Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


ESOC Ultrasprint 2023

Image of the Saughton Park map

Sun 20th Aug 2023

Info updated: 21st Aug
Type of event: Other
Type of terrain: Parkland


Results are here

Overall results are here

Winsplits are here

General Information

Planners Comments

The circular maze was intended to give a fun challenge to competitors, aiming to disorientate them by forcing them around the maze in a couple of the middle rings that had limited number of openings.  Only five minutes into the event this (did someone say evil?) intention could be described as mission accomplished.  It was tremendous fun watching orienteers young and old whizzing/wandering around the maze, some of them doing many laps, and many of them smiling (at least, I convinced myself of that!).  Hopefully, the other parts of the courses showed off the variety within Saughton Park, inter-mingling safely with footballers, skaters, garden-strollers and dog-walkers.  I heard at least one competitor appreciating the bonus maze element in the rose garden.  Thanks to everyone who helped on the day, especially those that turned up early to help set up, and those that stayed late to help dismantle.  And special thanks to Martin Caldwell who kept me right with setting up the maze, both in the software and in the real world.

Michael McPhillips, Planner

Organisers Comments

This "Fun event" was as much fun as ever, on a sunny afternoon in a busy park, with lots of spectator interest and the circular maze providing plenty of mental challenges to contrast with the pleasant easy running around the park.   There are plenty of mental challenges in devising and setting up the Maze, and also in computing the composite results, but once up and running this is a lovely relaxed event.  Grateful thanks to all who helped to make it possible.

Janet Clark    Organiser. 


BACKGROUND: The Ultrasprint is a fun event and is much more 'social' than our other events. Hopefully the weather will be kind and it will be an ideal opportunity to bring a picnic and socialise after running. 

EVENT FORMAT: Controls in a Maze combined with some park orienteering. The challenge is to navigate around the controls in the Maze quickly and cleanly. The fastest runner may not be the most accurate. It is entertaining for the spectators and makes a very welcoming, sociable, fun event which everyone can enjoy.

TERRAIN: Saughton Park is a smaller city park with areas of grass, individual trees and small patches of woodland. The Rose Gardens offer a complicated network of paths and grassy strips together with uncrossable walls and hedges. All the flower beds are mapped as private land and must not be crossed.  The park is well used by the general public, especially in good weather, including dog walkers, runners, walkers, and families out for a picnic.  Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering. 

Other attractions in the Park include an outdoor gym, a mountain bike 'pump' track, playing fields and play area.

TIMING: Sportident (SI) timing will be used. The SI units will not be SIAC-enabled as this is doesn't work in the Maze.  All controls must be manually punched.

TOILETS are available within the courtyard close to Registration/Download

Dogs: Dogs are allowed at the event so long as they are kept under very close control at all times. We cannot however allow dogs in the maze so this means they are not allowed on any of the courses.

COVID:  Please don’t come to the event if you have Covid or symptoms of Covid or are unwell. Please respect other people’s space. 

FIRST AID: The Organiser will have a very basic first aid kit available.   

The main hospital for A&E services in Edinburgh is:

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
51 Little France Crescent
Old Dalkeith Road
EH16 4SA
Telephone: 0131 536 1000

MEDICAL CONDITIONS: You have the option of downloading and completing this Medical Form. It could be life saving if the organisers are aware of any existing medical conditions in the event of an incident. You can leave it at registration/enquires in a sealed envelope that will only be opened if required and destroyed or handed back to you after the event.


map location

Nearest town: City of Edinburgh


Meeting point: The event will be based at the side of the Ford’s Road (western) car park. The base will be near the cafe buildings.  NOTE: The pin on the map is shown on the edge of Saughton Park at the Ford's Road entrance where there is a car park (see below). 

Public Transport: If you live in the city it should be quite easy to reach this event by bus.  Check Lothian Buses to plan your route. It may help to know that is Lothian Buses services 3, 25, 30 and 33 have a stop called Saughton Park on Gorgie Road near the junction with Ford’s Road. Follow Ford’s Road over the river bridge to the event arena. Buses 1, 2 and 22 have a stop called Whitson Crescent on Stevenson Drive. This is near to an entrance to the park from which a tarmac pathway takes you SE through the competition area (past a few controls) to the event arena near the café buildings. 

