Decisions, decisions, decisions.

They are part of life; sometimes the number of decisions we need to make can be paralyzing. Some decisions we make are great; some awful (I’ll bet you had a particularly bad one spring to mind with that statement!)

Rogaining is a sport based on strategy, decision making, navigation and stamina. It’s a sport where average participants can compete well against naturally gifted athletes. Of course, if you can run fast and long AND make great decisions when navigating, you are probably going to do very well.

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Just head north!

The 2018 Australian Rogaining Championships, or ‘Sun SEQer rogaine’, was held in the Gympie Region of Queensland. My rogaining partner and I were lucky enough to receive support from the Nigel Aylott Memorial Fund to cover our travel expenses to and from the event. We represented the University of Adelaide, and have participated in a few 24-hour events before, so knew what we were getting into. We are by no means a highly competitive team. However, even the Australian Championships is not an event only for the elites… every-day people can enter it as well and still have fun!

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2018 National Championships, Gympie Queensland

We decided to make a holiday of this year’s National Champs being held in Gympie Queensland, driving via Brisbane to spend a couple of days with our youngest daughter.

We made our way to Gympie to arriving early enough to set up before Craig was to attend the ARA Delegates meeting at 2 pm. Doug Gillott, also from the SARA committee turned up for this in good time, so I was let off and could prepare my backpack and spend the rest of my time relaxing. A thunderstorm was forecast for the afternoon, and though some thunderous clouds came by, nothing came of them. This was quite fortunate as the grasses were very dry and lightning strikes could have been disastrous.

Saturday once again dawned clear and very warm and 9 am came all too soon to collect our maps. There were some very notable features regarding the map;
1. It was large, the size of a small tablecloth, though still a 1:40,000 scale;
2. There was an All-night cafe (ANC), yay;
3. The controls were really, really spread apart averaging 2.2 ks, we even had a 4k leg (groan); and
4. There were plenty of water stations (yay), only a few had controls nearby and none had points (groan).

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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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