A license to set

Setting the Hello-Wiliena rogaine was an amazing experience that I shared with my two boys. This was the first bush rogaine event that I had been involved in organising. In the early stages of the event preparation, my contribution to the setting / vetting process was limited; providing input at the armchair stage in Adelaide.  However, because my sons were still on school holidays in the week leading up to the event, there was a great opportunity for them to be involved them in the process and go hiking around the Flinders Ranges.

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What is on a map, by Todd

Leading up to our 2018 State Championship event, the son of the landowners of Holowiliena, Todd just starting a mapping assignment for a school subject.  As such the rogaine map became a focal point for Todd and his family and they were all keen to learn about the map symbols, contour lines, the various north lines and how to use a compass.

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Water for courses

Don’t let anyone tell you different. Finding an orange and white marker with the value of 90 points, in the dark, late at night after pace counting on bearing for a kilometre[s] gives you the biggest rush, it is like winning your very own lottery!

If you want to explore our state’s jaw-dropping vistas. Then take a look at this crazy sport called Rogaining, because the organisers supply the location and you get to create your very own adventure!

Australian Champships 2017

Jenny Casanova’s report on the Ridgy Didge 2017 Australian Champs rogaine near Cooma with Alex Tyson.

We hadn’t rogained together for 15 years; not since the 2002 ARC in Namadgi NP which her late husband Geoff Mercer set when their daughters were very small (and very cold on that frosty night). Obviously our fitness is a long way from when we came 3rd women’s in the 2000 World Rogaining Champs in NZ, but we were well matched and it was easy to fall back into the old partnership. I’d been looking forward to this event because the photos on the website made it look like nice open forest, not too steep and with hopefully no nasty surprises, and so it proved. There were lots of subtle contours out there and a complex network of ridgelines and creeks, some with steep erosion gullies often skirted by strips of dense bushiness.

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Ridgy Didge Intervarsity Championships

The annually held Intervarsity Championships are held concurrently with the Australian National Rogaine Championships. This year, the championships were held south of Canberra on the 5th -7th of May. The Intervarsity competition pits teams of university students from the same university against each other.

I was lucky enough to receive support from the Nigel Aylott Memorial Fund to cover my travel expenses to and from the event. Representing the University of Adelaide, I had only competed in one 24hr rogaine before this event, so I knew what I was in for, but as it turned out, nothing could truly prepare us for 24 hours of ups and downs.

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Australasian Rogaining Championships 2017

The Australasian Rogaining Championships were held on 11-12 February near Waikaia, in the Southland region of the South Island of New Zealand. My sister, Karen, and I flew into Queenstown, and took the two-hour bus ride through verdant rolling hills to the Hash House site, nestled between very large hills (small mountains?) dotted with sheep.

After a drizzly, foggy Friday night, Saturdays early morning cloud dissipated and it turned into quite a warm and moderately humid day. The map, 1:40000 with 20 metre contours, was understandably large and encompassed the western mountain range of the valley we were camped in. We decided to head to the southern area of the map, where we determined there was less mountain climbing and fewer beech forests (and therefore less sand flies!)

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State Championships – A novice perspective

My name is Sef and this is my story about a geocacher who wants to be a rogainer.

I have a 15 year old son, Callum, who three years ago could not think of anything worse than hiking in inhospitable terrain.

In the ensuing years, Callum discovered there is more to life than playing FIFA and Call of Duty. We started attending group gym sessions three times a week and Callum has now became almost fanatic about his fitness and strength.

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Visitors take on the South Aussies

“Nick, do you reckon we’re in the outback yet?” asks my team-mate Jackson.
“Nah, I think you’re meant to know you’re there when you get there,” I reply.

Rogainers do it in the dark! Yes we do!
It’s Friday night and we’re cruising up the highway from Adelaide with two Tasmanian rogainers we’d hired a car with, and we’re about to tuck into very traditional Australian food at the Railway Hotel in Peterborough, where you can have your steak ‘surf and turf’ (with prawns on it; don’t worry I hadn’t heard of it either), there is unlimited cauliflower cheese in the bain-marie, and the prices belong in the late 1990s. We make it in our hire-car in to the campsite, pitch tents in Mallee woodland, I discover my sleeping mat blows up like a balloon so can’t be inflated, and we await the morning.

