Crown Beach Crab Cross, Alameda, Sunday 8/2/2009

Event Advertisement | Register onlineRegistration form, waiver | return to terraloco home


There will indeed be running on the beach, with a nice view of the bay and the city. A great venue for showcasing the exciting sport of orienteering. Plenty of onlookers will be checking you out. Just try not to disturb them, okay, they're just trying to enjoy a nice picnic!

Do the course recreationally at the pace of your choice, or join the chase start and get swept up in the current. Either way, you get to do an action-packed course with many twists, kind of like the venerable Goat races, but in a smaller package. Forks, butterfly loops, a window, and your choice of skip should get people pretty mixed up.

In addition to a great course, we'll have water, fruit, snacks, and award certificates for men and women in different age categories: Junior, Open (18 - 40), Submasters (41 to 55) and Masters (56 and up.)

Helpers needed

For free admission on the recreational course, be an event official and help with the chase and stuff. Start right at 9:00 (or earlier is okay) and be done with the 3.6 km (or less) course by 10:00. I'm looking for five individuals, so contact me soon if you'd like to take advantage of this offer. I'll need the help from 10:00 until 11:30.


All participants must register. It's easier if you do it online, and then sign the form when you get there - I'll have it printed for you. (And you can make any necessary changes or updates to the form at the event.) Or you can fill out a form at the registration table. All payment will be collected at the event ($12 adults, $7 juniors and students, and subtract the $2 discount if you registered online.) There's no commitment if you are registered online; no problem if you end up not being able to make it to the event.

09:00 Registration and recreational starts open, City View picnic area
09:00 Prologue course open (to seed you for the competitive chase start.)
10:00 Prologue course closed, competitive participants should gather at remote start.
10:20 Recreational starts close
10:25 Chase start briefing
10:30 First chase start
10:32 Last chase start
11:30 Courses close, awards ceremony


1:5000 scale, simple form line contours, made by Rex in 2008. Custom picnic area symbols; these are marked with large or small P's. Uncrossable fences have thick black lines and two hash marks going around.


Fast, mostly open landscaped parkland with some less-manicured portions. Park amenities include playgrounds, picnic sites, a dog park, softball fields, tennis and basketball courts, fields, some forest, and lots of beach.

Course Statistics

The "Crab Cross:" 20 checkpoints, 3.6 km distance (not counting any skips,) minimal climb. True distance will be longer than the 3.6 km "as the crow flies," which is why it's advertised as a 5 k in the flyers - especially if you run the chase, because you have an extra 400 m or more in the prologue.

The Prologue (only for those being seeded for the competitive chase start:) 4 checkpoints, 0.4 km distance.

Do I run recreational or do I run the chase?

It's the same course. If you thrive on the feeling of a race, then do the chase - you'll just have to make sure you do your homework (run the prologue and be done by 10:00) or you'll get stuck in the back of the line at the chase. Your start will be between 10:30 and 10:32 if you do the chase.

Remote start

Recreational folks will self start at the remote start about 1.0 km away. A nice warmup. Chase starters will be started by me - I will sort you according to your prologue times, quickest times go earliest in the chase, in the exact order. It will be pretty compressed since the prologue course is so short. You might find it more like a mass start with a few phases... not one of those chases where you wait 10 minutes after the first person goes!!

Punching each Checkpoint

Punching will be standard pin punch with a punchcard. You will be disqualified if you do not punch each checkpoint in the properly numbered box (for example, 18 goes in box 18.) The exception is the window section of checkpoints 11 to 13 - do these in whatever order in boxes 11 to 13. For your one allowed skip, leave a blank spot on the card, and punch the next one in the next box. If you skip the whole fork (don't go to 16A or 16B) then leave box 16 blank.

"Crab Cross" format - how to do the course!

I've dropped the memory / map-copy section. So, here are the revised parameters:

1. Everybody must punch the first 7 checkpoints. No skips allowed until #8. The beginning of the course has a butterfly loop. Starting with checkpoint #8, you may skip any one of the remaining.
2. The butterfly loop has two orders: A-B-C-A-D-C or A-D-C-A-B-C. Your map will show one of the two. There are two checkpoints that you must punch twice - the ones at the beginning and end of the loop. (A and C) What the butterfly loop does is fork the pack into two groups, running 2 different loops in 2 different orders.
3. There is a "window" section where you may take 3 checkpoints in any order. These are checkpoints #11, #12, and #13. You may use your skip on one of them.
4. Don't do what I did when test running the course - make sure you return to checkpoint 10; it's also checkpoint 14. Unless you decide to use #14 as your skip!
5. There is a fork - checkpoint #16. Go to either 16A or 16B on your map. You may use this as your skip too.
6. You are allowed one, and only one, skip. Starting with checkpoint #8, you are allowed to skip one control. You must leave its space on the punchcard blank. If you skip one of the window checkpoints (#11 to 13) it doesn't matter which space on the punchcard you leave blank - 11, 12, or 13 will work.


Shorts and running shoes are great.


You don't cross too many roads or parking lots, but to watch for cars when you do. People are everywhere, and it's hard to avoid setting the course to avoid all the picnic sites. Please go around them and give a little space, so we don't annoy anybody and endanger our privilege of using this park.

Do not cross walls and fences mapped as impassable. Go around. This is a fairness issue as well as a safety issue. Also, the main area that's fenced off is a dog park. I promise you it won't save you time to run through it - you'll be come the fancy of many dogs - not to mention attract the wrong kind of attention to our activity.


There are bathrooms and water fountains throughout the park. No water will be placed out on the course, but you may divert yourself to one of the mapped fountains if you like.

Original Announcement

Welcome to Alameda's waterfront wonderland park. Enjoy a new twist in map running sports: a hybrid of the short "sprint" style course and the trickery of the "goat" course. It's available as a recreational course - starts available 9:00 to 10:20. Competitive entrants will be seeded with a short, < 400 meter prologue course. The competitive starts will be chase-style beginning at 10:30, with the quickest finishers going first, and the prologue finish time gaps being used to space out the starters. The course will include a medley of sections to mix it up, such as forking, where you choose between two controls; a score section, where you can get the controls in any order; a memory or map copy section; a butterfly loop, which shuffles the order of a few legs without changing the distance or navigation in the course. And some obligatory running on the beach - watch out for the crabs! Expect a total length of 4 km to 5 km. Awards in gender and age categories. Courses close / awards at 11:30. $12 / $7 juniors. Social option to follow!


When the kiosk is staffed, and it usually is on summer weekends, there is a $5 parking fee.

From Interstate 880 in downtown Oakland, follow signs for Alameda – Webster Street tube. Webster St drains into it, and there's another entrance at Broadway and 5th St. Bear left onto Constitution Way, which becomes 8th St. At Otis Dr, turn right into the park entrance.

Park in the farthest lot all the way at the end of the drive. Nearby is the City View picnic site where we will congregate.

Public Transit

From downtown Oakland 12th or 19th St BART, take the AC Transit 51 bus towards Alameda. From the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, the AC Transit O goes the same way. Get off either bus at Webster St and Santa Clara Ave—that's where they turn off of Webster. You need to keep walking on Webster towards the bay, left on Central, right on 8th St, and walk into the park when you get to the Otis Dr intersection.

Follow the drive into the park, all the way to the end of the drive to the farthest parking lot... the City View picnic site will be off to the right towards the beach. That's where we meet up.

Event Contact: Rex, 5 1 0 - 6 8 1 - 6 1 8 1,

Crown Beach web page, East Bay Regional Parks District