Science City Sprint Races

Two orienteering sprint races in Cambridge

Saturday 7th May 2016

Map extract

Experience some exciting urban orienteering

On Saturday 7th May, WAOC and DrongO present a UK Urban League event of fast exciting urban orienteering with two races in two areas in Cambridge - Trinity Science Park and North Cambridge urban residential.

Two sprints

Each competitor runs two sprint races in one morning and you choose a short or a long rest between runs.

Optional team competition

Entrants in all classes excluding juniors are eligible for an overall team competition, with 4 people per complete team. More information.

Newcomers welcome

A specific newcomers course is available and is eligible for the team competition. More information.

A UK Urban League race

Part of the UK Urban League. Times for both races will be added for the purposes of league scoring.

A Southern England Orienteering Urban League race

Part of the Southern England Orienteering Urban League. Times for both races will be added for the purposes of league scoring.


Prizes for the competitor with lowest combined time for both races in each class, and also for the winning team.


If you spot any errors in the results, please contact


Officials' comments

Peter Duthie - Science Park (race 1) planner

Caroline’s maps of the lawns, lakes and car parks of the Science Park provided a more ‘macro’ introduction to sprint before the ‘micro’ challenge of the courts and passages of North Cambridge, but comments suggested that courses were enjoyed. New construction projects and cutting back of vegetation kept the planner and controller on their toes – one walkway was chopped in half in the days before the event. We put effort into taping the more tempting gaps in the ‘do not cross’ vegetation so it was disappointing to see a very few competitors running through landscaping marked as ‘do not cross’. Such behaviour can imperil future access – do we need to have numbers worn on backs as well as fronts? Thankyou especially to Ben S for helping put out controls and Iain for the festoons of red tape.

Ben Windsor - North Cambridge (race 2) mapper and planner

This was definitely the most complicated area I have mapped and I spent a long time widening narrow passages, so it was good to see that people commented on this. The final maps didn't actually print as sharply as the blank proof print I had seen, but it seems that nobody noticed this and it didn't cause any issues. The local kids enjoyed playing games jumping out at runners, but didn't get as far as damaging any controls, so the security wires did their job and everything went smoothly. Interestingly my courses were around 400m (based on course 1) shorter in actual running distance than Peter's courses from the Science Park, but had relatively similar winning times, presumably due to people slowing down in the maze of houses! My favourite control was 182 (number 17 on Course 1) in the washing line area. Thanks to control hangers Matthew and Zuzka, and thanks to CUOC's control collecting helpers meaning we had everything collected within 30 minutes of courses closing. [Note to self from assistant organiser - ensure dibbers get back to download before people go out control collecting!] And of course to the rest of the organising team!

Ben Stevens - assistant organiser

Firstly I want to thank the rest of the organising team for ensuring the event was a success (or even took place at all!). Ben Windsor (along with Helen Bickle) helped get the event off the ground in the first place and helped me with my job (like finding DrongO helpers) as well as spending a huge amount of time mapping and planning. Peter Woods spent a large amount of time behind the scences managing Fabian4 entries, the BOF event listing, team entries, start times, SI setup and post-race processing etc. Helen Bickle got the event going and instigated the team competition, and did most of the organising work like arranging assembly at the Cambridge Regional College. Caroline Louth and Peter Duthie spent a lot of effort mapping and planning respectively in the Science Park. Also, thanks to everyone who helped at the event.

I'm really glad the event went so smoothly and people seemed to enjoy it (helped by the weather I think). I had thought it was a bit ambitious to have the complication of two races (and having to combine times for results without the use of multi-day event software) as well as a team competition, and was slightly dreading trying to ensure the results were ready in time for the prize giving. However, thanks to a cobbling together of existing methods and a little bit of extra effort, especially from Peter Woods, we (just about) managed this. And the teams competition was much more popular than we initially thought it would be!

Helen Bickle - organiser

With plenty of pockets of good sprint areas, a two sprints day has been a vague idea amongst some WAOC members for quite awhile but it wasn't until DrongO's Ben Windsor planned a training night from his house last summer that the Science City Races was developed. When I suggested the two areas/two clubs to the WAOC Committee for an event in say 2017 or 2018 - I was delighted by the enthusiasm but a little shocked by them wanting it this year.

Thank you to everyone that made this event possible and especially for everyone's undiluted enthusiasm throughout. From the comments I've had the courses and areas were very well received.

