30 Years of Orienteering   Leave a comment

My orienteering career started 30 years ago today, June 9th 1990, when I first went to an orienteering event of my own free will.

I had been sent to a few races by my army unit, but I didn’t know that civilian or sport orienteering existed. Then I saw an ad in the newspaper, several months in advance, for a race at Birya Forest, not far from home, and I noted the details.

On the appointed day I turned up with my girlfriend Galit, registered for the “medium” course, and set off. I finished third in H21B, asked if there were any prizes (no), and went home. But, as we were leaving, Galit picked up a registration form for the Israel Sport Orienteering Association, and the rest is history.

I could write a book about what I’ve done in orienteering since then. Oops! Done that already. Now I remember that when I wrote about it in the blog I promised to publish some of the charts, but I haven’t done that yet. Meanwhile, I’ve published my training log for the last 23 years (since it became digital), including GPS tracks – here’s the link, and I’ll keep it updated every month or so:




Posted 09/06/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Restart   1 comment

Orienteering (and other sports) events are now officially allowed again, and the first actual race was in Odem Forest, probably the most suitable for this time of season – there won’t be much orienteering here in the heat of summer, as usual.

My endurance is more than OK, but I have no competitive speed and I’m not worrying about it until September, so I ran this at a brisk jog. It’s my map, so I had no problems reading it, but the terrain is tough in any case and it seems that every year it gets stonier. Apart from a lapse in concentration at control 7, I had a relatively smooth run and I really enjoyed getting out on a proper course at last. I finished the 7.1 km course in 68:27, meaning that Roni, who ran her 5.6 km course in 53:49, was slightly faster than me: mainly because of my mistake, but they all count, and it shows how much her fitness has improved over the Corona period. I think it’s given her some motivation to try and keep it up next season, despite the stresses of kids and teaching.

My next race might be in… September. It’s starting to get hot, and there’s not much of a program yet for the summer. One thing, unfortunately, is for sure – I won’t be travelling abroad.


Posted 02/06/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Independence day   Leave a comment

Wednesday was our (72nd) Independence day. So was Thursday – because lockdown restrictions on sports activities were lifted, having been limited to a 500m radius from home for a couple of weeks (and 100m before that).

I celebrated first by running a sprint course in the permitted radius, and then by trying to create a GPS Star of David in the terrain, which was not easy. I had the course planned out and an excellent map of Zippori, but the undergrowth at this time of year is terrible. It came out quite well, though it’s not very obvious from the view on Strava that each straight line is 1 km.

Independence day

It is now possible to train outside individually, so I can run freely again. Races are still not allowed, but orienteering training events are being held, with various restrictions. The main problem is that it’s starting to get hot and the effectively the season will end in a month or so, with no permission for urban events yet. By the start of next season we’ll be living in a different world, but I’m sure we’ll be orienteering properly again.

Posted 02/05/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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More O Corona   Leave a comment

I’m lucky to be still working full time, but together with three small children at home that severely limits my spare time, so I don’t have the opportunity to participate in even a fraction of all the virtual O that’s happening in the world. But keeping fit and orienteering are still top priorities, so these are some of the highlights of the past few weeks:

  • My Orienteering maps memory game has well over 1,000 views, so obviously someone, somewhere in the world, is playing a lot. There are now 12 different map sets there, so you can choose the type that suits you, and get a good feel for Israeli terrain at the same time. Note: If you send me a set of 24 square map images, 200-300 pixels, I can add them to the game.

Corona Strava

  • I’m running within a 100m radius of home, which makes for a really boring track on Strava, just like some of the other Israeli orienteers. Mine is the top left one (obviously an iPhone is not as accurate as a GPS watch).

  • I’m doing more indoor fitness work than usual, mostly using Fitness Blender. So is Roni, and working out together is nice. We’re both going to finish this period fitter and fatter.

  • I’m having to prioritize my podcasts, because I usually listened to them during my commute, or on long runs, and both are gone so they’re piling up on my phone. The highest priority now is The Run In, which I discovered a few months ago after it was casually mentioned in CompassSport. As far as I know it’s the only regular orienteering podcast in English, and listening is great fun. Well done!

  • I used to play a lot of Catching Features back in the day (mid 2000’s?), but the game died off during the last decade. Now it’s going through a renaissance, with lots of competitions and players, and some fantastic maps. I’ll try to participate in all races of the Catching Features World Cup, but I’m a lousy gamer so my results will be mediocre at best. I’m also pleasantly surprised by the number of courses available for beginners – Alon (almost 9 years old now) is running (playing?) them regularly now, together with some of the sprint maps, almost always finishing successfully, and learning a lot.