By Bike: If you live in or close to the city, you'll find it easy to come to the event by bike. An official cycle path crosses the park from Balgreen Road to Ford’s Road, and passes right past the cafe buildings in the Park.   

By Vehicle: The Ford's Road western car park is approached by Ford’s Road from the junction of Stenhouse Avenue and Stenhouse Terrace. Follow signs for Saughton Sports Complex. Cars cannot approach via Ford’s Road from Gorgie Road, as the river bridge is for pedestrians and cycles only.

If, as is very likely, the car park is full you may have to park in surrounding streets. If this happens please be considerate to locals. 

Registration & Start Times

REGISTRATION: 1pm to 2pm

START and DOWNLOAD: These will be very close to Registration.

START TIMES: 1st race:  13.30 – 14.30      2nd race:  up to 15.00      3rd race:  up to 15.30

please arrive in plenty of time to complete all your courses by the course closure time of 16.30.

There are no allocated start times.  First start is from 13.30 as above and the start procedure is described below under 'Course Information'.

DOWNLOAD: You must download immediately after you complete each course. You are then free to clear your SI dibber and start your next course.

Course Information

There will be 4 separate courses. Courses 1, 2 and 3 will each be around 1 - 1.5km in length and all visit the maze at some point.  These courses will not have control codes in the second column of the control descriptions.  It is up to you to make sure, by accurate map reading, that you are at the right control. The winner's time is the combined time for Courses 1, 2 and 3. A penalty of 2 minutes will be added to your time for each control wrongly punched. 

You will be allocated to a course for your 1st run at 'check' then join the other queues when you come back for your 2nd and 3rd runs. In the past maps have been re-used and you only got to keep one copy; this year you will be given a new map each time, plus a maze map, and can keep them all.

The 4th course is a maze only course and this will have control codes in the usual way. 

Explanation of colour courses

  • White are very easy with all controls on paths. They are mainly used by 6-10 year olds and family groups.
  • Yellow use simple linear features like paths, walls and streams. They are mainly used by under 12’s and family groups.
  • Orange progress to basic use of the compass and route choice. They are ideal for novice adults or experienced youngsters.
  • Light Green are ideal for improvers as the navigational difficulty begins to increase and uses simple contours and point features.
  • Green are used mostly by experienced under 18’s and adults wanting a short but challenging course with a very hard navigational difficulty.
  • Blue are a longer, more physically demanding course in comparison to the green. The distances are more varied between controls and the course attracts experienced orienteers.
  • Brown & Black are very physically demanding and have a very hard navigational difficulty. They are for experienced orienteers only.
  • Score means visiting as many controls as possible in any order in a specific time, like 45mins.

Entry Details

Advance entry via Race-signup is required.  Entries are open and to guarantee a set of Ultrasprint maps please enter by 2pm on Tuesday 15th August. Online entries will remain open until 9am on the day of the event, subject to maps being available.

There may be very limited entry at the event but this will be subject to maps being available.  You must do this at Registration between 1pm and 2pm and PLEASE BRING CASH if you possibly can. Payment by card will incur a 25p handling fee.  Payment by bank transfer at the event may also be possible.
It is much riskier in terms of cost to ESOC to order large numbers of extra maps when there are 4 for each competitor so we strongly suggest you pre-enter by the guaranteed map deadline which is given above.


Senior: £7

Junior: £4

Entry Fees cover all four courses and each competitor will have at least 3 maps to take home. 
There is a MAZE ONLY OPTION, which will be free, aimed at young children.

Note that a Senior is someone born 2001 or earlier and a Junior is someone born 2002 or later.  Matriculated students will normally be eligible to enter as Juniors and pay junior fees - check out RaceSignUp as before.

Free SI card hire, if required, but £30.00 charge will be made if lost. Note that SIAC will NOT be used for any controls. This would not work because of the maze.

Contacts / Officials

EMAIL for advance enquiries

Organiser: Janet Clark 

Planner: Michael Phillips, assisted by Martin Caldwell

Safety and Risk

A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.

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