I would especially like to thank:

Ben Windsor for finding, mapping and planning North Cambridge. Peter Duthie for agreeing to plan on a slightly less technical area and planning wonderful course. Simon Errington for going beyond his controller role with calm solutions to logistics. Caroline Louth for brilliantly mapping, remapping and remapping again the ever changing science park. Ben Stevens for being more of a co-organiser than assistant and amongst many other things the fantastic website.

I would also like to thank Advance Performance for donating the bibs, Tescos for their donation which enabled us to buy the flowers for the prize giving and especially Hally Hardie for his skill in crafting the mushroom prizes. If you are a winner that missed the prize giving but would like your mushroom, please email me at Also if anyone has any photographs from the prize giving, our photographer sadly missed it, I would be grateful if you can email them likewise to

I would also like to thank Cambridge Regional College for accommodating our assembly, especially the Sports Centre Manager Nicola who visited the Centre on her day off, and our repeated requests to be allowed more entries. Saturday is normally a quiet day for them and thank you for your patience that it took awhile for the second car park to be opened (apparently the gate is controlled by a very clever, if slow, computer system) and with the catering staff being stretched (remote delivery was a new idea and trialled at our event).

Lastly but not least thank you to everyone that attended and I'll echo one newcomer's comments that you are a friendly community so thank you for making it a fantastic event.

Lost property

The following lost property has been found.

Please contact to arrange return of lost property.

Final details

Updated 03-May-16

When and where

Saturday 7 May 2016

Cambridge Regional College, Kings Hedges Road, Cambridge CB4 2QT


By car

Leave the A14 at junction 33, signed Milton. Take the 3rd exit onto the A1309 signed to Cambridge. After 700 metres, turn right at the traffic lights by the Golden Hind pub onto Kings Hedges Road. After 600 metres turn right into Cambridge Regional College (this will be signed with orienteering signs).

Alternatively leave the A14 at junction 32, signed Histon/Impington. Take the 3rd exit onto the B1049 signed to Cambridge. After 250 metres, turn left at the traffic lights onto Kings Hedges Road. After 1.5 km turn left into Cambridge Regional College (this will be signed with orienteering signs).

Parking is free. Please note the additional car park at the north of the College will close at 15:45 – you will need to move your car elsewhere if you intend to stay after this time.

By public transport

From Cambridge Station, catch the Guided Bus (Busway A) towards St Ives from Stop 9. There is a bus every 15 minutes (see timetable) and the journey takes 20 minutes. The Regional College is the stop immediately after the Science Park stop. Alternatively, catch the Citi 1 from bus stop 7 towards Arbury which runs every 10 minutes but takes slightly longer.

Assembly and facilities

Assembly is in the Cambridge Regional College sports hall, adjacent to the car park. The hall should be accessed directly via the doors on the SE side of the building. This will include dibber hire, bib collection and download and plenty of space for waiting between runs.

Toilets and showers are available up the stairs from the hall.


Ultrasport will be in attendance.


Cambridge Regional College will be providing catering at assembly, which will include the following.

Assembly layout

Start and finish

Timings and race format

The event consists of two separate sprint races, one in the Science Park and one in North Cambridge. Times for both races will be added to determine the overall results, which will be used for individual prizes, league scores and BOF ranking points. Everyone will run the Science Park race first, followed by North Cambridge after a break (how long is up to you). Please remember to download between races.

Race bibs

Competitors are required to wear race numbers. Please bring pins if possible. Numbers will be the same as your Fabian4 entry number, and should be collected from assembly.


Course Classes Science Park North Cambridge
Length/km Controls Length/km Controls
1 M Open 2.8 18 2.7 20
2 W Open, M40+, M/W16- 2.2 15 2.3 23
3 W40+, M55+ 2.1 16 2.7 21
4 W55+, M65+ 1.8 14 1.5 18
5 W65+, New 1.5 13 1.2 14
6 M/W12- 1.1 11 1.1 11

Lengths shown are straight-line distances. The shortest sensible route is approximately 25% further. There is minimal climb on all courses. Courses are planned to British Orienteering Sprint guidelines with expected winning times at the lower end of 12-15 minute for each age group for each race so the winners are expected to run for just over 24 minutes in total. (Note that course lengths shown on control descriptions for the North Cambridge race will be the length of the shortest sensible route.)


