All welcome for orienteering championships 

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Winning orienteering races isn't about running fast, it's about running smart — using your brains to plot the shortest route between checkpoints, to think a few moves ahead and to stay focused on the goal while your body and the terrain under your feet are battling for your attention. That's why it's sometimes called "cunning running."

Whistler is hosting the B.C. Orienteering Championships on Sept. 22 and 23, and organizers are hosting a clinic on Tuesday, Sept. 18 to teach people how to race. The clinic takes place at Spruce Grove and gets underway at 5 p.m. The $10 fee includes the clinic, timing chip rental, a handout that explains orienteering map symbols and control descriptions, your membership in the Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club (GVOC) and a $10 discount for the actual competitions on the championship weekend.

Members of the GVOC will be on hand for the clinic, which will include three short (roughly 10 minute) exercises of increasing difficulty that will turn novices into seasoned beginners with enough knowledge to compete in the championships, and any orienteering event in Canada.

For people familiar with orienteering, there is a practice orienteering race from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with participants getting 45 minutes to find as many checkpoints in Lost Lake Park as they can. The winner is the individual with the most checkpoints.

Both the clinic and race are open to everyone from age 15 and up, and for all fitness levels. Wear a good pair of trail running shoes and clothes you don't mind getting dirty or ripped.

The B.C. Orienteering Festival, which includes the championship, includes three very different races.

• Long Distance — Saturday at noon is the start of the long distance race in Lost Lake Park staged from the Passive House at the entrance to the park. This is a 45-minute race where competitors see how many checkpoints they can find before the horn. If competitors find all the checkpoints or there's a tie, then the winner is the first racer back to the start. There are seven different courses for different age groups and experience levels.

• Short Distance — Sunday morning at 8 a.m. is a sprint format race in Whistler Village with checkpoints scattered around the Village Stroll. The top times are expected to be between 12 and 15 minutes, based out of the Whistler Olympic Plaza.

• Middle Distance — Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. features a high-alpine race based out of the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain. Registration includes a ticket up the Whistler Village Gondola and a Peak 2 Peak sightseeing ticket.

Registration is available online at until 11:50 p.m. on Sept. 15. The long distance race is $25 for adults and $15 for juniors, the sprint is $20 and $10 and the middle distance race is $30 and $20, which includes the lift pass valued at $50 for adults.

There is also a banquet on Saturday night at the Old Spaghetti Factory available for $22 for adults and $10 for juniors.

Participants can rent an "SI Stick" for $2 per day, which works with the electronic timing system and control points. Compass rentals are also $2 per day.

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