BAOC 2008 Sprint Series

Go to the Series Results

A second season of the club Sprint Series is well underway. All of our sprints will also count in the standings of the national USOF Sprint Series (

What Are Sprints?

Table of contents

Short distance courses with large changes of direction and an emphasis on fine navigation skills—in a good sprint, it's challenging to go full speed with the amount you have to read the map, even if it's somewhat technically easy. Many "ringers" in our club lost time on sprints last year due to map reading hiccups in places like the U.C. Berkeley campus.


The following events are already scheduled for the series:

2/09 – Bayfront Park, Menlo Park
2/24 – Point Pinole, Richmond
4/19 – Stanford, Palo Alto
4/27 – Indian Valley, Novato
5/10 – American River Parkway South ( (formerly Goethe Park), near Sacramento
5/17 – Golden Gate Park, S.F. – Club Sprint Championship
6/20 – Northstar Resort, Lake Tahoe

It would be nice to have a sprint at the already scheduled...

9/14 – Presidio


U.C. Berkeley
Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland

Not planned yet, but get in touch with if you could help plan these events:

Lake Vasona
Lake Elizabeth
Other possible sprint venues...
[See below for the latest update.]


Remember, just as last year, Course Setters earn points, so you are not penalized for missing a sprint that way. In fact, you earn as many points as your best score at another event.

Speaking of points: We are working on a new formula to calculate cumulative points for all the events. Points will seed you for the championship—anyone can still go "all the way", but there will be an advantage to having participated in, say, at least 2 or 3 of the sprints prior to the May 17 Championship. Your suggestions are welcome for the point system, and this will be announced some time after the Bayfront Park event ... whatever you score there will count in the series.

We will do age divisions and gender awards for the May 17 champs and for the overall series winner. The champs event will count for "double points", or something like that, in the overall series. So, there will be two kinds of champions for 2008 in sprints: the Sprint Champions (from the May 17 event) and the Sprint Series Champions (for all 2008.)

April 8 Update

An update for the Sprint Series, already underway and continuing past the club Sprint Champs (May 17, 2008) and into the beyond...

The current standings are posted here. We've had two events so far thanks to Jay Hann (Bayfront) and Steve Gregg (Pt. Pinole), and they have already received their course setters' bonuses—except Jay has to actually do a Sprint before he can truly cash in on that (which gives you points for the event you course set matching your best score).

Speaking of which, we do not yet have events planned at Lake Vasona, Lake Elizabeth, U.C. Berkeley, Joaquin Miller. If you would like to take advantage of that bonus, and enjoy designing and setting a course... Will we have a sprint course at the already scheduled Presidio event? That's great sprint terrain right there.

Remaining schedule (more events are expected to be added!):

4/19 – Stanford, Palo Alto 4/27 – Indian Valley, Novato 5/10 – American River Parkway South (formerly Goethe Park), near Sacramento 5/17 – Golden Gate Park, S.F. – Club Sprint Championship 6/20 – Northstar Resort, Lake Tahoe

All of our sprints will also count in the standings of the national USOF Sprint Series (

May 17 Golden Gate Park Champs Update

I learned a lesson last year, so this year I will make preregistration mandatory.

If you intend to participate in any Sprint course at Golden Gate Park, no matter how serious you are about it (just doing it for fun is fine—and it will be tons of fun), you must preregister.

This event will be staged, beginning at 10:00. Be checked in and ready by 10:00. If you choose to do all the courses (3 or 4), it will be done by 1:00; we'll have our awards at 1:00. I will keep a tighter schedule this year.

Some preliminary design and planning has been done. More details will be available later about the staging and timing of the courses.

What I can tell you is this: The first course will be a prologue/seeding course. I will use the Sprint Series standings to determine the start order. The highest in the standings starts first, then starts go in order of the standings. Intervals are calculated on the difference in points. This will be kind of like a chase. The order of finish determines seeding for the second course, so earlier starters have an advantage.

That's all for now. More after I finish with Sunol this Sunday!

In the meantime, preregister by sending me an email with your full name, gender, and USOF age class.

Also, plan to run some sprints. I will average your best 3 scores for the seeding of the first course at the champs—so, if you've run only two, your average will drop! But this will not count you out from winning the crown.

What Are Sprints?

Short distance courses with large changes of direction and an emphasis on fine navigation skills. In a good sprint, it's challenging to go full speed with the amount you have to read the map, even if it's somewhat technically easy.

Any questions? Contact me!


