English O-words

(An attempt to be helpful from the O-Net in October 1995.)

I would like to know the best English word describing the distance between two controls in an o-course. In Norwegian this word is called strekk, and some English suggestions are route, lap, leg, stretch and trek. I hope anyone can tell me the right word to use. Thanks for any replies! Oystein Bjorke

Hmmm.. Depends what you’re trying to say. Some thoughts:

I think you probably want leg: I made a big error on leg 2 when I ran up the wrong hill.

But you could also say I made a big error on the way to control 2 when I ran up the wrong hill or even I made a big error on control 2 when I ran up the wrong hill.

Route would normally be the actual way you went between two controls: What route did you take from 1 to 2?

Lap: The first runner in a relay team runs lap 1. It’s much more commonly used in athletics: Seb Coe is now on the last lap of the 1500m.

Stretch is what all good orienteers are meant to do before they start a race. It’s also slang for a prison sentence. It is also defined as a continuous journey or a straight part of a course in Chambers English Dictionary. I don’t think many people would ever use it, but you could say something like I did a long stretch on a track on the way to number 2.

Track is another word for path, as used in the above example.

All of the above are of course in English. No doubt Americans, Aussies and Kiwis have their own versions, to go with their setters and vetters. Some time back I remember a request for an orienteering glossary in several European languages. Perhaps it’s about time we had one in the several English languages 🙂

England and America are two countries separated by the same language. George Bernard Shaw (Bet that’s the first time he’s turned up in r.s.o)