North American Orienteering Championships 2016 to be Held at Dartmouth College


August 15, 2016 

Dartmouth College and Orienteering USA are pleased to announce that the North American Orienteering Championships (NAOC) 2016 will be at Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., September 23-25. Held every two years, alternating between Canada and the U.S., NAOC is North America’s largest orienteering event and is sanctioned by the International Orienteering Federation as a regional championship.

The program will be comprised of middle, long and sprint courses, each of which are International Orienteering Federation World Ranking Events (WRE):
• Friday, September 23: Middle (WRE) at Storrs Pond/Oak Hill
• Saturday, September 24: Long (WRE) at Burnt Mountain
• Sunday, September 25: Sprint (WRE) Elite Sprint Relay on Dartmouth’s campus – Although most orienteering events are typically held in the forest; for this race, Dartmouth’s buildings and streets will serve as the primary navigational aids.

<<For participants, please see NAOC’s website for details on embargoed areas.>>

At the 2016 NAOC, International Orienteering Federation medals will be awarded to the top three seniors and juniors for each individual event (M-21+, F-21+, M-20 and F-20 classes). In addition, North American winners in the M-21 and F-21 elite categories of the NAOC 2016 will receive automatic starting slots at the 2017 World Orienteering Championships in Tartu, Estonia. Elite runners from the U.S. and Canada will also be competing against each other for the Björn Kjellström Cup and the Future Champions Cup.

“The first orienteering events in North America were held at Dartmouth on November 20, 1941, and were organized by Finnish Army Officer Piltti Heiskanen, who taught recreational skiing and physical education for the college. Dartmouth is thrilled to serve as the co-host of the North American Orienteering Championships 2016, as it’s an opportunity for our 75 year history with the sport to come full circle,” said Brian Kunz, deputy director of the outdoor programs office at Dartmouth. “We hope that participants enjoy coming to Dartmouth for this orienteering event,” added Kunz.

Over the last 20 years, Dartmouth alumni have been members of U.S. national orienteering teams for the World Championships, World Games and World Cup competitions while others have served as event directors, course setters and organizers.

Orienteering is a competitive international sport that combines racing with navigation-- participants must find and pass through a series of checkpoints marked on a special topographical map as quickly as possible. There is no marked route; competitors go anyway that they want, using a compass and highly detailed map to select routes and navigate through unfamiliar terrain. Orienteering is sometimes referred to as “the thinking sport” because in addition to athletic ability, it involves map reading and quick decision-making. Participants range in age from 10 to 90+ years old, including many that just want to get outside and enjoy nature.

The NAOC 2016 is open to everyone and beginner instruction and courses will be available. The public is encouraged to participate and the campus event on Sunday, September 25 should be especially fun for newcomers. Volunteers are welcome and needed. Information on registration and fees, and other details is available at: