Flying patatoes

The Woudlopers Orienteering Run, the only orienteering run where you need to take three potatoes with you. I hear you think: “what nonsense is he writing now?” It’s very simple: if the Woudlopers ask you to bring three potatoes for the WOR, you do that. No questions asked.

This is going to be our second time participating. Last time we were so enthusiastic that we wanted to register for the next one right away. The Woudlopers define their own event as: “an adventurous running contest […] but slightly different”. It’s exactly that slight difference that makes the difference. In theory it is a contest, but everyone registers because it is so much fun to do. Six hours of running through forests and moorland and at every checkpoint the questions pops into your mind: is this a real checkpoint or a fake one?

Just before ten o’clock the briefing starts. A usual briefing is used to update everyone on the latest information. At the WOR the briefing just adds more confusion.


This year the starting shot is launched by a real canon. The first shot dives into the Kanaal Bocholt-Herentals. The second try reaches the other side of the channel easily. This will be the last CP, but not for us.

Just like last year we take half an hour for the preparation. This year we receive a roadbook and around ten maps. At home we made a nice collage of the maps, if only we had this during the run itself.


It’ll be too much to describe the roadbook in detail, so I’ll stick to some highlights:

Let’s start with a story: to chase the WOR-hunter. Or rather a mouse which is eaten by a cat, which is eaten by a wolf, which is shot by a hunter (with a wooden leg, left leg? right leg?), who is eaten by a bear. (A bear? In Belgium? Really?) The bear is no-where to be seen, but we’ll find a district full of old Masters. They hide in the shrubs and under benches.


At checkpoint D we need to find a bird that chirps. We jot down the first thing we notice that chirps. Later it turns out that that was timber and not the bird that was asked. Most of the other contestants make the same mistake. Stay alert!

Checkpoint 8 is located at the watchtower at the Lommelse Sahara. The roadbook describes: “73.7 meters above sea level. Info on information panel. Photo C.” We don’t bother looking at the information panel. Maybe we would have seen that the platform is 20 cm higher than the CP. And that our CP is not located on the platform itself. At the debriefing we hear that it was located just next to the staircase if you would look down the railing on the outside. Everyone finds the decoy here…

For assignment Y we need to make a composite sketch. Everything works out fine, except for the moustache. Apparently a green bottle doesn’t belong in the green glass container in Belgium? Or did we do something else wrong? Time to dive into the recycle habits of our southern neighbours.

Finally we need our potatoes for test X. All morning they have been flying though Charissa’s backpack. Belgian fries are world-famous and now we’ll do a workshop in how to make them. It involves a canon (again), this time with pressurized air. The potatoes fly around our heads and we’ll make enough fries to receive two additional instructions. And a paper bag with French (?) fries.


Slowly the fatigue kicks in. We’ll record a few decoys after all. At the debriefing we learn that it doesn’t matter if you walk north normally or backwards, both ways get you north.

We’ll look back at a fine day running with puzzles and a good spaghetti afterwards. Maybe this story is a little confusing. The only cure for that is to participate in this event yourself. There’s a small chance that everything will become clear then.


2015 2016
Total CPs 71 86
Total standard CPs 39 61
Total special CPs 32 25
Found CPs 45 (63%) 60 (70%)
Found standard CPs 25 (64%) 37 (61%)
Found special CPs 20 (63%) 23 (92%)
Correct standard CPs 24 (96%) 35 (95%)
Correct special CPs 15 (75%) 18 (78%)

We arrived 5 minutes sooner than last year. This year we had more focus on the special CPs, which worked well. A noticable difference to last year is also the increase in standard CPs. Just like last year we didn’t make it to all CPs in time. Point of improvement for next year?

This year the teams are faster than last year:
WOR2015-time-overzicht WOR2016-time-overzicht

The teams were also better, more CPs has been found in total:
(Lightblue: correct CPs, darkblue: incorrect CPs.)
WOR2015-posten-overzicht WOR2016-posten-overzicht

The same can be seen from the results per team:
(Red: special CPs, blue: standard CPs, light: correct, dark: incorrect)
WOR2015-team-overzicht WOR2016-team-overzicht


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