top of page

Event Types

Minnesota Orienteering Club hosts a variety of events throughout the year.  Below is a list of the most common type of events that are organized by orienteering clubs:


REGULAR MEET, Standard Course (Point-to-Point, with sprint, middle, long/classic): The standard course is the most widely used course type and is used at all formal competitions. On these courses, competitors find control points in a specified order; the winner is the person with the fastest time. Competitors start at different times (staggered start), usually separated by two minutes, to discourage following.  And there are usually multiple courses available at these events, ranging from beginner through advanced.  These courses are designated by colors and are further explained below:


  • White Course (Beginner, 1-2 miles):  Perfect for those who are unsure of themselves in the forest or have little or no topographic map experience. Routes of travel are along trails, streams and other linear features. The compass is used largely to keep proper map orientation. Navigation is easy and courses are short.

  • Yellow Course (Advanced Beginner, 2 miles): The Yellow course is designed for older teen and adult beginners with some basic knowledge of map and terrain identification. Navigational problems are easy to moderate and the competitor will be near easily identifiable features such as roads or trails.

  • Orange Course (Intermediate, 2-3 miles):  The Orange course is designed for older teenagers and adults with moderate experience. On this course, the competitor will spend the majority of his or her time off the park/forest's trail network and will need to use the compass more extensively. Checkpoints are on major terrain features such as boulders, tops of hills, and edges of forests.

  • Brown/Green/Red/Blue Course (Advanced, 3-8 miles):  The expert/advanced courses are all of the same difficulty level but vary in length. The navigation is tricky with few re-location features. These courses are designed for older teens and adults with advanced navigation experience and good physical conditioning.


SCORE-O (Scramble):  Unlike the Standard course listed above, in Score-O events, competitors visit as many controls as they can, in any order, within a specified time limit (e.g. 90 minutes). The controls are worth points, sometimes different amounts based on difficulty. There are usually penalty (minus) points for each minute that you finish over the time limit. The winner is the person with the most points; scoring ties are broken by the faster time. There are many variations of the Score-O; some of the more popular ones are listed below:


  • Night-O: Held at night-time. Controls are typically marked with reflective tape and participants use headlamps or flashlights to assist with navigating in the dark.

  • String-O: Used with preschoolers and primary grade children. Checkpoints are placed along a string so children can easily move from one checkpoint to the next.

  • Trivia-O: Mostly used in urban settings or at large buildings such as schools, malls, or museums.  Participants much answer a question about the control site to prove you reached the checkpoint.

  • Relay-O: Each team member does a course and tags the next team member.


SPRINT: A sprint is a regular course design, but with shorter distances and expected times for the faster racers. Expect to take approximately 1/3 of the time you typically spend on an orienteering event. Emphasis is placed on decision making and keeping your place on the map as there are typically more controls than a typical event and a lot of route selection opportunities.

GOAT (or Billygoat / Minnegoat): A long-distance endurance event that is usually a Standard point-to-point course. In addition to increased length (and climb), a goat usually differs from standard point-to-point courses by having a mass start, and often includes special rules such as permission to skip a control, the option to select which of two "equivalent" controls you want to visit, and a group of controls that can be visited in any order.


NIGHT-O: An event that is held after dark is called a Night-O. The event might have the format of a point-to-point course or of a Score-O. Bring a headlamp!

ROGAINE: ROGAINE is a "backronym" for Rugged-Outdoor-Group-Activity-Involving-Navigation-and-Endurance.  The race itself is a long version of a Score-O with time limits of 3, 6, 12, or 24 hours.

ADVENTURE RACE: Adventure racing is typically a multi-disciplinary, team sport, in which teams of 2-4 participants find checkpoints via running, biking, and paddling.  MNOC’s adventure races are typically 4-8 hour events, but other races throughout the U.S. can be anywhere from two hours up to two weeks in length.

ADVENTURE RUN: MNOC usually offers a few Adventure Runs during the year. These are typically evening events and courses are an intermediate navigational challenge, often with a fun/unique challenge during the event. 

NATIONAL MEET (formerly A-Meets): National meet status is given to the highest-quality orienteering events.  In order to receive such a designation, the event must be sanctioned by Orienteering USA (OUSA). There are a variety of criteria that must be met in order for OUSA to give its approval, both in terms of the courses offered and the organization of the event.  National Meets are typically 2-3 day events.

At national events, you enter a "Class" rather than a course. Examples of classes are "F40+" and "M-21+". M or F refers to male or female. "+" after the number means anyone that age or older can enter the class. "-" before the number means anyone that age or younger can enter the class. A class with a course color in the name (e.g., "F-Orange") is an open category (not competing for awards or places).

SKI-O:  Ski orienteering is similar to point-to-point foot orienteering, except that competitors are on cross-country skis.

BIKE-O:  Bike orienteering is similar to point-to-point foot orienteering, except that competitors are on mountain or cyclocross bikes.

PERMANENT COURSE:  MNOC’s permanent courses are available year-round and can be explored at your leisure.  These courses are specifically designed for those who are new to orienteering, and can be done on your own or with friends and family.  And it’s a great outdoor activity for Scout troops or youth groups.

bottom of page