Special symbols Both maps are drawn to sprint standard at 1:4000 with 2.5m contours, printed on A4 waterproof paper. Control descriptions will be printed on the map. Please ensure you are familiar with the forbidden to cross symbols. Anyone crossing these features will be disqualified. Special symbols and forbidden to cross symbols are shown to the right. A full legend is available here (not on the map).


SI punching is being used. Most controls in the Science Park will use stakes as usual and most controls in North Cambridge will be attached to objects using wires (but these will not obstruct punching).

Planners' notes

The Science Park map makes extensive use of the impassable vegetation symbol (green-black). Please make sure you use the mapped gaps in hedges rather than attempting to fight through them. There will be red and white tape in some places to reinforce this, and these tapes must not be crossed. This particularly applies to an area immediately after the start.

The North Cambridge terrain is a council estate with many narrow passages and frequent turnings. The most complex part, visited by all courses except course six, probably offers decision points about every 20 metres. The area also includes a park which is briefly visited by all courses. Course 1 runners may encounter a closed (but not locked) gate in a low fence. It is not marked on the map and is fine to be open and run through.

Clothing and footwear

Shorts and vests are permitted. The Science Park terrain is a mixture of tarmac and grass, and North Cambridge is mostly tarmac with some grass. Trainers (or rubber studded shoes if you prefer, or if it is very wet) are recommended.


Courses have been planned to avoid busy roads but please take care when crossing any road or car park. All the North Cambridge courses except M/W12- cross minor roads.

Ensure that you run within your capabilities. Do not jeopardise future use of the area through reckless or inconsiderate running which causes annoyance or injury to others. Please give way to all non-orienteers at all times. Members of the general public may not be expecting to meet runners and cycling is popular in Cambridge so please watch out for cyclists.

The Science Park contains deep lakes and streams, and while no controls are placed by water features, parents are asked to ensure that children are aware of the need to take care.

Be aware that there are construction sites on the Science Park - these are marked as out of bounds on the map and well fenced off.

You must report to download at assembly, even if you abandon your race.

All competitors take part at their own risk.

First aid

A first aider will be based at Assembly and there are also first aid kits at both starts as well as Assembly. The nearest hospital for accident and emergency is Addenbrooke's, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ.

Team competition

Entrants in all classes excluding juniors are eligible for an overall team competition, with 4 people per (complete) team. . If you have not already formed a team you may do so on the day before the first member of your team has run. More information.


There will be individual prizes for the competitor in each class with lowest time when their times for both races are added together. There will also be a prize for the top three teams.


A photographer will be taking photographs for publicising future orienteering events. If you would prefer not to be in any image, please let the information team know your bib number.


Entries will remain open through Fabian4, here, subject to map numbers and an upper limit of 350, until the end of 05/05/16.

Entry fees Seniors Senior BOF members Juniors/ students
By end of 05/05/16 (subject to map availability) £16 £14 £5
SportIdent card hire (electronic chip timing) £1


Please email for any enquiries.



We would like to thank the following for their contributions to the event.

  • Cambridge Regional College for the sports hall, food and parking
  • Cambridge City Council for permission to use the North Cambridge area
  • Cambridge Science Park for permission to use their area
  • Chris Fry and SLOW for loan of SI boxes
  • Hally Hardie for crafting the trophies
  • Advance Performance for providing the bibs
  • Tesco for a contribution towards prizes
  • Everyone who has volunteered to help at the event
Advance Performance

The team competition

Description of the team competition

A team is any group of 4 (or fewer, if you wish to enter an incomplete team) individual entrants who declare themselves to be a team, and provide a team name, to the organisers prior to date of the event or on the day prior to the first start time of any of the individuals in the team. The only restriction is that junior courses are not included (MW16- and MW12-). However, anyone running in the newcomer class is eligible.

For example, a team could consist of two newcomers entering the Newcomers class, an M55 entering Supervet Men 55+ and a W21 entering Women Open.

Team results are calculated according to the finishing position of each of the individuals in their chosen class, separately in each of the two races. The 8 (or fewer for an incomplete team) scores for each team, that is 2 scores (one for each race) for each of the 4 team members, will be combined. (Note that each team member must be running in a class which allows them to be competitive as an individual, so running up is allowed but not “running down”.)

So for a team of 4, the scores might be as follows.

The team with the highest score is the winner.

There will be a prize for the winning team.

How to enter the team competition

Each individual can declare a team name when entering online (or amending their entry online) - there will be an option to enter a team name. Please note, this is separate from specifying your Orienteering club; irrespective of whether you are part of a team you should include your club membership as normal when entering (or as IND for independent if not a member of an O-club).