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Team 116 – “Croweaters” in the 2015 Australian Championships

“The Tortoise and the Contours”

This was the rogaine we definitely were not going to do, not because we didn’t want to, but because of finances, work commitments, lack of holidays, etc. etc. etc. Plus, only two months ago during the World Championships in Finland, we said that we would never do another ‘24 hour all-nighter’. But here we were at the airport, with heaps of luggage on our way to the Capertee National Park in NSW, because this was ‘superb rogaining country’, according to the pre-event hype.

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Matters of the heart

My ideal rogaine preparation involves a schedule of some months of regular and frequent running, hiking and generally replicating the physical stresses of a rogaine. In the lead up to the 2015 edition of the Spring 12 hour this didn’t happen. Obligations, temptations, frustrations, life and other inconveniences conspired against my grand preparation designs. Going into the last days before the event all I’d managed was a few short runs in the park. Ah well, I figured at least I wasn’t suffering any major illnesses or injuries: my sometimes troublesome knees weren’t bothering me, I was finally rid of an annoying plantar wart and apart from a mild chest cold I was, I thought, in okay health. The cold had lingered for a while and half threatened to become bronchial so I thought maybe a dose of antibiotics was in order. I booked an appointment with the GP.

A bit over a week out from the Roo-gaine, there I was describing my symptoms to the doctor, expecting a prescription and nothing more. After a modicum of examination the doctor said ‘You might be having an extended heart attack.’ A WHAT?!?! He calmed me by saying that it was probably just an infection but ‘to be sure’ he’d have me do an electrocardiogram (ECG).  I was wired up and tested by a nurse who instructed me to wait to see the doctor for the results. After a longish wait the doctor emerged and appeared a little more concerned than I would have liked. He said the ECG was ‘not quite right’ and that after discussions with a cardiologist colleague of his I was to have a blood test. If the results of that test were positive I was to go straight to hospital; if they were negative I’d undergo more testing and a consult with the cardiologist. And the good news?

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Ran. Walked and waded.

It was time to get a team together for the Kuipto 6 hour Rogaine so my Rogainer team constant Tania put the call out. Very quickly we had a new team together. Tania, Nikki and myself who have a couple of rogaines under our belt, Michelle and Kerry who were game enough to join us for the first one. So nominated team captain Tania registered The YUMmy Chicks! Aptly named as we are all doing Yurrebilla Ultra Marathon this year! Let the planning begin!

Lot’s of communication about required food and supplies for the day and how we were getting there. Most importantly Michelle volunteered to supply the bubbles for the finish! Awesome!  All set! And the day arrived!

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Kiilopaa – Saturday 21st August – World Rogaine Championship to Sunday 22nd August

Woke up in the Arctic Circle, at Kiilopaa, Finland, to fine sunny day with an expected maximum temperature of about 20 degrees. Slightly warmer than what we were hoping for. Transferred our entire route planning gear to our tent in the restricted “Planning Area” and collected our “non waterproof paper” maps at just after 9am. Spent about an hour planning our course and marking up our maps based on a very conservative 60km straight-line distance.

During our visit to Scotland in the lead up to this event, we did a number of walks over the Scottish moors encountering lots of slow boggy ground. Expecting the Finland terrain to be similar we didn’t want to overset our course and were initially only going to work on about 50km. However after trialling a bit of the Rogaine practice map we upped our route distance to 60km as the ground was considerably firmer and in general very pleasant to traverse, a lot of it with a small amount of sponginess underfoot, unlike the bone jarring hardness we normally have.

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One day touted as an ‘expert’, the next day humbled by my stupidity.

Yes, I’m one of those SARA volunteers who loves to teach novices how to rogaine. At the Asthma Foundation rogaine on the Saturday in Kuitpo Forest I was one of the ‘experts’ assisting teams understand what a rogaine was, and assisted one of the top fund-raising teams in their route planning.

I always tell novice teams to ‘look carefully at what’s around the control. Look at the contours, any tracks, creeks and high points. And don’t forget that the control is in the exact centre of the circle.’ Great advice – you’d think I’d remember to take that advice myself, wouldn’t you?

