Dave Macaulay Answers Your Questions About Bramble
What is an "A-meet?"
An "A-meet" is a national orienteering event sanctioned
by the United States Orienteering Federation. Courses are held on
up-to-date maps and are very carefully set according to USOF guide-lines.
CAOC is hosting an A-meet April 27 and 28 on a newly revised Palos
North map (near Palos Hills, IL). Competitors will vie for USOF
ranking points that permit comparison with orienteers across the
U.S. We expect competitors from all regions of America and perhaps
even some from other countries will compete. In every class awards
will be given to competitors who have the best two-day combined
times within 43 separate age groups.
I'm not world-class, is there a place for me at an "A-meet?"
Yes. If you run slowly or like to walk you still will enjoy the
courses that are more carefully designed than at local meets. People
of all ability levels compete at A-meets. And you can never tell,
within your class and age group, you might find that you are better
than you thought and actually win a award.
What courses are offered?
In addition to the normal courses there are two other choices.
The Blue course is 25% longer than Red and the Brown course is 25%
shorter than Green.
The registration form seems complicated... what should I register
First determine your age as of December 31, 2002. If you are a
man between the ages of 21 and 34 you may enter either your championship
class which is the M-21+ class and competes on the Blue (longest)
course, or you may enter any of the shorter courses in the Open
class, such as -M-Green.+ USOF Ranking points are awarded only to
those who sign up in their respective championship class.
If you are a man between the ages of 35 and 39 your championship
class is the M35+ class which competes on the Red course. But a
unique feature of orienteering competition is that older orienteers
may "run up" and register and compete in younger classes.
Thus a strong 35 year old man may register in the Blue M-21+ class.
Many orienteers like to see how they rank against young ter competitors;
by "running up" on four A-meet days, they will be ranked
for the year in two age groups. Similarly a 50 year old woman, whose
championship class is F50+ (Brown course), may register in any of
the younger age groups instead: F35+, F40+, and F45+ on the Green
course, or F-21+ (Red course).
I'm a man aged 40 and I'd like the challenge of Blue rather than
my championship-level Red course. Can I compete on a more difficult
Yes. The M-21+ class is available to any man. The "+"
in the designation M-21+ means the class is for all ages 21 and
up, and the "-" in front of the 21 means the class is
also for those under 21. If you are 40 you have a choice of competing
on the Red course in class M40+ or on the Blue course in class M-21+.
First choose the course that best suits you and then choose a class
that competes on that course.
I'm a man aged 40 and the Red and Blue courses are both too difficult.
What options do I have?
You could compete on any course in the Open class. You could chose
the M-Yellow class on the Yellow course, the M Orange class on the
Orange course or the M-Green class on the Green course.
What about junior orienteers?
The White course is used for class F-10 (girls up to age 10) as
well as for class F-12 (girls ages 11 and 12). Class F-14 (girls
ages 13 - 14) competes on the Yellow course. The Orange course is
used for class F-16 (girls ages 15 and 16), the Brown course is
for class F-18 (girls ages 17 - 18) and the Green course is home
for class F-20 (girls 19 - 20).
The "-" in the class designations means it is for all
younger age groups. Thus class F-14 is for all girls up to age 14.
A 12 year old girl could compete on White in class F-12 or on Yellow
in class F-14 or even on Orange in class F-16.
Okay. What does class "Gr-Orange" mean?
"Gr" is for competitive groups. A group of orienteers
could compete on the Orange course in class Gr-Orange.
I'm still confused. What class should I use if I have so many
First pick the course you want to compete on. Then study the classes
that compete on that course. There will be a class for you on that
and every course.
Do I have to compete both days?
It is common to participate both days but you can choose to compete
on one day only. If you compete both days you will be eligible for
awards given to the top orienteers in each of the 43 classes.
Why are the entry fees higher than for normal CAOC meets?
There is a greater cost in setting up and running the event when
it must meet demanding USOF standards. All net revenue (if any)
will stay with CAOC and help pay for new maps. Register before April
1 to get the early registration discount. USOF members get an additional
discount. And juniors pay lower fees than adults.
Sorry, I can't afford the $18 fee; can't I just orienteer for
the normal $8 charge?
Yes. You may enter as a Map Hiker on the White, Yellow or Orange
courses. But Map Hikers have a different starting location, are
not eligible for awards and do not enjoy the fun of a multi-day
event. Map Hikers do not pre-register—you'll register the
day of the event. However, if you wish to run Brown, Green, Red
or Blue you must register for the A-meet by April 1 and pay $10
per day if a junior or $18 per day if age 21+. If you're a USOF
member you save $3 per day—USOF
membership forms are available at the USOF web site.
What happens if I miss the April 1 deadline for Early Registration?
After April 1 event fees increase to $20 per day and then after
April 15 event fees increase to $25 per day. This is necessary so
that we can prepare premarked maps for you, and to order the needed
awards and tee shirts.
Is an A- meet just like a normal CAOC meet?
A-meets are more exciting. You will be assigned a start time.
Other runners may have the same start time but they will be competing
on different courses; you will be the only one on your course for
a 4-minute interval.
You will report to the starting area several minutes before your
start time. At 2-minute intervals you will move ahead to a new location
and will finally be given a pre-marked map and clue sheet (sealed
in a plastic bag). You are not permitted to look at the map until
you actually start the course. The actual starting location will
be out of sight of other competitors and they will not be able to
see in which direction you begin.
At the Club's A-meet next month, a World
Ranking Event and the U.S. Intercollegiate Championships will
be held simultaneously. This is the first time such elite events
have been held in Chicago. Club members should consider registering