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Trail Challenge

Hi Everyone!

Are you wondering if you should attend ROC's Trail Challenge on Thursday evening? Are you wondering what a Trail Challenge is?

If you are new to orienteering, or like to orienteer at the White/Yellow level, or a runner who would enjoy adding a new twist to your trail run please join us Thursday evening at Genesee Valley Park. You will have the opportunity to do some "light orienteering" and enjoy the beauty of one of Rochester's oldest parks.

Here are the details from our course setter, Dick Detwiler:

The next ROC meet is the GVP Trail Challenge July 11 Thursday night. Event will start at 6:30 p.m. (everyone starts at the same time) at Canalside Shelter. Registration/check-in opens at 5:50 p.m. Unlike regular orienteering meets, as soon as you check in, you receive your map! So to have the maximum time to get familiar with the map and plan your route, arrive early!


The theme of this race is “bridges”. The 8K competitors will cross bridges approximately (depending on specific route choices) 12 times (10 different bridges). Many of these crossings will be on elegant pedestrian bridges designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted. The 4K competitors can expect 5 bridge crossings. The bridges are over the Erie Canal, the Genesee River, and Red Creek.

There will be two distances to choose from – 8K and 4K. Note that unlike most orienteering courses where the distances refer to the straight-line distances from control to control, these distances are the estimated best-route distances that people will cover. There are a very few places where the distance could be reduced by cutting through woods (but not by a whole lot), and of course nearly an infinite number of ways that a person’s distance could be more than the stated distances! However, the orienteering is generally relatively easy, so it is expected that few people deviate TOO far from reasonable routes.

The time limit is 90 minutes for both distances. If you plan on walking the entire distance, please enter the 4K. If you can run at all, even very slowly (say 12 minutes/mile), you should be able to finish the 8K course within the time limit, even with a few “non-optimum” route choices.

You are strongly encouraged to pre-register, to (a) save you money, (b) make sure there is a map for you, and (c) allow things to go much more smoothly at registration / check-in. Entry fees for pre-registration are $4 for ROC members and $8 for non-members. Day-of-meet entry fees are $10 for everyone. To make it even better, you don’t even need to pre-pay when you pre-register. You pay on the day of the meet. Some additional maps will be printed, but if there are a lot of day-of-meet entrants, we may run out of maps -- pre-registered entrants are guaranteed maps! On-line entry closes Wednesday at 11 pm.

For more information about the Trail Challenge, and a link to pre-register, please visit:

Here are some additional details about this event, which will be useful for anyone participating --

1. Both courses have common first and second controls. This it to give the event a bit more of a "mass start" feel, and also to make it pretty easy for everyone to find the first two controls, which could be helpful for people who've never done any type of orienteering before. Then the courses diverge. So do not follow anyone blindly after control #2 unless you know they're on your course (and then, of course, follow at your own risk!).

2. There is no need to go off trail through woods; the optimum distances used for course planning do not involve going through woods. There are a couple of places on the 8K course (but not on the 4K course) where some distance could be saved, but time may or may not be saved, by going through some woods. In one of these locations, I saw a fair amount of poison ivy. So if you want to keep the option open to go through woods, leg covering would be recommended.

4. Regarding the map, there is an area on the east side of the river and another area on the west side of the river where I-390 passes overhead. In both of these locations, there is useful detail underneath the expressway. For these areas, I've mapped the area under the expressway, and indicated the presence of the expressway by pavement edge lines, with no street infill (which would obliterate the detail underneath). The map does show the support pillars (mapped as thick black lines) since these can be useful features at the ground level. Here is a snapshot of this area:

5. There is no way to know how many softball games, picnics, etc. will be going on in the park the evening of the event. Entrants need to be aware that these activities are likely, and that we absolutely must not disrupt them. (No cutting through a softball outfield while a game is going on, cutting through a soccer field when a game is in progress, etc.)


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  • Greg

    What a great evening and well run event. The park felt a lot bigger than I thought it would! Nice course! Thanks a bunch to all who helped make it happen.

    July 12, 2013

  • Rob S.

    A lot of fun. Great course. I think the name should be changed to "bridge challenge" from "trail challenge"...I think with the control pickup I crossed 15 bridges and enjoyed them all.

    July 12, 2013

  • Linda K.

    Exciting running! Thanks to Dick and everyone else who worked.

    July 12, 2013

  • Laurie H.

    What a great use of this beautiful park! Thanks, Dick, for all your map work and course setting. Thanks to all who helped out, too.

    July 12, 2013

  • Anne S.

    Great event last night !
    Many thanks to Laurie and Dick !

    July 12, 2013

  • Don W.

    It's nice to mix things up and orienteer in a more urban setting...

    July 11, 2013

  • JEFF

    Long hike today; must recharge.

    July 11, 2013

  • Linda K.

    Rick will probably come too.

    July 3, 2013

48 went

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