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About Courses

A course is the challenge that the runner plans to do. In most competitions courses are graded - from Easy to Hard. The grading depends on both distance and navigational difficulty.

As you move through various navigation sports, you will encounter three main types of course - Score, Scatter and Line Courses.

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Score Course

This is the most common type of course in our series.

The challenge in a Score Course is to accumulate as many points as possible within a given time; all rogaines are score courses.

In some score courses, all controls are worth the same - so it really comes down to visiting as many controls as possible. More commonly, controls are worth different numbers of points - in a rogaine, the first digit of the control number tells you the value of the control.

The key benefit of score courses is that "one size fits all" - one can put say 20 controls onto a map and then let the participants decide how far they will walk or run.

Score courses require an additional skill - due to the severe penalties for arriving back after time. The ability to plan a route that is achievable in the time allocated with options that can be added or dropped as time runs out is paramount. 

If you've never done a Score Course before - check out Score Course Strategy for Beginners.

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Scatter Course

In a Scatter Course, the course setter tells you how many controls you must visit to complete the course successfully.

In Street-Orienteering, there are usually several scatter courses - check out the map to the left. The A course has to visit 17 control, while the other courses get progressively less. Novice runners are encouraged to start with the C or D course to get familiar with the concepts first.

For more info - check out Your First Scatter Course

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Line Course

The Line Course is the most common type of orienteering course; all orienteering competitions use this format - with the winner being the fastest person that completes the course successfully.

To do so requires the runner to visit controls in order - as shown in the map to the left. The challenge for the course setter here is to provide interesting "legs" between controls - to provide the runner with alternative routes that test the runner's ability to determine which is fastest and perhaps safest.

Line courses are usually graded - Easy for beginners, Moderate for budding navigators and Hard for experienced orienteers.

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