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A good day’s outing

I’ve been rogaining since 2004 (ironically, my first event was set by Mark and Ella as well) and have never been fortunate enough to come 1st overall. My desire to improve has pushed me into running, both trail and road running. Many years later I’ve now run three Yurebilla Ultra-Marathons, two road marathons and managed 185km at the Yumigo 24hr event in 2014.

With this in mind, it was time to build a 6 hr team that could do some damage at Kuitpo.

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Goolwa in an afternoon

This being my fourth Rogaine, and my ‘regular’ partner being injured, I put the word out and came up trumps with Pieter de Wit and we had not previously met. But that’s the beauty of Rogaining, you have the opportunity to engineer your team for whatever you want to achieve on the day.

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Renmark rogainers

We came from Renmark to try out Rogaining and Goolwa sounded like the perfect place to start, with the hope that we couldn’t get too lost, and that if we did our bright orange T shirts would make us easy to find.

We planned our course having no real idea of how far we would get, so we headed over to Hindmarsh Island to get some of the furthest controls out of the way first. This involved a lot of road running but we managed to get in a couple of dashes across some paddocks to justify wearing our trail shoes. Back across the bridge, stopping for some photos and a lot of discussion on the best way to do a ‘selfie’ we finally made it back to the mainland. From there we headed up to do a loop through Goolwa North where we found that the controls were a little harder to spot. Perhaps we should have worn team shirts more suited to searching through the bushes, maybe less road-worker orange and more camo green. We had planned to do central Goolwa and then head out for a final loop along the beach but soon realised we weren’t going to make it, so decided to finish as many of the central Goolwa controls as we could in the time we had left before heading back to the Hash House.

We really enjoyed our Rogaining adventure, and with lots of laughs along the way we travelled 25km in about 3 hours 40min, marked off 23 controls and ended up with 1020 points. Thank you to everyone for such a friendly and welcoming day and we really enjoyed the pizza (and a glass or two of champagne!) afterwards. We will be back!

Megan, Deanna, Andrea and Lara

Team 107 – ‘Somewhat vague’ in the 2014 Australian Championships

The Victorian Rogaine Association hosted the 2014 Australasian Championship and set the event in some excellent rogaining country, south of Castlemaine, over the second weekend of October. The Hash House site was in a beautiful location along Vaughan Springs Road, adjacent the Loddon River. Many competitors used the bunk bed option with hot showers. Others camped in a paddock across the road. We opted for a cottage in the nearby historical town of Maldon that we had visited on a previous Orienteering Carnival.

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Saunder’s Saunter Setter’s Report, by Evelyn Colwell

Craig and I put our hands up to set the 6hr bush/Asthma rogaine for this year. Craig had partnered Steve Cooper in this task a few years ago, and has also been event organiser but I thought it was time I also got involved. When considering the locations, Saunders Gorge jumped to mind, as it ticked all the necessaries and had the bonus of being the location where we had set the Upside/ Down event in 2010, which meant we already knew the landowners, or thought we did.

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Saunder’s Saunter Winners’ Race Report

What the setters thought would be the perfect route
Andrew Kennedy and Zara Soden only missed punching two controls at last weekend’s 6 hour rogaine. Read Andrew’s report to gain an insight into how two people achieved such stunning results…

See the winning route here

We’d arranged to meet at 7.30am race day. I arrived at 7.31am and Zara was out, ready and waiting. We were both pretty pumped up for the event after only making a last minute decision to enter while consuming pizza in Burra the previous weekend. We’d strategised during the week and thought a top 5 finish was possible. We arrived at Saunders Gorge just on 8.45am and set up for maps at 9am.

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A late Middleback race report from 11 year old Max – a member of the winning Family category team

My name is Max. I am eleven years old. My first Rogaine was the 25 hour, 25th anniversary at Wirrabara Forest. Since then I’ve been in a few rogaines in Athelston, God’s Country – Beyond Hell’s Gates, Morialta and also the one near Peterborough. I’ve got to say my favourite one though was the one in the Middlebacks. I came along to this event with Ian Grivell (my Dad) and Adam Mclntosh (my cousin). We got up at four o’clock in the morning to go on a four hour and forty minute drive. It took a very long time!

We collected 1400 points in 13 hours and we walked about 39 km. On Saturday we started at midday like everyone else; we were among lots of people for a while until we reached the hills. My legs got a bit tired after climbing the hills, so I talked a lot so I would think about something else. I was very happy my gaiters arrived a few weeks before the event, because I would have had heaps of scratches if I wasn’t wearing them.

