Online TrailO under the COVID-19 pandemic

The disease COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan last December, has become a global pandemic since March, which has shut down the whole world. Millions of people have been infected and thousands are killed. Borders are closed, mass gatherings are prohibited, and in some regions, the whole society is under lock down which forces everyone to stay home and stops everything.

As a result, no orienteering races can take place now. On IOF Eventor, the final world ranking race before the world shut was held on 14th March in Brazil, with the last TrailO race held on 8th March in Japan. Races up till the end of July have been cancelled.

Starting from April, orienteering clubs around the world have started organising online photo-Os, most are done using Google Forms. Some are held in a format resembling real-world races, i.e. PreO and TempO with start list, mass-start and ranking list. For PreO, the ranking is determined by the number of correct controls (as in real world), then by the form submission time. For TempO, the ranking is determined by the form submission time plus penalty for each control.

HKOC has organised a photo PreO game every year for a few years already to support the World Orienteering Day. Due to the pandemic the World Orienteering Day this year was officially cancelled, but this didn’t affect HKOC to continue making the photo PreO game which was available on the original scheduled week, 13th May to 19th May. It became one of the online TrailO events available around the world under the global pandemic. It has 25 questions and attracted 369 participants around the world, with 1 from Poland getting full score. It is now holding another online PreO which is done using Google Street View so you can actually “walk” along the trails to observe, like a real-world PreO.

Let’s pray for the world and hope that the pandemic can be over soon such that we can travel and do orienteering around the world again.

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