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Tilden Regional Park

Date: (Sun.) Jan. 24, 2010
Location: Berkeley, CA
Event Director:
Course Setter: Jonas Kjäll
Type: B; We had some nice courses from Jonas in the north end of Briones this past Spring. Let's see what he can do in Tilden!

Course Setter's Notes

By Jonas Kjall

When I first accepted being course-setter for the Tilden event, I had little experience with the map and the previous events organized on it. On a first look at the map, there appears to be a lot of green areas (dense vegetation), many trails, and some interesting orienteering areas between them. Moreover, in the previous events organized on the map, there has been some amazing course setting by Evan Custer and Martin Kunz that left me wondering if I could do anything new and interesting on the map, especially since the event center had to be at the same location as the previous two B-events.

However, after working for a while on the map, I started to realize that it had a lot of unused opportunities for good course setting for the advanced courses. One can actually use all apparent bad things (all green and trails) to one's advantage. Instead of having to weigh two things, distance and climb, in a route choice (as is normally the case in the Bay Area), on this map there is a lot of possibilities to add runnability as well (I guess, there is technically also a fourth route-choice aspect: which route is less physically and mentally demanding). How much faster is it to run on a trail compared to rough open? How much slower is white, light green, medium green forest?

Dark green and thick undergrowth should be avoided as much as possible on this map (if you have to go through it, do it only for a short distance).

However, the advanced courses are not all about route choices, the map has some interesting technical areas as well. I have tried to make the courses as varying as possible, with different kinds of challenges facing the runner all the time, as it should be on a good advanced course.

For the beginner and intermediate courses (White, Yellow, and Orange), the existence of a big trail network is a big advantage. It gives the course setter many more options to set good courses. Normally setting a good White course is the hardest to do. However, on this map it was fairly easy to set varied beginner/intermediate courses that test all the skills appropriate for that course, still keeping the recommended “safety net”.


Here are the course statistics:

   Course     Length     Climb   Controls
   White      1.5 km      90 m      10
   Yellow     2.1 km     110 m      10
   Orange     3.0 km     145 m      12
   Brown      2.9 km     135 m       9
   Green      4.3 km     240 m      10
   Red        5.3 km     320 m      14
   Blue       7.0 km     450 m      19

There will be one Start, about 200 m away from the Registration/Finish area. However, there will be two different start triangles (to minimize road crossing during the race).


More or less the usual we have in the Bay Area. Including, steep hillsides, with some cliffs (at wet conditions be extra careful).

Vegetation, thorns, poison oak, etc. However, most nasty vegetation is at its minimum this time of the year. There are some animals, mainly deer. The park is centrally located in the East Bay, so there are a lot of people around — please show consideration.

The Orange–Blue courses will cross Wildcat Canyon road once (you might also run on it for a while, depending on route choices). It has fairly heavy traffic, and is narrow and winding, so be careful when crossing/running on it. The Green and Blue courses will also cross South Park Drive twice. This road is closed to motor traffic, but fast bicyclists can still be coming down. Be extra careful, since these are almost silent.

Map Comments

The map is pretty new (from 2006) and still in excellent condition. I have added/removed a few point features that I think should be there/not be there. The vegetation and trails are still surprisingly accurate. I have only had to do a few minor changes to keep it fair. For more general information about the map and terrain and so on, see previous Course Setter’s Notes.


All in all, I am very pleased with how all the courses turned out, and I actually have to say that I think Tilden is one of the more interesting maps we have in the Bay Area. I hope we will have a big turnout, and I can promise you some interesting and challenging orienteering.