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“Sprint” Adventure Running Festival

Atascadero, Morro Bay, & San Luis Obispo, CA

Date: May. 27 - 29, 2023
Event Directors: - 510.681.6181,
Course Setters: Rex Winterbottom, Matej Sebo
Type: A; 3 days, 6 events (1 NRE Sunday AM); for runners, walkers, hikers of all ages; new maps; 2km-3km courses; variety of formats; about 20 controls per course; terraloco events: Stages 1, 2, 3, 5, 6; BAOC events: Stages 3 & 4 = BAOC Summer Series event #1

Course Setters’ Notes

by Rex Winterbottom (Stages 1, 2, 5, 6) & Matej Å ebo (Stages 3 & 4)

None of the venues (except Stage 4) have poison oak out to get you, though some was spotted at Heilmann, but it’s not on the recommended routes. It’s possible there’s some on Terrace Hill, but I mapped the whole park, and I did not encounter any. Rex

Stage 1

Heilmann “Trial”: It’s grassy, thanks to the wettest year on record in the Central Coast. I recommend pants and a change of socks.

Thar be stickers. When mapping in March, there were no stickers; but now ...

Fore! Watch out for disc golf​—​the course takes up a majority of the park. Also watch out for gopher holes.

The park is mostly grass and trees, and a few bushes. There are very gentle slopes; and a few “zombie” trees (dead standing trees) mapped as green ×s.


The course is 2.0 km long (straight-lines distance), with 14 checkpoints and 60 meters of climb. The course is printed on two separate maps.


The forecast high is 71°F​—​much better than when I tested the course and it was about 96°F!

Stage 2

Morro Bay Waterfront “Urban”: You’ll be thinking. You’ll also be wearing shorts and running shoes. Streets and public waterfront spaces. A few staircases. A bit of forest. Some multilevel stuff. Might warm you up for Cal Poly campus a bit.

Social options abound nearby, and there’s a comedy show at the Veteran’s Hall (where event check-in is) ... if you don’t get enough comedy navigating your course.


The course is 3.0 km long (straight-lines distance), with 9 checkpoints and 80 meters of climb.


It will be cooler than the advertised 65°F high. It might be foggy, so bring layers.

Stage 3

Cal Poly has some seriously intricate areas worthy of a Sprint course, and Stage 3 makes the most of several of these locations. Complex building geometries, mazes of impassable walls, and multilevel areas will challenge even experienced Sprint navigators, across long and short legs alike.

If you are planning on coming, and would like to help out, please let either or me () know!! Events like these are made possible by an army of awesome volunteers. For this event, we could especially use some help with Stage 3 (NRE) starts.

The Map

The map is new (drafted in Spring 2023) and uses the ISSprOM 2019-2 standard (see the full specification here), which differs from ISSOM 2017 (and even ISSprOM 2019) in a few subtle ways.

The map will be printed at 1:3,000 scale for all the courses. It was originally drafted at 1:4,000. It has a contour interval of 2.5 meters.

The Beginner courses will use legal-size paper (8.5" x 14").

The Short Sprint and the Sprint courses will use letter-size paper (8.5" x 11") with the course printed across two maps. Both maps will be provided to competitors at the Start, both facing outward within a single map case. Competitors will start the course using one map, and after completing the course up until a certain control (#10, for example), will flip over their “double-sided” map and use the other map through to the Finish. In this example, control #10 would be shown on both maps.

There are some places on the map with multilevel areas that reach vertically for more than two levels. The map always focuses on showing the bottom two levels; as it’s impossible to map additional levels, the map ignores everything higher than the first level above the ground level. This is mostly obvious, but any control descriptions marked as “upper” will refer to the level directly above the ground level, not the true “uppermost” level, even if it is accessible.

The Courses

Final statistics are:

    Course         Distance   Climb  Controls    NRE Categories
    Beginner        1.6 km     25 m      17       White/Yellow  
    Short Sprint    2.1 km     50 m      14    Orange/Brown/Green
    Sprint          2.7 km     65 m      24         Red/Blue

The Start for all the courses will be 0.7 km away from the assembly area (with quite low climb). The Finish is at the assembly area.

Note that if you are not registered for the nationally-ranked event (NRE), or do not wish to compete for national-ranking points, please feel free to pick any of the courses. The color designations above are purely for defining the NRE competitive categories.

These courses will all be set to Sprint standards. Most (but not all) control locations will be at a Yellow/Orange level​—​technical difficulty is not the primary challenge competitors will experience. There will be many changes in direction, with an emphasis on quick map reading and route choice. Expected winning times are in the 12- to 15-minute range. Due to the short length of the courses, no refreshments will be offered at controls.

