Seniors on board for orienteering
FOR Liz Bourne, orienteering is a sport for life.
The publicity officer for the Bullecourt Boulder Bounders said the navigational skills learnt from the activity were valuable at any age.
That's why the group has been keen to share their passion for the sport with more senior members of the community.
The Boulder Bounders will host a bush orienteering course on the Granite Belt this morning, as well as a park and street orienteering event beginning from Leslie Park next Sunday as part of Southern Downs Seniors Month.
"Orienteering is a really fun way to exercise both the brain and body while exploring the town,” Ms Bourne said.
"It's as mentally stimulating as it is physical, and as a thinking person's sport it means someone who isn't a good runner could still out-compete the faster contestants if they have good navigational skills.
"We've been involved with seniors month for a few years and feel the park events are a good way to introduce people to the basics of the sport in a nice friendly environment.
"People can get an idea of orienting maps, which direction to go in and how far something is without being out in the bush where visibility and terrain is more difficult.”
Ms Bourne said the sport also tended to be quite social, with between 30 to 50 people attending the regular club events.
"People are able to talk to their friends about what they saw on the route and how they handled different aspects of the run,” she said.
"If you don't want to be competitive you can just stick with your friends and do it for fun.
"As long as people can walk and handle the terrain there are few impediments to orienteering.
"We've had people who have started out in park orienteering and have then stepped up to the more challenging bush courses.”
A lifelong lover of the sport, Ms Bourne emphasised how orienteering is suited to any age.
"We do find people who find a love of it at a young age will stick with it but that doesn't mean you can't learn as a senior,” she said.
"It's a good family sport too, so you will often see three generations competing.
"My own mother only gave it up when she was 88 but at the recent World Championships I was at in New Zealand there were people in their 90s competing.”
The park and street orienteering event will run from 3-4pm next Sunday, August 20, starting from Leslie Park.
Over 60s can attend for free. For more information, phone Liz on 46836374.