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First Annual "Curse of the Goat" Long-O race set for May 18 at Palos North & Country Lane Woods

With a mass start at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 18 the first annual "Curse of the Goat" Billygoat-style Long Orienteering race will begin a great new tradition in Chicago.

Normal rules for the "Curse" will make it different than a regular orienteering race in that

  1. following others will be allowed, and even encouraged,
  2. at least two controls of your choosing may be skipped without penalty,
  3. the winning time will be over two hours, and many will struggle to finish in four, and
  4. a "Curse of the Goat" tee shirt will be awarded to all who finish the Red race in under 3 hours.

As we commented in the Fall 2002 Chicag-O, Billygoat style orienteering races have become popular across the country. Most other clubs now offer either an annual Billygoat race or some form of long score event . While most of those events are in the Fall, Chicago's woods are usually nicest in the Springtime. After much deliberation, we have decided to present the Billygoat concept this Spring, and hopefully every year hereafter.

Named after the famous curse placed on the pennantless Chicago Cubs back in the 1940's, the race will be an annual event that will stand out from the rest of the Club schedule. Legend has it that Sam Sianis, owner of the Billygoat Tavern made famous by John Belushi on Saturday Night Live ("Cheeseborger, cheeseborger...."), once tried to bring a goat to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. When he was summarily booted out, he loudly cursed the Cubs, and proclaimed that a goat would sit in the Wrigley Field bleachers before the Cubs ever won another pennant. And indeed, for the past 55 years, the Curse of the Goat has continued to haunt the ivy-clad confines, and the Chicago Cubs have fallen short of the pennant time and time again.

Unlike normal local orienteering, the "Curse" offers Club members a chance to group together both to make the navigation easier, and to allow less-experienced members to learn how the better orienteers select their routes and attack points. Look upon it as "on-the-job training." Usually everyone joins some group or another at some point in the race, even those that are taking their time strolling through the forest. It just makes the event more social and fun!

Two long courses will be offered on the combined maps of Palos North and Country Lane Woods: Red (15-20km) and Green (12-15km), along with normal length courses of White, Yellow and Orange that will start, as usual, between 10 and noon. Dugalic Dragovan will be the Course Setter. Dugalic was the CAOC 2002 Club Champion, beating Michael Collins, Charlie Shahbazian, Kris Sabataitis and many others by a large margin.

So mark your schedule now. Get in shape. Set your sights on claiming a soon-to-be-a-collector's item "Curse of the Goat" tee shirt: there may be other such races in following years, but there never again will be The First Annual Curse of the Goat

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