As always, I’d like to remind all competitors to carefully read the map when approaching controls. Remember that not all of the controls you see will be on your course, so remember to check each control code before punching.

Stage 4

Stage 4 at Cal Poly has one Sprint course, winding through a truly unique area around Poly Canyon: the Architecture Graveyard. Come explore this array of delightfully weird abandoned architecture projects built by students at the school over many decades.

The Start and Finish are both quite remote. The Finish is a 1.8 km walk (with some light climb) from the assembly area​—​follow pin flags from the Stage 3 (morning) assembly area. The Start is beyond the Finish, an additional 0.2 km up a hill. There are no restrooms or running water at the Start or Finish.

The map is new (drafted in Spring 2023) and uses the ISSprOM 2019-2 standard (see comments above). It is drafted at 1:4,000, but will be printed at 1:2,500 for legibility. It uses 2.5 meter contours. All the maps will be on letter-size paper (8.5" x 11").

This terrain is not urban at all. I recommend that competitors wear shoes suitable for wilderness orienteering in terrain resembling Bay Area parks (steep, rough-open areas of tall grass with scattered oak forest). Poison oak is very abundant in the forested areas (especially anything mapped as dark green)​—​the course is designed so it is entirely avoidable, and crossing it doesn’t confer a competitive advantage. There are many trails and paths in the terrain that are significantly faster than the surrounding rough-open land (which is mapped as light yellow).

I have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to use ISSprSOM symbols to denote the myriad of creative contraptions that students have built in this space. In general, structures with a passable ground level are shown as “canopies”, as opposed to impassable “buildings”. Many concrete pillars that hold up tower-like structures are mapped with the black, square, pillar symbol.

Two stream crossings are marked as out-of-bounds on the map. One of them is a path overgrown with poison oak (following it is a sub-optimal route choice, so please avoid it). The other is a wooden bridge deemed structurally unsound. It is possible to cross the stream around the bridge, so please do not attempt to cross on the bridge itself (it is “fenced off” with wooden planks).

The course will have a “phi” loop, so please make sure that you visit the controls in the correct order (and pay close attention to the numbers). You will visit two controls twice​—​this is intentional.

Final statistics are:

    Course    Distance   Climb  Controls
    Sprint     1.4 km     65 m     21    

Stage 5

Terrace Hill “Ascent”: Another grassy attack. Pants and a change of socks are recommended, and shoes with rubber-tip cleats of some kind are recommended.

There are forests, grasslands, some bush areas, some steep slopes, boulders and cliffs, some slippery ground, and a few man-made things.

Recommended dinner spot: Beda’s Biergarten, about 1/2 mile from Sinsheimer. Been going there for years, and Beda is a class act. He’s from Germany; quit his day job, and opened a German restaurant 10 years ago.


It’s only 1.9 km, and you’ll have 100 m of climb, with 17 checkpoints. The course is divided into two loops.

There is a remote start 0.9 miles on foot from the picnic area. From the Finish, it’s 0.6 miles back. You can use those walks to warmup and cooldown.


The forecast is a high of 69°F, and breezy.

Stage 6

Waller Park “Loops”: Shorts are fine; although it does get wild, the grass isn’t crazy. It’s hiller than it looks from an aerial photo. I hope you enjoy my hand-drawn contours, since there’s no LIDAR yet. It’s a half manicured park, half wild​—​the wild being sand dunes with towering pine forests.

There’s more disc golf, but not as bad as Heilmann, but there’s still a lot of it.

You’ll cross a lot of roads with vehicles going hopefully 15 MPH or less as directed.

Santa Maria is known for tri-tip BBQ, and Jen from Santa Maria gave me some recommendations. We’ll have a designated spot to announce at the event if you’d like to go out for lunch afterward.


There will be a mass start, and you will get a booklet of maps. You must start with the top map, then do them each in order. You’ll do Loops A, B, and C in some order, like ABC, CBA, BAC, BCA, CAB, or ACB. Then everyone finishes with loop D.

    Loop   Distance   Climb  Controls
    A       1.0 km     25 m     4    
    B       1.2 km     20 m     4
    C       1.3 km     15 m     4
    D       1.4 km     15 m     4

So the totals are about 5 km and 75 m climb. (The climbs are estimated.)

After each loop A, B, and C, you will punch checkpoint 35. After loop D, you don’t need to punch 35​—​just punch the Finish!


The forecast is high of 65°F, “low clouds breaking and cool”.