Front garden

  • Garden-O.


There’s a good chance that the restrictions will be eased a little after this weekend, with the 100m radius around home increased to 500m, and maybe even further for individual sports, but the children are still going to be at home. At least I’ll be able to get some proper running done.

Stay healthy!




Posted 17/04/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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O Corona   Leave a comment

Not much happening, is there?

We’ve been under severe lockdown since last Wednesday (March 25th), meaning that you can’t travel more than 100m from your home without cause. For the two weeks before that no organised events were allowed, and there was no school,  but we could go out as a family and Roni and I could run at will. Now I’m limited to the circle on the map, which luckily offers me a few options for interval training.

Before Wednesday, the plan was to set controls out in various forests and allow people to download the maps, print them, and train alone or in pairs (which was explicitly allowed). Hopefully we’ll be back to that status (at least) within a few weeks.

Until then, there are lots of armchair orienteering solutions, and I’m contributing my part with an improved Memory Game (matching pairs). There are 5 different maps to choose from, and I’ll regularly be adding more. Some of them are a real challenge, even without the full 24 pairs.

Enjoy: https://public.tableau.com/views/OrienteeringMapsMemoryGame/Memory

In general, we seem to be in a better situation than most countries at the moment, except for the enormous economic effect on many people. I’m still working full time from home, and Roni is working partially but her teacher’s position and salary are safe, so we can count ourselves as lucky. Let’s hope it ends quickly and safely.

Posted 30/03/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Friday the 13th   Leave a comment

Our annual Rogaine was planned for Saturday, 14th March (today), in the Ramot Menashe area, about 20 minutes from my home. I’ve been working on it for a year – mapping an additional 25 km² of terrain, planning, marking controls, updating the old part of the map, and more.

As the week progressed, most of the discussion was about the weather, with a “storm” predicted to start on Thursday evening and die down on Saturday morning. On Wednesday we made a final decision to go ahead, despite a forecast for some light rain during the day. We had 4 and 8-hour categories, and a 6-hour bike category which was cancelled. We also added some Corona virus precautions.


18:00 – I pick up the maps from Ziv, the ISOA general manager.


8:45 – Ofer and Yoni arrive at my house with the control flags and stands. I brief them regarding their set of controls.

9:00 – Pavel arrives with the SI units. We start dividing up the equipment.

9:10 – Yaniv arrives and sets off with his map and controls.

9:30 – Pavel and I set out (separately). On the way, I drive through a cloudburst.

9:55 – Ofer reports the first control as agreed, with a photo on the Whatsapp group.

10:00 – I place the first of my controls, in steady rain. The rain stops after that.

10:20 – Yaniv can’t find the ribbon at 71, and verifies the location by video.

10:25 – Pavel can’t find the ribbon at 52, I guide him to it using Whatsapp video.

10:50 – Ofer can’t find the ribbon at 93, but there’s no doubt about the location.

12:00 – Pavel can’t find the ribbon at 64, but he’s in the right place for sure.

12:15 – After placing 5 controls, I meet up with Gidi and Roi in the assembly area. They’ve brought an ATV and are going to place some of the less accessible controls. I’ve got one control left for myself.

12:37 – Just as I’m stopping the car to go to the my control, Ofer calls me. There’s a new government directive stopping all sports activities, with immediate effect, because of Corona.

12:39 – Noam (ISOA chairman) calls me. We discuss it, but there’s no way around it. Only training for individual athletes with no physical contact is allowed. No Rogaine tomorrow. We’ve placed 19 out of 30 controls, over an 80 km² area.

12:43 – I call Pavel to tell him to stop. He’s just placed a control, so he picks it up and goes home.

12:45 – I call Gidi, just before he places his first control. We agree to meet off the road nearby. Ofer is on the way as well.

13:00 – We meet. Gidi and Roi haven’t done anything yet, so they’re going to pick up as many controls as they can. We’ll find some volunteers to do the rest tomorrow.

13:30 – Gidi picks up the first control.


15:50 – I pick up the last control (with Alon, my son). There were several volunteers, of course, so this was the only one I did.


To say that I was pissed off yesterday is an understatement. We’ll probably hold the Rogaine in the end (that’s why the map below is without the controls), but it will probably be next year. The terrain was really beautiful, the streams all flowing after unprecedented amounts of rain in the winter, and I don’t think we’ll have such conditions again soon. But it could have been worse:

  • Saturday could have been a beautiful day – it wasn’t. In the end it was quite dreary, with a few mm of rain as well.
  • They could have stopped us an hour later, after all the controls were placed.
  • We could have postponed because of the weather, and been stopped by Corona on Sunday (after the original date).

