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Joaquin Miller Park

Date: (Sun.) Aug. 6, 2006
Location: Oakland, CA
Event Director: - 510.681.6181
Course Setters: Rex Winterbottom, Joe Scarborough
Type: C; White, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Green, and USOF Sprint courses

Course Setter's Notes

By Rex Winterbottom and Joe Scarborough


This park almost has it all. Enjoy a hodgepodge of fine, undulating redwood forest, artificially landscaped parklands, trails, roads, monuments, mixed forest, and a few meadows. Climbs have been minimized, although all courses encounter some steep terrain. We don't have the full seven courses, but we do have a Sprint — so if you normally run Red or Blue, then consider running the Sprint first followed by the Green or the Brown course.

The Sprint is a U.S. team fundraiser on a 1:5000 map (other courses are 1:10000) set by Joe Scarborough. Joe made many map revisions in the area used for the Sprint, and he added some features not on the map before to make it interesting for the "old-timers" who've run on this map often since 1978. Sprint runners earn points for Peter Gagarin's "USOF Sprint Series."

We will have short beginner's clinics starting at 9:45 AM.

Potluck picnicing is encouraged at the spot we have reserved in the meadow. Bring food and drink to share, BAOC will supply napkins, plates, cups, utensils, etc.

Two Start Areas!

Not the ideal, but a reality for this event unfortunately! My hope is that advanced runners can come down to picnic with the beginners and newcomers after they run. The Advanced start, finish, and e-Punch download is separate from the main congregating area, and some of you may wish to drive there rather than hike it from the meadow. It's at the Redwood Grove picnic site. Drive up Joaquin Miller Road, turn left onto Skyline, after you pass the entrance to Roberts Park, then park in the dirt on the left side of the road. If you reach the entrance to Chabot Space and Science Center, turn back, you've gone too far. There's a road going into the park from the dirt parking area, and off of it to the left is the picnic site. If you prefer to hike it or make it your "warm up," then take the Big Trees trail all the way up. We'll have a map at the registration area to show you what both options look like.

If you're preregistered and only want to do advanced courses, you can go straight up to the start, but you're encouraged to drop off your picnic stuff at the registration area first if you're bringing some of that.

Course Statistics

 Course  Controls  Length   Climb   Technical Difficulty  Physical Difficulty
 White       8     1.5 km    60 m   Beginners             Easy
 Yellow      9     2.1 km   170 m   Advanced Beginners    Moderate
 Orange      8     2.3 km   160 m   Intermediate          Moderate
 Brown       7     1.8 km   170 m   Advanced              Moderate
 Green      11     3.9 km   320 m   Advanced              Moderate/Hard
 Sprint     11     2.2 km   160 m   Advanced              Moderate


Your courses will take you close to picnic and other recreational areas. Please be courteous and avoid running through someone's wedding, picnic, or softball game.


The Advanced courses will go into steep and thick areas. The Sprint has this too, although not quite as bad, but don't be surprised in the few spots that you run into on the Sprint. There is a moderate amount of poison oak on the Advanced and Sprint courses, and it's possible though improbable to find on certain Orange route choices. Full arm and leg cover is recommended. Washing with Technu after competing is a good idea.

Goats and Electric Fences

Joaquin Miller Park has a herd of goats that they move around to thin out the vegetation. These goats are surrounded by white or orange electric fences. Some fenced areas do not have goats yet. Do not try to cross these fences. The White, Yellow, and Orange courses deal with a lot of these areas, and they've been marked out of bounds on the map (purple diagonal lines). Although I checked one week before the event, the locations of fences may have changed — don't be surprised if you are forced to alter your route choice because of a recently fenced-off area.

Map Notes

Scale is 1:10000, contours 20 feet. A big apology in advance. The mapping of the vegetation is rough. Areas mapped as white forest can have thick thorny patches and deadfall. Conversely, areas mapped as various shades of green can be very runnable in spots. Although it is a good idea to stay out of the dark green areas.

Permanent Course Markers

There are red and white permanent course markers throughout the park. In two cases these are used as control points on the Brown and Green courses.

Rex Winterbottom


(Please check on the day for revisions)


Advanced Sprint, very technical

2.33 km, 110m climb. 12 Controls

Estimated Winning Time (EWT): 19 min (100-pt. Blue runner)

Classes: Open
Prize: 2006 USA Team jersey to the overall winner

The sprint is designed to be run as a first course, which is required for the prize.

Flag placement is low to the ground.

Mostly undulating with a couple of steep climbs depending on route choice.

In addition to the final control, there is a spectator control early in the course. Look for the faster runners to come through within 5 minutes. The course is design for quick decision making, including route choice with fast running and generally viable straight or non-trail options. Controls include newly mapped rock features and depressions. In fact, all of the control locations are newly mapped with the exception of the spectator controls and a re-entrant used many years ago.


Classes: Open (Brown through Blue)
Prize: 2006 USA Team jersey to the overall winner.

The sprint is designed to be run as a first course, which is required for the prize.

The course is open to all advanced orienteers, but top competitors are especially invited. I’ve tried to make this the best it can be for a great race. Come and give it a test.


Undulating, runnable redwood forest. Patches of huckleberry and low growing blackberry. Visibility is variable. In all cases you must be very close to the control to see the marker. Runnability is variable even within the mapped white. Mapped light green and thicker areas of white can be more passable than expected from first glance. Hint: experienced BAOC runners know that animal tracks can be very helpful on steep slopes. Hazards include very steep slopes in one or two places. Most of the course is free of poison oak, but it is unavoidable in places.


1:5,000 with 20-foot contours

JMP was the first BAOC map, and is now going on 28 years old. Yet this choice little area has never received the mapping attention it deserves. One benefit is that some recent remapping in preparation for this race has made possible some new, very interesting and technical legs. I have revised the map as to much of the vegetation but it’s still unpredictable in places. Point features have been added, some paths have been added or removed from the map. Many small paths are unmapped. Contours have been revised in places. To bring the map up to full IOF standards would require a professional mapper with a lot of patience, but nevertheless, what we have is very good for a USGS base and approaches B-meet standards.

Non-Standard Features

Very subtle features are used for some controls. Bags will be more visible than the control feature in some cases.

Special symbols: There are two tripods used as control features. Note the spectator control next to the start. The description symbol is the special X. The map symbol looks something like a tripod. Control #7 is a cairn, in this case a concrete block with a couple of stones. The map symbol is a black circle with a dot, The description is the special circle.

Vegetation mapping is for general runnability, slower than indicated by standard symbology, and not always reliable for precise navigation.

White – Fast to slow run, often with clumps of passable or avoidable vegetation
Light Green – Jog-fast walk.
Medium Green – Difficult walk
Dark Green – Impenetrable. (May be small gaps)

Vegetation is meant to indicate runnability, not precision navigation.

The connecting line from #7 to #8 may not be straight or continuous.

There may be no descriptions on the map.

A critical gap in fight near #8 is mapped with magenta dashes and flagged with pink-red streamers.

Don't be surprised if you see a "Kansas boulder" on the course.

Parking Suggestions

There is very limited parking in turnouts along Skyline.

Roberts ($5.00) 400-m walking distance to the SE (take care walking on Skyline).

Lot behind Horsemen’s Cabin near the observatory (free) 600-m walk along the "frontage" road.

The Start, spectator control, Finish, and download are all at Redwood Grove.

Joe Scarborough