Remember the amazing race game we’d have to go through during orientation camps? The adrenaline and competitiveness is now a thing of the past for me. I’m way past my school-by (sell-by) date.
Basically, orienteering is a good replacement for anyone who’s suffering from those amazing race withdrawal symptoms or if you’re always caught in the middle of the “I have a better sense of direction than you,” debate. Orienteering is a new sport that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to quickly travel between marked locations across unfamiliar terrain.
Who knew that something originating from the Swedish military could become a growing sport in Singapore.
I had to the opportunity to learn more about orienteering with its Singapore pioneers.
Wanting to bring back the spirit of outdoor adventure in the current youth, former members of Singapore Polytechnic’s Outdoor Adventure Club (ODAC), Alex Tan and Sebastian Wong decided that just running marathons wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
It was time to “add spice” into the already established running community in Singapore.
Just as the two founders rekindled sports orienteering and restored Orienteering Federation Singapore (OFS), simultaneously, schools wanted more emphasis on outdoor education and its values.
Therefore, they build on the changing direction of education and assimilated orienteering into schools.
What sets orienteering apart from the usual marathons that leave you feeling like you’ve been running forever?
You get to think, strategise and bond over the decision making that you have to do.
In orienteering, everyone gets the same map and a compass. The objective is to hit every checkpoint and get to the end goal with the fastest time. The difference is the route each person chooses to take to reach each checkpoint.
Remember how tempted you were to cut across the field whilst running that 2.4km run in secondary school? Now you actually can. Cut across parks and through blocks of flats if you want to. Just go je! It’s time for the Singaporean kiasu-ness to shine.
Compared to the incredible views in Sweden and other parts of the world, Singapore doesn’t have as much to offer.
Both Alex and Sebastian have adapted orienteering to make it more feasible to operate in our urban jungle.
Through the Urban Wayfinder run, participants get a chance to navigate their way through Singapore’s urban and rural landscapes. Want to find out if you know your neighbourhood well enough? Try orienteering in the heartlands of Singapore.
If you’re more of a nature buff, the Ubin Wayfinder would probably fit you better. Indulge in nature alone by joining the solo category, or see if your relationship can withstand the competitive nature of the sport in the mixed or male duo.
Just looking to enjoy the serenity of Pulau Ubin? Join the Explorer division – a non-competitive category perfect for families and just those who’re looking to try out a new sport.
In addition to the more traditional Urban and Ubin Wayfinder races, orienteering has its creative side too.
Obstacle courses can be added into orienteering making it similar to the Spartan Race concept that most are familiar with. Indoor orienteering can be as simple as using a university campus for the race.
Maze orienteering is also another common way of exploring the sport.
According to Eugene Chow, one of OFS’s committee members, “The challenge is that people have the stigma that the sport is difficult for them to complete and they’re not willing to try.”
Orienteering is far from just another sport. It’s educational, promotes cognitive development and friendly competition.
It’s also versatile so even my mum would be eager to give it a go. She loves gardening, so maybe, a gardening themed orienteering race? Maybe just adjust the fastest timing factor to the best planting skills or something….
Upcoming Orienteering Race Details:
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