March 1, 2020
Poplar Creek

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Meet director: Martin S.
Course Setter: Martin S.



9:30 a.m. Registration
10 a.m. Mass start
11:30 a.m. Courses close, control pickup starts

(Maximum time on course: 90 minutes)

Cost: (per individual or team)


Event Day


CAOC members
additional maps
rental compass
purchase e-Punch

(We suggest a maximum of four people per group.)

On-line registration for this event will be open through February 28th. Note that we are starting from the southern parking lot located off of Schaumburg Road, not the usual shelter from the entrance on 59.

There will be a beginner's course and a Madnaess course for intermediate and advanced.

The Poplar Creek map, located in the western part of the 4,200-acre Poplar Creek Forest Preserve in Hoffman Estates, features open woods, gently rolling prairie, its namesake creek, and a variety of trails. The topography is subtle with a few shallow reentrants, knolls and depressions. Ruins of old buildings and fences are common in the south and west sections of the map. At the northern edge of the map, there is a small nature preserve containing pristine, undisturbed prairie land, a rarity in Illinois.

This is the final event of the 2019-2020 Winter Madnaess Series which features four individual races over the winter months. The format is very different from traditional orienteering as the race is a mass start. The race is broken into three parts. The first is a set of common controls where the runners go head to head. They then enter the Madnaess box which features 7-8 controls. The intent of this box is to equalize the race for all levels of skill and as such each runner gets to skip a certain amount the controls based on their age and sex. Elite racers will have to cover all of them while younger or older runners will do less. Coming out of the box they then cover a number of common controls once again and if planned out properly most of the runners should finish very close to one another.

The competition will go ahead through rain or snow.

The Winter Madnaess Rules

  1. All events will have a mass start at 10:00 on the event day. You may start without penalty up to 20 minutes after the official start time. After that, your start time may be adjusted back to 20 minutes.

  2. The time limit is 90 minutes. All controls will be picked up after this time.

  3. At each event, every participant must sign an event waiver prior to the start, at registration time.

  4. Pre-marked maps are guaranteed to all who pre-register.

  5. Map cases may be purchased at pre-registration or on-site for $1.

  6. To ensure competitiveness for all participants, each event will use a handicap system called The Madnaess Box. Using their creativity, course setters will attempt to choreograph that elusive mass finish.

The Madnaess Box

Each race will feature the infamous Madnaess Box, which consists of a set of controls labeled with letters (A,B,C, etc) somewhere on the course. Participants may attack the controls in the box in any order. Additionally, participants may drop controls equal to their handicap point total. Handicap points are awarded as follows:

Category Handicap
add 2
12 or younger
65 or older
14 or younger
55 or older
16 or younger
45 or older
19 or younger
35 or older


  • A 46-year-old female may drop 4 controls in the box.
  • 19-year-old male may drop 1 control in the box.
  • A 28-year-old male must visit all the controls in the box.

Take the Northwest Tollway (I-90) 19 miles west of O'Hare to Exit 11—Sutton Road-South (Hwy 59); proceed south 2.6 miles to Schaumburg road. Take a right on Schaumburg road and follow it 0.6 miles west to the forest preserve entrance opposite Rosewood Dr. There is limited parking at this location--if the lot is full, try Rosewood Dr.


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