It will help us if you provide the names of your team mates in the “additional information” when you enter.

If you decide to form or join a team after online entries are closed, you can do so by sending an email to the organiser.

On the morning of the event, you may be able to inform registration of a new team or a change to a team, as long as this is done prior to the first start time of any individual on the team. However we cannot guarantee being able to deal with this on the day, so you are advised to declare teams in advance. No changes to teams are allowed after the first runner’s start time. No changes to teams will be possible for the second race.

Information for newcomers

What does this event involve?

This event consists of two races, which you run one after the other, and you can choose how long to wait between races. These races are called 'sprints' because they're short by orienteering standards (a 12-15 minute winning time), but you don't need to run if you don't want to – some orienteers choose to walk and it's better to walk in the right direction than run in the wrong one! Note you run these races as an individual (unless you are more comfortable running with someone else) and the team competition is based on adding together individuals' results, as described above.

Each race is like a time trial with people on the same course starting at different times. Immediately after you start you pick up the map for the course you are running and the aim is to complete the course as quickly as possible.

A course consists of a number of control points (say 20) you must visit in order followed by a finish point. The course you run is determined by which class you enter, and your result will be given within your class.

A control point is marked by an orange and white 'flag' on the ground and a purple circle on the map (and there are special symbols for the start and finish - a triangle and a double circle respectively). We use an electronic timing system which means you wear a chip on your finger that you 'dib' in a box at the start, each control, and the finish, which records your time and the fact that you've been to each control. You must visit each control in order else you will not get a time for the course.

For the purposes of this event, your overall individual result within your class will be determined by adding your times in each of the two races.

What equipment do you need?

You should wear whatever you would usually wear for a run (or walk) around somewhere like Cambridge. The only other piece of equipment you may want is a compass. Since this is an urban race, a compass is not a necessity, but it is useful to be able to quickly orientate yourself when travelling at high speed (if you have one with a fast-settling needle). The electronic timing chip can be hired (the entry system will assume that you want to hire one if you do not enter a SI card number) and collected on the day at the event.

How to enter

Enter online via Fabian4. Below is a summary of how to do this. If you need additional help, please contact us.

Having followed the above link, click the 'Enter' button near the top of the page. Fill in your contact details in the first two steps (if you do not belong to an orienteering club fill in IND for independent in the club box) and on Step 3 fill in event specific details including the following.

Class: You can choose to either enter the Newcomer class or the class appropriate for your age and gender, as given in the details above. The Newcomer class will have a course that is technically easier than the other courses, and will also be shorter than most other courses. If you are a confident map reader there is no reason not to enter your age class. Note that it's your age on 1st January which is used in calculating your age class.

Parent split start: This enables one parent to have a flexible start so parents can take it in turns to run.

Start time: You can choose a start block (early, late etc.) for your first race when you enter. Exact start times will not be allocated, but we may allocate time blocks if entry numbers are high which would be published nearer the day of the event.

Start near competitor: If you would like to a start time near an already registered friend, fill their number from the start list.

Event options: Parking is free but may be limited so please let us know if you are bringing a car.

The next screen, Step 3A, allows you to choose whether you would like a short or long gap between runs and you can also enter the team competition in advance. You can wait until the day to enter a team as long as you enter before any members of your team start.

Finally, go on to check your details and pay.

Where should I go on the day of the event?

Go to the Cambridge Regional College and follow the arrows to the sports hall (which is where 'assembly' is located). You should aim to arrive at assembly at least 30 minutes before your start time to give yourself time to collect your race bib and SI card (if hiring one), and then walk to your first start. The starts for each race are very close to assembly.

There will be an enquires table where you can ask someone for any information you need.

How to read the map

Our maps are drawn specifically for urban orienteering with their own legend and colour scheme (which is very slightly different from forest orienteering maps). A legend containing all the different symbols can be found here. Please familiarise yourself with the forbidden to cross symbols. Anyone seen crossing/passing through a forbidden-to-cross feature will be disqualified. Examples include walls and fences marked by a thick black line on the map, and buildings marked as dark grey on the map.

For examples of maps similar to what we will be using, see the 2015 Cambridge City Race map or the 2015 London City Race map (but note that the courses for these are much longer than ours will be as they were not 'sprints').

More about orienteering

To learn more about orienteering, see the British Orienteering website.

Still unsure?

Please email if you have any unanswered questions.