April 25 Update

Question: If I haven't run 3 sprints before the club sprint champs at Golden Gate Park on May 17, why should I bother participating?

Answer: Participate! This might be your most exciting orienteering event of the year. If your have run less than 3 qualifying sprints, you are still eligible, and it won't hinder you from placing where you think you ought to place. The more who attend and participate in this event, the more exciting and fun it will be, because you will be better matched with peer runners if there is a larger pool of entrants.

A Note About Competition

I believe we have an abundance of events where competition is not emphasized. I think people who are not interested in the competitive aspect of this should still feel welcome to participate—the courses and map are going to make it a great experience for you. This is your club, your map, and you belong here.

After being done with Sunol, I was freed up to explore Golden Gate Park last Saturday, and I'm very excited about the program for this year's sprint champs. You'll be in the eastern half of the park with the museums, and then we'll bus ourselves west and you'll also see the ocean, the beach, the windmills, the polo fields... and the map is intricate... many flavors of vegetation and a sometimes bewildering amount of trails and objects.

Course Statistics

Preliminary Sprint: Individual starts (this is where people who have not run 3 qualifying races can "catch up"... people who have run 3 qualifying races will have a slight edge...)

Sprint 1 = 1.7 km

"Sorting" Sprints: Individual, pairs, or quartet starts

Sprint 2 = 0.9 km
Sprint 3 = 0.4 km
Sprint 4 = 0.7 km

Final Sprint: Head-to-head pair sprint

Sprint 5 = 1.7 km

These statistics are preliminary. Adjustments will be made, but it gives you a good idea of what to expect.


Each participant is encouraged to bring a backpack/duffelbag with supplies. We will be a mobile crew for about 3 hours. We will tote water in my car, but having your own bottle will be helpful at times. Bring your own snacks/fuel.


I will not factor in ages and genders when sorting people at all. I will extract that information from the final overall standings for the age and gender class results.

Can you see why I need preregistration? This is a complicated setup! I'd like to know by Wednesday, May 14 if you are participating. Send an email—include your full name, gender, and age class. Four have already done so!

There are two more qualifying sprints: this Sunday at Indian Valley, and Saturday, May 10th at American River Parkway South ( (GCO).

May 8 Update

The latest Sprint Series standings are updated to include the Indian Valley event. The last event for the purposes of seeding is Saturday, May 10, in Sacramento, a GCO event at the American River Parkway South ( (formerly Goethe Park).

We have about 15 preregistered for the Golden Gate Park sprint championships on May 17, also a Saturday. Two are from St. Louis, and 1 is from the UK. It will be an exciting, fun event for anybody in the club—no matter the age, gender, speed, race, religious orientation, or favorite hobby.

Preregistration is mandatory for the Golden Gate Park sprint championships event—email to register with: Your Name, USOF Age class (or your age), Gender. And I'll sign you up.

Further details are in the other announcements made already. Not much has changed. Expect an update next week around Tuesday with finalized details, course setter's notes, and the latest standings.

After these standings are updated next week, they will determine the start order for the seeding sprint at Golden Gate Park to group the runners into brackets. Your position in the standings does not preclude you from earning the bracket you want. You can move up places in the seeding sprint.

None of the individual Sprint winners (Francois, James, Ben) have run 3 races, which is why their averages are lower. Obviously, I won't be competing in the Sprint champs, because I'm setting the courses!

May 13 Update

You have until this Wednesday night if you plan on attending and participating Saturday in the 4 Sprints at the Sprint Champs at Golden Gate Park. Don't forget to preregister!

For the White, Yellow, and Orange courses, just show up—no preregistration is necessary.

All the courses are fun and interesting. Thanks to Brian Schmitz for handling White and Yellow.

Send email to if you want to run the Sprints—hopefully all of them, but that's not mandatory.

There are only 4 Sprints now. I had to remove one that just proved to be too difficult an area of the map. It looked much better on paper.

Sprint 1 = 1.7 km
Sprint 2 = 0.7 km
Sprint 3 = 0.7 km
Sprint 4 = 1.7 km

The start order for Sprint #1 is below, based on "sprint points". If you haven't run a sprint yet, your start is towards the bottom, in the order you contacted me to register.

This list should change as a few last-minute entries come in, but it gives you an idea.

