Gunston Hall

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September 27

Gunston Hall

Pre-registration was required but is now SOLD OUT; there is NO day-of registration.

Welcome to the first QOC event of the 2020-2021 orienteering season and our first event since last March on the grounds of George Mason's gracious estate, Gunston Hall. The terrain at Gunston Hall includes forest of varying density, open fields, historic structures, and bluffs along the Potomac shore. Keg Good has designed full set of classic courses (white through blue; full stats with course setter comments are posted below) with some parts of the longer courses entailing a road crossing to Gunston Hall's property on the west side of Gunston Road, which we have not used before. QOC is happy to welcome back all our orienteers to this year's Gunston Hall event by waiving the $5 grounds fee surcharge. It's a challenging time for us all, and we appreciate the willingness of both our members and non-members to come out and enjoy a great day in the woods!

To ensure a safe orienteering event in the current environment and in accordance with the Governor of Virginia's Phase III COVID-19 plan, we are also implementing the following guidelines and special measures (click this link to view the current QOC COVID Risk Reduction protocol for the 2020-2021 season). PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

  • These guidelines have been adopted to help minimize the chances that you or anyone else will contract COVID-19 at QOC events. However, participation is at your own risk. Please consider not participating if you have an elevated risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Do not attend any event if you are sick or are currently displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, or have been tested positive for it within the previous 14 days.
  • All participants MUST pre-register online. Pre-registration will open via the link below on Monday, Sept. 21 at 12 noon and close at 6pm on Saturday Sept. 26 (the night before the event). Pre-registration is first come, first served, as always.
  • Refunds will ONLY be provided if the event is cancelled.
  • While pre-registering, all participants will select a 45-minute time window during which to show up at the administration table to confirm participation, get maps, etc; please arrive at the administration table during your selected window.
  • These time windows are intended to prevent too many people congregating in any place at any one time; the four time windows--each with 45 available slots for a total of 180 start slots--are:
    • 9:45am - 10:30pm - start course between 10 and 11am
    • 10:45am - 11:30am - start course before 12 noon
    • 11:45am - 12:30pm - start course before 1pm
    • 12:45pm - 1:30pm - start course before 1:30pm
  • All participants will be asked at the administration table to declare that they and their children/youth group participants do not have a fever (body temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • All participants MUST wear face covering when not on their courses, warming up in isolation, picking up controls or engaged in similar remote, strenuous tasks
  • Social distancing will be in effect with spaced lines at all administrative locations as well as at the start. Prescribed distancing is 6 ft (2m) between individuals and/or groups.
  • No food items will be provided
  • Especially IMPORTANT: Participants are responsible for bringing full canteens, camelbaks, bottled water in a backpack or other portable water containers with them to meet all their individual or group hydration needs before, during and after their courses; a very limited supply of bottled water for emergency use will be stocked on hand; it is vital to stay well hydrated during September in northern Virginia, so please come equipped!
  • E-punches and compasses will be available as normal and will be sanitized after each use
  • Port-a-johns will be available near the registration area with hand sanitizer
  • NEW! There is no planned, on-site beginner instruction, but beginner are encouraged to watch relevant videos such as this one created by QOC's instructional guru David Onkst
  • There will be two different starts, one for White, Yellow and Orange and a second for advanced courses and a minimum of common first points among courses
  • Please avoid bunching up at controls or the finish; let the punching individual clear the control before you move in to punch
  • Although we all normally enjoy socializing before and after our runs, this season QOC will follow a policy of "Come, run, leave" to minimize risk to participants
The entrance to Gunston Hall (see directions below; overview map here) is about 600 meters beyond the Pohick Bay Regional Park entrance on Gunston Road. Please drive with particular caution as you enter Gunston Hall. The first 300 meters of the entrance road is curvy and hemmed in by vegetation reducing the visibility of oncoming vehicles. Parking will be in the lot adjacent to the visitors center. The parking lot and the registration site right across the entrance road from it will be easily discernible as you drive in. The administrative area set-up will be similar to our usual way of doing business at Gunston Hall but with more spacing between sign-in, map pick up, and the e-punch table to allow for social distancing lines at each step of the process.

Guided Tour Included: As noted above, QOC will not be collecting the usual $5 Gunston Hall ground fee surcharge at this year's GH event (see new QOC fee schedule here). Participants are still entitled to take one of the guided tours of the Hall offered during the day at no additional cost. However, the tour schedule is substantially reduced from its usual frequency. Tours will be available on the hour starting at 10am, with the last tour at 4:00pm. The tours will be limited to about 10 people, so signing up early is highly recommended. Just identify yourself as a participant in the QOC orienteering event at the front desk inside the visitors center to sign up. Also, please wear your face covering when inside the Visitors Center or on your mansion tour.
To learn more about Gunston Hall, the home of the principal designer of the Bill of Rights, George Mason, visit the Gunston Hall website.