The country is gradually descending into lockdown, as expected. Currently orienteering can still go on, because we can place controls in the forests and give people maps, and they can orienteer individually. Let’s hope we all get over this and return to normal as soon as possible.



Posted 14/03/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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A Close Run Thing   Leave a comment

Last weekend was the Israeli Championship, the main focus of my season, with the goal of winning H40. Both days were near home – the first in Balfour Forest, a steep slope with very runnable forest and lots of tracks, and the second in Beit Keshet, not as steep, mostly semi-open with few tracks and fine vegetation and rock detail.

Based on the results of the previous races, I was obviously the favorite to win, but I wasn’t taking any chances and trained hard over the last few weeks. My plan was to run all-out on day 1, where the orienteering would be easier, and slow down for the technical stuff on day 2. I was also hoping to go into day 2 with a large lead (for a change), so I could run with my headcam.

In the end, it was much closer than that. We had good weather on the first day, and a fast course which I finished well, but still 33 seconds behind Tomer Weiner (though several minutes ahead of anyone else). I had one mistake, at control 11, which probably cost me the race, but there was another day ahead.


Day 1 – Balfour

Overnight it poured, and at Beit Keshet we had intermittent rain, and the ground was a mud-bath. The course was very technical and very tough, and for some of the time I was running blind – both because of my glasses fogging up, and because I couldn’t see the difference between the light green and orange on the map (I still can’t, sitting at my desk). Everyone was making mistakes, and apparently I made the least – my rough orienteering was spot-on and I lost relatively little time at controls. I beat Tomer by two minutes (3rd place overall  was 10 minutes behind him) and won my 5th championship in H40, out of 6 attempts (2010 – failed, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020). But it was close – below is a chart of the gap between us over both days:

IOC Splits

The highlights from day 2:

  • 1 – Got snagged on the fence and lost 20-30 seconds.
  • 2 – I think he just ran much faster than me.
  • 5 – A textbook exercise in aiming off.
  • 6 – Lucky – I was just starting to slow down and landed on the flag. There were complaints later on that this control was hidden…
  • 8 – Lost at least a minute looking too far down.
  • 10 – Running blind, but I kept my direction, identified the patch of trees just south of the control, and found it.
  • 11 – Looks easy, but I couldn’t find it and then ran into it by mistake.
  • 14 – Went down too early.

Day 2 – Beit Keshet

Roni ran D21A as usual (she’s nearly 39, but there’s no competition in D35) and finished second, just like last year. She was beaten by Bar Kalkstein, who is just over half her age and was Israeli champion two years ago as well (at 17) – definitely our most promising female orienteer for a long time. But the story of the women’s championship was our club-mate and great friend Bar Zrihen, who has been orienteering for almost 20 years (I used to coach her), but always ran D21B or C. This year, at the age of 33, she started running regularly and competing in D21A, and won the first day by 7 minutes! Then, at control 10 on day 2, she simply couldn’t find it and lost 30 minutes (her GPS track shows that she ran about 3 km looking for the control). I started 10 minutes after her (H40 and D21A are the same course), and if she’d only seen me passing through she would still have won the championship with a few minutes to spare. I wouldn’t have thought twice about giving up my race in order for her and Roni to be on the podium together, so when I finished and she wasn’t there yet I was devastated, but she didn’t really expect to win so she got over it faster than I did. Maybe next time?

Posted 28/02/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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A Tale of Two Races   Leave a comment

I haven’t blogged for a while, because I’ve been busy with other aspects of life, but over a busy month I still managed to do some orienteering and compete in two races.

The first day of the Winter Cup was held on Friday 13th December at Nahal Hashofet, a new map of a partially known area. It was after the start of a period of unprecedented rain throughout the country, so the terrain was very wet, though it didn’t actually rain during the event. The second day was postponed due to flooding of parts of the map, and later cancelled.

I came into the race at peak fitness, planning to win H40 (reminder – I’m 51). This was made easier, but much less fun, by the fact that my good friend and rival Oded Verbin broke a leg at a local event a few weeks previously and is out for the season. I had a good race on a technically easy course, with only a small miss at control 11, but it was very physical and I didn’t expect to beat all the younger guys. In the end I won by over 4 minutes. Remembering that I finished 4th in both the previous league events, which were sprints, I seem to better in rough terrain and on hills. And in better shape.

