Orienteering – fancy a go?

In a city as big as Bristol, you would have thought that a sport that can be played just about anywhere would fit in, right? Well, orienteering is exactly that. From the city centre to the Clifton Downs, this exciting competition can take place at any place imaginable. And yet, for a sport so universal it is relatively small and that is where UWE Bristol needs you, our great students, to get involved.

Hugely influenced by his parents, Ben Mitchell is a veteran orienteer and has been taking part for as long as he can remember. Now at 24, he is really hoping to see the sport grow in the next few years and the goal is to include it in the Varsity Series.

“I compete for Swansea Bay Orienteering Club and my best result is a Silver Medal at the British Middle Distance Championships earlier this year.”

You may be wondering what orienteering is? You should think of it as a cross country race mixed with a time trial. Teams get given a map at a starting position and the objective is to find all markers on the map in the fastest time.

Ben explains that “you get to travel a lot which is great, every race is somewhere different.

‘It would fit well for Varsity and it would be a good spectator sport. You can run it in relays, teams of three get given a smaller map each and each person goes one at a time.’

Currently in his second year, Ben fits in his orienteering around studying Forensic Computing and Security. He is really hoping that Britain, and Bristol, can reach the heights of Scandinavia when it comes to orienteering. The sport is massive over there, and Ben and his girlfriend often travel over to compete.

“In June, my girlfriend and I are going over to Finland to take part in a relay competition they hold at the equivalent of the BBC over there.

And this is where you come in. As students at UWE Bristol, we need to help Ben get orienteering the popularity it deserves. Not only a great competition but a fantastic way to keep fit, Ben is urging people to get involved.

‘I really hope it gets bigger in Bristol. We only have two people at UWE Bristol involved and it’s difficult to get people interested. Even if we were to go from two to four members it would be enough to form a club.’

Currently we are short of a team to be able to compete in Varsity and we, along with Ben, would love to change that. So why not come along get involved?

Contact Ben Mitchell for university involvement or Bristol Orienteering for general enquiries.

Max Baker – B.SC Journalism 3rd Year

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