Thanks, Rex

Start Order for Sprint #1 (as of May 13):

   1  Toby Ferguson
   2  Alex Finch
   3  Francois Leonard
   4  Steve Harrison
   5  George Minarik
   6  Shura Krechetov
   7  Stephanie Maclean
   8  Manfred Kopisch
   9  Derek Maclean
  10  Brad Wetmore
  11  Ben Legg
  12  Michael Robinson
  13  Andrejus Masalkovas
  14  Jim Fish
  15  Cameron Ferguson
  16  Joan Roos
  17  Bob Cooley
  18  Marie-Josee Parayre
  19  Philipp Kopisch
  20  Daniel Kopisch
  21  Brendan McWalters
  22  Rick Armstrong
  23  Fran Armstrong
  24  John Kewley
  25  Dwight Freund
  26  Noah Flower

August 14 Update

Here is a finalized schedule and plan for tallying the scores to end the 2008 Sprint Series for BAOC. This is separate from the "champs" which are already said and done, having been held at Golden Gate Park in May. See Rick Armstrong's article below—he was one of the out-of-towners who enjoyed the event, and he reported on it in the St. Louis club newsletter.

The rest of the 2008 sprints:

08/24 Lakeside Park, Lake Merritt, Oakland
09/13 Knowland Park, Oakland
09/27 Crown Beach, Alameda
11/14 Joe Grant A-meet Sprint
Maybe: Lake Vasona & Stanford – announcements pending

Award certificates for all participants(*) will be presented at either the Stanford potluck (if it happens) or the Dec. 7 club champs at Morgan Territory (although that event is not having a sprint.) Awards will be given out in age classes and genders.

(*) How do you get an award? Do 5 sprints total. Most people have 3 already. There are at least 4 more on the schedule... maybe 6.

Standings? Well, they're based on having run 5 sprints. About 10 people have done that. So let's wait until we get maybe 2 more sprints in to post updated standings. Your top 5 sprint results count, so if you already have 5, it's worth doing more to improve your average score.

Cheers, Rex

Here's an article about the BAOC Sprint Champs, written by Rick Armstrong for the St. Louis club newsletter:

In May, Fran and I flew to San Francisco to visit our daughter Zan who had moved to the Bay Area in November for job hunting. Though at first seeking a job in the renewable energy field, in March she "settled" for a job with Google. As soon as Fran and I submitted grades for the Spring Semester, we first visited Zan which included a tour of the Google campus (and a fantastic meal at one of their 7 cafeterias - free for employees) and a great bike ride around SF including riding across the Golden Gate Bridge. Then for a week, we camped and hiked near the Sonoma Beaches and Point Reyes north of SF and concluded our trip with a few days in Big Basin State Park south of the Bay area. We enjoyed walking an A-meet Orange Course that Zan had run in 1997 when we flew her solo for the unique experience of orienteering in a redwood forest. Since downed redwoods certainly affect one's route, they are actually mapped!

By coincidence, on the Saturday we were visiting Zan, the Bay Area Orienteering Club was running the championship day of their year-long Sprint Series in Golden Gate Park in SF. Rex Winterbottom (who had participated in SLOC's Sprint Courses in Forest Park in summer, 2007) designed a unique series of 4 short sprints. The start list for the 1-minute stagger for the first race was based on BAOC's sprint series results, thus the four of us without previous results started at the end of the list. A distinct feature of each race was that time did NOT matter, only order across the finish line counted for the order of start in the next race.

Starting 22nd of 25, I struggled with the first course (1.7 km) as I was not able to change my perspective from the first 6 easy controls in open park land to the next 3 controls in the woods. (The blend of open park land and woods in Golden Gate is quite similar to Forest Park.) In each case, looking ahead and actually planning the leg would have helped. Even with the errors, I moved up to 18th place.

For Sprint 2, Rex sent us off in groups of 4 at 30-second intervals on a 0.6 km course with 5 controls (see map). First, the shift from a 1:5000 scale to a 1:2500 threw off some runners. I noticed that most groups left straight toward #1, apparently either misreading one of the fences as a trail through the thick Green or just following the leader and not reading the map at all. With my errors on Sprint 1, I started in the 5th group with 3 slower runners. Confused a bit when I turned over the map, I chose the simplest route: along the sidewalk to the right, turning left on a trail just past a formal garden. For such a short course, there were a surprising number of route choices. I ran the trails to #2 and #4 (to right) and partially used the road for #3. The leg from #3–4 was so short that before I actually read the map, I bumped into the control—it's mine! Sprinting to the Finish, I caught a slower runner just before the finish control, but I "didn't bother" to pass him. I forgot that passing him would have gained me one place in the next race. This clean run with 7th best time moved me up to 12th place.