Any youth or large groups attending must pre-register online; additionally, please contact the Event Director for his situational awareness.

Additional notes:

  • Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash at all times.
  • Spikes are not allowed in the Visitor Center.
  • Please respect the out-of-bounds areas shown on your course map.
  • You're Invited! Along with the course setter for this event, Keg Good, QOC veteran Sidney Sachs will host a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29 of September at 8 pm to review selected Gunston Hall course legs and analyze the routes various orienteers took. Please contact Sid for the invite link.


Gunston Hall, Main parking area, Lorton, VA (Classic)

RegistrationAdvance pre-registration (with payment) was required via this link but the event is now SOLD OUT. For this event, registration will open at noon on Monday, Sept. 21, and will close at 6pm on Saturday Sept. 26 (the night before the event).
Who's registered? Check by clicking here. Sorting by column is possible too - just click on the column name.
Start TimesParticipants will register in advance for a specified 45 minute check-in window (including map pick-up), starting at 9:45am until the final window from 1:15-1:30pm. Each window will be limited to 45 "starts" (solo individuals or groups).
ScheduleSunday, September 27
10:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Classic: Event Director:Charles Carrick
Classic: Course Setter:Keg Good
Location Details

Gunston Hall
Main parking area
Lorton, VA
Google Map

From southbound I-95, take exit 163 (Lorton). Go left ontoLorton Rd at the end of exit ramp. Go under the 2nd overpass and turn right onto Lorton Market St (Z-pizza is in the shopping center on the left), then go about 1.5 miles to the traffic light at Route 1. Go straight through light (the road name changes to Gunston Rd) and go about 4 miles to the entrance to Gunston Hall on left (identified with orienteering sign; overview map here.)
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 1.3158
Yellow 2.76011
Orange 3.79013
Brown 412511
Green 5.815016
Red 7.218517
Blue 8.725520
Course NotesClassic

All advanced courses (brown/green/red/blue) cross Gunston Road. Use of the road crossing point marked on the map ) ( is mandatory. Please heed any directions from the volunteer crossing guard who will be positioned at the crossing and will hold up runners until any oncoming traffic has passed. In order to keep the map clearer, there are not controls on either side of the road. However, there are many common controls near the road crossing, so after punching please move away from the control immediately. The logical route does go thru the crossing point. There is a small parking area there so there may be cars along the road. Although the crossing is marked on the road and has signs, use care. Cars are usually speeding. Please stay safe. Beyond the crossing is virgin map. The area across the road is mostly light green with knee high vegetation.

Out of Bounds: There are several out of bounds or do not enter signs. Ignore these. You need only pay attention to out of bounds areas as marked on the map. However, please also respect private land, marked with either black or burgundy stripes.

Map: This area consists of a large field with the start and finish surrounded by woods. The woods are either very open or some shade of green. Most of the reentrants are steep. Intermittent creeks in the bottom of reentrants may be in ravines. Reentrants often have downed trees crossing them making running up or down difficult. Course map scale is 1:10000 for orange through blue courses.

Map corrections: I made some but did not review the whole map. Many of the downed root stocks with tree trunks x- now consist of only the rootstock without the trunk. Indistinct trails were left as they were on the original map even though they may have changed.

Vegetation: With one week out, the lower fields to the south of the parking area have not been mowed. Elsewhere, there are patches of the grass in the woods that obscure your feet. The new map section consists of a plateau with 12-36" high huckleberry bushes. At my height (5’6”), its not hard to go through. They are not dense so you can always weave through them.

Please be aware of chiggers. Insect repellent is a necessity. Ticks have not been a problem, yet. And remember that water for sharing will NOT be provided at the start, finish or on the course, so bring your own if you wish to have it.

Hydrology: with one week out, the reentrants have a little more water that mapped. Portions of the map below (south of the mansion) are wet. The ground itself is firm.

Entry FeesIndividual Entries

Note: juniors = under 21

Club Member, adult Club Member, junior Non-Member, adult Non-Member, junior
$10 $5 $20 $5

Group Entries

Participants are welcome to orienteer together as a group (up to the maximum for that event; usually 4). Each member of a group is charged their individual rate as shown above, up to a group total of $30 (maximum), and each receives a map. Individuals or groups desiring to compete on a second course can do so for a reduced fee of $2/map.

Important Notes
  • If you wish to become a QOC member you should join online in advance 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 will be loaned one for that event. Loaned epunches that are lost incur a $40 replacement fee. Epunches (also known as SI-cards or finger sticks) can be purchased from online vendors as described here.
  • Former QOC members who have let their membership lapse pay non-member fees.
  • Compasses are available at no charge, but if lost incur a $15 replacement fee.
  • Please provide collateral (such as car keys) when borrowing a compass or epunch.
  • Free beginner instruction is always available - just ask at the registration table. While COVID-19 policies are in effect, please check out instructional videos online such as those mentioned above in lieu of in-person/at-event instruction.