Eileen Breseman and son Ryan, 6, at the U.S. Championships for Orienteering where Breseman won a gold medal.
by Deborah Stone
Eileen Breseman of Maltby won the woman's 35 age class event in the 1996 U.S. Orienteering Championships held Oct. 26-27 in Indiana.
She adeptly navigated her way across a wooded 4.8-kilometer course with 235 meters of climb on hilly terrain using a map and compass. Breseman had to make quick route choice decisions and maintain a fast pace to successfully win in her class.
Orienteering is a sport which is slowly gaining in popularity in the U.S., although in other parts of the world, particularly Scandinavia, it is widely known and attracts many participants and spectators.
Breseman, a mother of three, began orienteering in 1984 when she enrolled in a course offered through the Experimental College. Since then, she has become a member of the Cascade Orienteering Club and participates in monthly meets, as well as national and international events. This is the first time she has won a gold medal in the National Championships.
What attracted her to the sport? "I like the terrain and being outdoors," Breseman said. "It has taken me to many different places in the U.S. and abroad, and the people are friendly folks."
She added that the sport provides levels for all abilities. "I was able to participate when I was pregnant and when I had knee problems. It also doesn't involve a lot of equipment, just a compass, map, and some good shoes," she said.
Her training regimen includes interval and long distance running, swimming, and working out with weights. Her husband, Rick, also competes, and together they discuss and analyze their route choices after meets.
Breseman said she looks forward to future competitions and is continuing to hone her skills. She is very excited about winning and says she's "ready to do it again next year."
For more information on the sport of orienteering, call the Cascades Orienteering Club hotline, 783-3866.