When it was dark and cold we decided to give up on a checkpoint we were searching for and head back to the hash house, but then we accidentally ran into that checkpoint! When we got back to the hash house I was so tired I went straight to bed without dinner. The next morning I decided to have one of the left-over dinners. I chose one without meat because I’m vegan. The meal was delicious. I thank the people who made it and the person who recommended it to me. We left straight after breakfast, one of the dogs took us to one of the checkpoints! I didn’t know his name so I called him Middleback because we were in the Middlebacks. It was a good morning till we were looking for a track that did not exist. But in the end we found the checkpoint that was on the track that wasn’t there. Our team arrived back at the hash house with about five to ten minutes left. We had a nice BBQ. I thank the people who cooked the stuff. When they called out the results our team was very happy for coming 15th place and 1st family. It was exciting to win drinking glasses; it was like Christmas. I really enjoyed it and thank the people who organised it. I’m looking forward to coming to the next event!

In The Middle Of The Night In The Middlebacks – 2014 SARA Championships winners report

After I had really enjoyed the 12 hour with Zara last month, I started to get keen on the idea of the 24 hour at Whyalla, because it sounded like the sort of terrain with no nasty surprises and where a careful navigator could do well. I found a willing accomplice in Steve Cooper, although he warned me that he wouldn’t be able to run much because of a bruised heel sustained orienteering in the Flinders a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to do a 24 hour with Steve for ages and he didn’t disappoint.

We made it to Whyalla by about 10pm Friday and managed to have our rogaine packs sorted the next morning in time to take advantage of the continental buffet breakfast at the motel (rogaine preparation is all about carbo-loading, for me) and then get to the event site on a sheep station near the Middleback Ranges with enough time to put up the tent I didn’t intend to sleep in, before map handout.

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The Middlebacks

A significant part of the trip to Whyalla was discussing our general plan for this event. Having done a couple of Orienteering events in the Middleback Range meant that we had some idea of the terrain. Also knowing that the moon phase was not suited to night rogaining also influenced our thoughts on the event and how we would approach it.

So even before seeing the map we had decided that we would do an initial loop hoping to be back at the HH by 8 or 9pm.  We could have some HH food, get 3 or 4 hours sleep and head out again just before the moon rose at about 2am in the morning.  While coming back into the Hash House has inherent drawbacks, such extra kilometres to travel without visiting controls and the difficulty in getting started again (especially once the legs have started to seize up), we thought minimizing our time during the darkest part of the night together with being able to do our first loop travelling very light was worth trying.  There were also a number of other factors influencing our decision not to do the full 24 hours.

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Middle Back Roving 12 hours – by Amy Ide

Team 13 Middleback Ranges Report of the 12 hour Roving Rogaine

Team 13. Peter, Elijah and Amy.
With only one 12 hour rogaine behind me (which included a mini nocturnal crisis and a lack of kilometres translating to points) the 12 hour roving event in the Middleback Ranges was an opportunity to redeem myself and get some more experience to improve my rogaining skills.

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The Erskine Valley Escape Route – Craig Colwell

What a great event the 12 hour rogaine is, made even better with some fantastic country to navigate through and perfect rogaining weather. Also competing under a moonless sky certainly added a touch of intrigue which saw some of the more adventurous teams come undone (including us).

As I was involved in some pre-event organisation Evelyn was tasked with the route setting duties and by the time I got back to our camp to get ready she was just finishing off a couple of alternative routes. Her first route choice in an anticlockwise direction totalled about 35km. The two extra options were for a 40km route and a 50km route which would take us into the NE corner of the map. The control locations were well spread with an even point valve but the 81 & 91 pointer in the southern section of the map swayed Evelyn to go south first leaving the more complex terrain in the north for the night time.

The first 6 hrs whizzed by, with us averaging just under 5km per hour (which we thought was pretty fast) and put us up about an hour up on our planned time schedule and encouraged us to attempt the 50km option. One of the unusual thing of this event was that during the daylight hours we were constantly in touch with a number of teams tracking along a similar route. In most events we have found ourselves completely alone after the first couple of controls. Two of the teams we were in touch with were Andrew and Bruce (1st overall) and Randal and Simon (2nd overall). With all of us making slight navigation errors we were constantly leapfrogging ahead of each other. This may have assisted us keeping up such a good pace.

