-level difficulty. Thus, the Sprint event will be designed to test your ability to run hard between controls with minimal hesitation and to get in and out of the controls quickly. Electronic punching will be used on the Sprint Champs courses.

We have had a long history of wet weather the weekend of this event. In fact, I plan to set exactly the same White and Yellow courses that I have for the past two years, since fewer than 10 people have run on these courses in the last two years combined. The Sprint courses will be brand-new, though, and although I'm hoping for pleasant weather this year, plan to get out of bed and run no matter what the weather forecast says! This particular event format is much more fun for everyone if a lot of people attend.

I will start to recruit helpers for the event fairly soon. Robert Lewis and Jeff Lanam will be heading up the E-punch crew, but of course they can always use help. We also have the usual needs for starts, finishes, and control pickup (a very easy task at Point Pinole, relatively speaking!). Please let me know if you would like to volunteer to help! If you have been a "regular" on my Pt. Pinole help crew in the past, expect a personal e-mail or phone call in the near future.

Course Notes

At the World Orienteering Championships in Finland this summer, a championship Sprint Distance event was held for the first time. It was a course of about 2.5 km with controls of Yellow/Orange technical difficulty, and was designed to be completed by the elite runners in under 15 minutes.

So this year I have set somewhat similar courses for the BAOC Sprint Champs, except that I am using a "Prologue and Chase" format. Both courses are around 3.5 km, so it's more of a true "sprint" event than it has been in previous years.

For those new to this, the Prologue course has first-come, first-served starting times just like a regular event. However, if you wish to participate in the Chase that follows, you need to be sure you arrive early enough to finish your first run by 11:30 or so, since your starting time for the Chase will be 12:00, plus the amount of time it took you to complete the Prologue. The winners of the event will be the first people to cross the finish line at the end of the Chase.

I have test-run the Prologue and Chase courses a couple of times. Since people always want to know my times to establish a par time for themselves, here they are, along with the rest of the course stats:

         Controls   Distance    Climb    Test Run
White       12       3.6 km      55 m 
Yellow      10       3.8 km      50 m 
Orange      12       4.8 km      70 m 
Prologue     9       3.2 km      45 m    17 minutes 0 seconds
Chase       10       3.7 km      60 m    20 minutes 30 seconds 
The Prologue and Chase courses are slightly longer than previously advertised, since I attempted to create some nontrivial route-choice problems and this necessitated a couple of long legs. But as you can see, the courses are still lightning fast! My times are a little over 5 min/km, and if the weather holds up and leaves the terrain dry, I expect the winning times to be under 5 min/km at the event itself.


To get to Point Pinole, take the Richmond Parkway exit off Interstate 80 in Richmond and go west about 1.2 miles to the stoplight at San Pablo Avenue. Keep going straight past the light and make the next right turn onto Atlas Road. After about 3/4 mile on Atlas you will reach a stop sign, where you will turn left onto Giant Highway. The park entrance is immediately after the detention center on the right in about another half-mile. Park in the lot and walk over the railroad tracks to the staging area in the meadow.