Roni also won D21A, so she’s the women’s Winter champion.


Nahal Hashofet

After that we went on Safari in Tanzania with Roni’s family, missing several nice events. I managed only one short jog there, and had other issues at home, so I came into the next league event at Kfar Hahoresh out of shape. This is where I planned the Israeli championships last year, so I know the terrain better than most, but I didn’t expect to win. I wasn’t even planning to run, but at the last moment Roni’s parents took charge of the kids and enabled me to join her at the race.

I started well. Control 1 was used last year, so I knew exactly where it was. Then I lost about 4 minutes at no. 2 (not sure about the mapping, but I was at fault anyway), slowed down a bit, and started orienteering properly. The course was tough, with lots of running in terrain and tricky features as controls, and I won again, this time by 6 minutes! Not sure what my competitors were doing, as I felt really slow.

So – two races, totally different preparation and mental mode, same result. I’ll stay in H40 because it’s still the category that fits my abilities best, and I hope to win the Israeli Championships next month (no complacency – I’m training hard). Until then I’ll try to get out into the forest as much as possible, because that’s where the fun is…


Kfar Hahoresh

Posted 18/01/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Map Memory   Leave a comment

Part of my job is working with Tableau, a leading data visualization platform, and recently I had an idea for creating a memory game (matching pairs) using the software. When I succeeded, I posted it on Tableau Public, which is free for everyone to access, and then I added a set of orienteering maps as the pictures (the default set is colored emoticons). Anyone can open the page and play – note that you have to select the “Orienteering maps” theme on the left, and that refreshing the page rearranges the “cards”, so they’re not always in the same locations: https://public.tableau.com/profile/dan.chissick#!/vizhome/MemoryGame_15741092815080/Memory


I’ve made the same game with triplets instead of pairs, which is a bit more difficult: https://public.tableau.com/profile/dan.chissick#!/vizhome/MemoryGame-Triplets/Memory


I’m not looking to make a business out of this, but it has potential, for two reasons:

  1. Tableau Public is free and can be accessed by anyone on the internet, with no limit on use. The games even work on a mobile phone, and the page can also be embedded in a separate website.
  2. The games are scalable – with very little effort I can add additional themes (all I need is a set of 24 images: other maps, IOF symbols, etc.) or increase the number of pairs, though I think 24 is enough as the maximum.

So feel free to play and share, and if someone wants a customized version or has any suggestions you can contact me at dchissick (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Posted 30/11/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Is Green the new Olive?   Leave a comment

Last Saturday, at exactly the same time as the controversial World Cup race in China (the one with the mass non-disqualification which denied us a first ever world cup victory), we had a League event at Ne’ot Kdumim with similar issues, but no controversy, apparently because no-one cares enough about the results – which says something about our ranking system.

Basically, it was a sprint race on non-urban terrain, and the organisers decided that the new ISSOM 2019 standard was to be used. The main issue there is that the 100% green colour is now defined as impassable (and forbidden to cross), and there is no 100% green/50% black as before.

This map has lots of green, mostly thick bushes in open, rocky terrain, and mostly passable if you’re stubborn enough. Despite the fact that the rules were made clear on both the website and the noticeboard at the event, most orienteers that I talked to after the race didn’t have a clue that they weren’t allowed to pass through the green, and had done so at some point. In addition to this, many edges of the bushes are vague enough, so you don’t really know if you’re in the forbidden area or not.

I had an almost perfect race and enjoyed it, finishing 4th in H40. I’m not complaining, but there are some issues here:

  1. The new mapping standard doesn’t cover many types of “green” vegetation. Technically, most of the bushes on the map should now be 60% green, but that doesn’t represent the reality on the ground.
  2. There is a divergence between the regular orienteering mapping standard and sprint orienteering, which is going to cause lots of confusion.
  3. Organisers should make sure that the rules are applicable on the maps they use.20191026_NeotKdumim_Route

The previous weekend we really kicked off the forest season, with two events hosted by my club, which I enjoyed much more despite some really tough climbing. I ran the first one at Bar’am properly, and the second one at Amuka the day after, with no control flags, using Roni’s map – which is why my track misses controls 4-5 (I knew I hadn’t found them exactly, but couldn’t be bothered to go back and make sure).

The one in the family who’s participating in all the events is Alon, on the children’s course. He’s slowly improving and can finish a sprint course with minimal intervention, but needs some more help in the forest. Following him is always fun.






Posted 02/11/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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