From the Golden Gully Hut (C73) we opted for the middle route through to the Control 70 (the summit) where we arrived just after sunset. As darkness approached we were finally on our own (just as the scary part of the event was starting) as Andrew & Bruce headed for C55 and Randal & Simon had moved ahead of us. Torches were needed to find C65 and we decided to have our first major stop (just after finding 65) on the side of the road for food and to organise ourselves for the night ahead. While eating we roughly figured (by working backwards from the HH) that for our 50km route we needed to be at C35 (in the north) by 11pm giving us an hour to get back hopefully collecting 41, 61 &55. Working back further we needed to be at C80 by 10pm, C47 by 9pm and C37 by 8pm.

Our route choice north to 64 proved to be to be difficult ( and painful on the feet) as we encountered numerous sheep which we had to wait for (or move around them) and the ground was covered with cannon ball size rocks which we stubbed our toes on many times. Getting to 63 was much easier and we nailed the control spot on which raised our confidence and then headed down onto the road to get to the water station (W2). After getting onto the road we relaxed (how hard is to walk on a road) and started working out plans to get the controls to 80. After a period of time we realised we had walked straight pass W2 without seeing it. Noting the creek to the north of the road we realised we a missed the (understated) road/creek crossing, so headed back, nervously looking at our watches, knowing that we didn’t have much spare time. After going back a reasonable distance the creek to the north seemed to fizzle out and we still hadn’t found the water station. Rather waste anymore time we decided to abandon C37 go east on the road to the bend and then head to C46 (confidence stirred but not shaken).

Not having an exact point of departure from the road proved our undoing as we came up short on the ruin (C46) and slightly to the east of it. Also as we were approaching our pacing counting distance another team cut across our path from East to West (where had they come from, seemingly from off the map). However when we didn’t find the control, we figured we must be to the west of it, so we headed east and so wasted more time having to relocated and eventually find the ruin. Nerves and confidence considerably under-mined but still being within our time schedule we headed to C47 and C52 with bail out decision to be made at C52. Arriving at C47 at about 9.05pm we were confident that we could make 80 by 10pm and hopefully the last 2 hours would fall in place giving us a good score. After C52 all we needed to do was head NW to the high point, then north down the spur to the creek junction then about 300m onto the control on the ridge line. Strange how some things don’t go quite the way you want them to when time and self imposed pressures are put on you. We ended up going down the wrong spur without realising it (but had a niggling suspicion) missed the creek junction we wanted as we found another one (the terrain here was complex in the dark) found extra creeks in front of us which was starting to confuse us, finally ending up on the ridge line in a saddle but no control. To the left of us there was a small high point which I climbed and saw a large broad saddle (which is what we were looking for) so we headed west to search for the control, alas no control (time now 10pm and we don’t know exactly where we are). We needed to leave the area now to get back on time, but not knowing exactly where we were, didn’t fill us with confidence on getting back via the needed, most efficient “escape” route. Figuring that we might have come down the wrong spur earlier we thought we might be on the broad saddle to the NE on C80 (it seemed to fit with what we could see and what we had crossed, plus if we were right we were heading back to the HH). So all we needed to do was head west to the hill and south around the hill. However after doing this we realised we were on the very steep sided hill to the SW of the control and moving away from it. Back we went finding the control (at 10.27pm) about 90m to the NE of where we arrived on the ridge at half hour earlier.

Figuring we needed two hours to get back to the Hash House, the thought was can we get back before being disqualified at 12.30pm. With confidence well and truly shaken, we worked extremely hard picking up 51, 42 and 35 to get to the road and then bypassing everything else to get back just over 19 minutes late.

Even with the frustrations of hunting for elusive controls in the night and getting back late we thoroughly enjoyed the event. Well done to the setters (Richard & Judy Sprod, Peter & Annie Fisher) and congratulations to all who participated or helped out to make the event such a success.

For those interested in stats, we did approx 53km with 1572m of climb collecting 1610 points (and then losing 200 points for being late).

The route we took between 52 and 80 is shown in purple. Our intended route is shown in dashed red and the green line is a similar route which another team did.