The 3rd course was 0.7 km with only 3 controls. We started solo at 15-second intervals so I saw several others on the course. The course demanded careful map reading and offered route choices, so I found it hard to "attack" the course at full speed. On the way to Control #3, two teenagers flew by me—running west instead of north. So a clean run moved me up to 10th place.

For the final course, we left in pairs at 30-second intervals on a 1.7 km course (see map). Due to activity in the polo field, Control #2 was dropped from the course. I left with Marie-Josee, leading her on the first leg. Running the field, I noticed the pair ahead of us coming back from the fenced area and finding the mapped break through the Green area. The 4 of us ran 1–3 together. Then Fyodor pulled away, due to twisted ankle Dan G fell behind, while speedy HS runner Dan K caught Marie and me. With little left in my tank, from 3–4–5–6 I started falling behind, but unexpectedly Dan and Marie slowed letting me get to #6 first. Dan immediately raced past me and then I chose to sprint early to build my gap on Marie. Since she hadn't looked ahead, she didn't start her sprint, so I beat her by 13 seconds, finishing 9th of 18 overall. Due to injuries or scheduling conflicts, 7 runners did not finish all 4 courses.

Fran? She enjoyed the format as well and completed all 4 courses on an unusually hot day in SF. Paired with Terry Farrah in Sprint #4, they ran most of the course together, but Terry was not able to keep up with Fran's blazing speed into the Finish - Fran finished 15th of 18.

I never thought that I could run 4 sprints in one day. But Rex's design was very effective and I enjoyed the variety: unusually short courses; start lists with 15- and 30-second intervals assured that we'd "meet" each other out there; starting in pairs or groups of 4 added head-to-head challenges; ignoring time meant that no one could build a big lead in the early courses. With this design, John Krewly (M45) of Britain started Sprint #1 23rd and finished Sprint #4 in 3rd.

Having always enjoyed the challenge of orienteering in technical areas in the woods and as my sprint speed slowed with age, I never expected to enjoy Sprint Orienteering. But even "simple courses" on park maps reward traditional orienteering skills: map reading, planning ahead, and route choices—all at a higher speed than I am used to. As repeated US Champion Mikkel Platt once stated about orienteering in wide open Colorado venues, "If the course is too easy, you aren't running fast enough." In addition, I feel that map reading and making route choices "on the run" has improved my woods orienteering skills as well. So now for me, its off to the 2-day US Individual Champs in Wyoming to see if I can out-orienteer a couple of young "speed demons" in my M55 category.

Rick Armstrong

November 5 Update

The current Series standings are available here .

If you've entered a sprint, I don't know your age. Please tell me in an message.

The awards will be given out in age and gender categories at the Stanford event, Sunday, Nov. 23rd.

Your best 5 sprints from 2008 count in the average to determine these Sprint Series awards.

Your score for any given sprint is a percentage derived from this formula: "overall fastest time" divided by "your time."

These 11 sprints have been counted so far in the standings:

Bayfront Park
Point Pinole prologue
Stanford in April
Indian Valley
GCO American River Parkway
Golden Gate Park (overall time)
Northstar Resort
Lakeside Park
Knowland Park
U.C. Berkeley
Crown Beach

Sprint course setters who have earned a repeat of their best score in their top 5 sprints: Manfred Kopisch, Steve Gregg, Ido Green, Scott Aster, Stew Hintz, Rex Winterbottom, Jim Fish, Ben Legg. This bonus is applied only once, so Steve Gregg and Rex Winterbottom, who have directed multiple sprints, have only one bonus score.

The following 3 sprints are remaining in the series and will count in the standings:

11/08 – Lake Vasona
11/14 – Joe Grant A-meet sprint
11/23 – Your combined time for the two Stanford sprints

The course setters for those Sprints will earn a repeat of their best score in their top 5 sprints: Jay Hann, Francois Leonard, and Matthias Kohler.

So look at the standings—and see how many sprints you have, and plan accordingly if you are interested.

Also, if you already have 5 sprints, you're not done for the year. Any score that improves one of your top 5 scores displaces that score, so you can still improve your standing.

Happy 2008 sprints. Hope to see you all at Stanford, where we will have a presentation during the potluck social.

By the way, if there's anyone interested in being a results checker/verifier, that would be very nice. There's like 189 people in the spreadsheet, 14 events, and course-setting bonuses; it would be nice to have it independently verified. Let me know.