Morven Cowboy Relay

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November 3

Welcome all orienteering Cowboys & Cowgirls! This webpage explains what the Cowboy Relay is all about; for information on the regular/classic orienteering courses also taking place here, please see this event webpage instead.

So what is this? Basically, this set of courses is technically known as a motala. Named after the city of Motala, Sweden, a motala consists of several short orienteering course loops all starting and finishing at one point. Think of it as a one-person relay, where each relay leg is actually one (short - like, 1 km) orienteering course and you run 4 or 5 legs. We're calling this a Cowboy Relay for two reasons: Morven Park is well known as an equestrian center (and you just might wind up leaping off some horse jumps), and, it's a tip of the Stetson to orienteer Mikell Platt, who uses the term annually for one of his fine Laramie Daze events.

This event offers two three main distance options., and a third option if enough people beg for it. The three distances are:

  • The Cowpoke Relay (by popular demand!): 4 loops totaling 4.3km
  • The Shawnee Trail Relay: 5 loops totaling 6.5km, with 115m of climb and 20 controls
  • The Chisholm Trail Relay: 5 loops totaling 8.8km, with 155m of climb and 28 controls
Both have in common their first 4 loops (loops 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D'), but the last loop for the Chisholm relay is 2.3km longer than the last loop for the Shawnee. Orienteers will have a random ordering of their first four loops; so for example, one runner may be assigned the order C-A-D-B while another will be assigned D-B-C-A, but then both will finish with their 5th and final loop. Since it's a mass start (at High Noon), this also means that as you start your final loop you'll see where your competitors on the same relay course are relative to you. Update: All Relay maps will be printed at 1:10,000 scale, with 5m contour intervals.

Update 1Nov: This course has now been added - see the Cowpoke, above. Want to beg for a shorter relay? If we get enough folks requesting in advance (i.e. before Friday) a shorter relay, we'll let them run just the 4 loops (totaling 4.3km), but we'll need to know this in advance so we can set up the epunch software correctly. Remember, this is pretty flat terrain, and you're encouraged to run either the Shawnee or Chisholm (or a regular/classic course, white through green), so 4.3km might be just too darn short to be worth your while, no?

Pre-Register Now! To minimize confusion as the High Noon mass start time approaches, we are only guaranteeing map packets (i.e. the stack of 5 maps, one per loop) to those who pre-register. No payment is required. All you need to do is to email Valerie Meyer no later than Saturday at 10pm, saying which Cowboy Relay (Cowpoke, Shawnee or Chisholm) you want to do and your name, plus (1) if you are a current QOC member, and (2) if you will need to borrow an epunch or a compass. That's it!

For additional information about Morven Park, please see the event page describing the classic-courses event. And don't forget: set your clocks back one hour late Saturday night.

Questions? Just use our Contact Form!

Morven Grounds


Morven Park, Sports Field Parking, Leesburg, VA (Motala)

RegistrationEmail Valerie Meyer telling her your name, which relay you will run (Shawnee or Chisholm), if you are a current QOC member, and if you'll need to borrow an epunch or compass. That will guarantee you a map packet, and you can pay at the event. If you have not emailed Valerie by Saturday 10pm, we can not guarantee you a map packet, but we will try to accommodate all walk-ups at the event.
Start TimesAll relays start at exactly High Noon. Reminder - Set your clocks back one hour late Saturday night, or your High Noon won't match ours!
ScheduleSunday, November 3
12:00 pm - 3:00 pmMotala:
Event Director:Jeremy Gillespie
Course Designer:Sam Listwak
Location Details

Morven Park
Sports Field Parking
Leesburg, VA
Google Map

From most directions to the south: Take the Leesburg By-Pass (Rt 15) around Leesburg, then go North on the Rt 15 By-Pass to just beyond the turnback to Business 15. Turn left on Tutt Lane (Rt 740). Continue 1/2 mile to the Morven Park entrance on the left.
Course DetailsMotala
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
Short Advanced 4.39014
Medium Advanced 6.511520
Long Advanced 8.815528
Course NotesMotala

Overall, the courses are in open flat terrain with almost all of the climb located between the last control in any one loop and the Start/Finish.

The park consists of open fields separated by tree lines. Running is generally very fast and easy, climb is minimal and control locations may be a bit tricky, but not overly technical. Please respect any areas marked on the map as out of bounds. These generally tend to be fenced horse corrals. DO NOT CLIMB THE FENCES SURROUNDING THESE CORRALS, PLEASE TREAT THESE FENCES AS UNCROSSABLE AND DO NOT ENTER THE CORRALS. If a route is indicated that crosses these fences, it is intended as a route choice option to make the runner go around the fences using a route that they feel is the most efficient. There are numerous black X’s marked on the map (i.e. man-made objects), which are, in almost all cases, horse jumps or obstacles. Only the permanent ones are mapped. However, you, as a runner, will encounter other unmapped temporary jumps scattered throughout the park. The park changes the location of these other temporary jumps on a frequent basis and subsequently they are not mapped. You will have to just ignore their existence. The trails mapped through the green vegetation areas do exist and will offer route choice options.

Entry FeesIndividual Entries

Note: juniors = under 21

Club Member, adult Club Member, junior Non-Member, adult Non-Member, junior
Epunch Owner $5 $5 $10 $5
Epunch Borrower $10 $5 $15 $10

Team or Group Entries

Although we think most participants will run all legs, we will allow groups to run the relay as a team. Teams containing one or more nonmembers are charged the nonmember individual rate. Teams containing one or more adults are charged the adult individual rate. For teams to receive member or junior rates, all members of the team must be members or juniors, respectively. For this (relay) event, each team must use a single epunch - make sure to tell Valerie which one it will be!

Important Notes
  • At the event, we can only accept payment in cash or check; online, you may use a credit card or PayPal account.
  • You may become a member at the event or by joining online via this webpage (which also explains the member benefits). Membership is completely optional.
  • Most of our events use an 'epunch' timing chip for electronic timing. Individuals or groups without their own epunch pay a higher entry fee (see above), which includes the loan of an epunch for that event. Loaned epunches that are lost incur a $40 replacement fee. Epunches (also known as SI-cards or finger sticks) are usually available for sale at each event as described here.
  • Compasses are available at no charge, but if lost incur a $15 replacement fee.
  • Please provide collateral (driver's license or car keys) when borrowing a compass or epunch.
  • For additional safety, whistles are available for sale at $1/each.