Out of Left Field: DU Orienteers

Committee members Becca Payling, Christian Schweizer, and Adam Harmon assure that the DU Orienteers will remain active despite uncertainties due to the spread of coronavirus

Especially in the given circumstances as Dublin faces Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions, it is hard for many Trinity sports clubs to be active. Committee members for the 2020/21 year Becca Payling, Christian Schweizer, and Adam Harmon are clear that the DU Orienteering Club will remain as involved as possible. For those unfamiliar with orienteering, it is a competitive sport that combines running with navigational challenges. This particular sporting club provides an opportunity for those that enjoy running or walking for long distances to get adventurous and explore new places around the country!

“If map reading seems intimidating, especially if you are a bit directionally challenged, Payling is adamant that it is nothing to worry about.”

Payling, the current Captain of the club, hopes to continue the recruiting process and spread her love for orienteering to others. She works hard to ensure that the club is very inclusive, saying: “We take everyone at all levels. The added map reading is a skill you can pick up easily, and of course we are outdoors and can operate a bit easier than many other sports clubs!” So, if map reading seems intimidating, especially if you are a bit directionally challenged like me, Payling is adamant that it is nothing to worry about. Club Secretary Schweizer says that the reason he joined was to have the “opportunity to see some nature in Ireland” in a “relaxed” way. Another plus is that the Orienteers’ events are free.

Harmon, another committee member, is passionate in his love for the sport and always encouraging more students to get involved. He says: “Orienteering is a great sport to do at any level. It’s a great way to improve your fitness and get some fresh air, but if you’re not into running it can be very relaxing and scenic.” Especially since students will be attending classes online, this is a club that will hold events outdoors in a safe manner for free. “It is a good fit for anyone,” Harmon enthuses.

He has a long history of interests that align perfectly with orienteering. “I have always been huge into the outdoors and will find any excuse to go out into the hills for the day. I have hiked and camped out in the mountains for as long as I can remember,” he remarks. “[Orienteering] seemed like the perfect combination of all these interests.” It definitely offers like a way to get outdoors and also fit in those daily 10,000 steps. Payling even had participated in orienteering when she was younger, but regained her love for it when she came to university.

“Although traditional orienteering may not be able to take place, Payling is determined to make the most out of this year and give members the best experience they can safely have.”

Perhaps most importantly, the DU Orienteers are hoping to remain as active as possible under these unprecedented circumstances. Although, as Payling says, “a lot of the events [the club] would normally be attending all over Dublin and Wicklow have been postponed.” They are currently focusing on “introducing people to the sport in a training session” and offering “a range of orienteering courses through a new app launched this year that allows for socially distanced orienteering.” Although traditional orienteering may not be able to take place, Payling is determined to make the most out of this year and give members the best experience they can safely have.

The club held an event last year where members travelled to Edinburgh, which is documented thoroughly on the club’s Facebook page. Schweizer seems to have particularly enjoyed the trip and scenery. While this club is perhaps not very widely known, Harmon says it is just “underrated”.

In a time where so much of sport is uncertain and unsafe under Covid-19 guidelines, the DU Orienteers are able to safely operate and provide a space for Trinity students to experience nature and improve their overall fitness.

Shannon McGreevy

Shannon McGreevy is the Sports Editor of Trinity News, and a Senior Fresh student of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.