Calculation, it’s the name of the game!

By Bruce Greenhalgh

I was about to begin this piece with an invitation to rogainers to get their slide rules out in preparation for the Bundaleer 15-hour event, Ngadjuri Dreaming. Then I thought it wasn’t such a great opening since a good number of potential entrants wouldn’t even not what a slide rule was, let alone own one. I have one; it dates back to my high school years which makes it, well, let’s just say ‘old’. It’s a relic from a time before calculators and computers when slide rules were the go-to device for mathematical computation. Mention of slide rules was, then, an allusion to serious calculation activity. But while slide rules are quite wonderous instruments, they were never cool. Indeed, slide rule enthusiasts tended to be a bit on the nerdy side. They were the kind of guys (almost always guys) who wore white, short sleeved, polyester business shirts with the top button done up, even though they didn’t wear a tie, and had a battalion of pens safely kept in the shirt pocket thanks to a ‘pocket protector’ (remember them?) (if you’re young, probably not).

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The Four Horsemen of our Rogaine Apocalypse

By Bruce Greenhalgh

Fun(?) and failure in the Flinders.

The famous four were not, on this occasion, war, famine, pestilence and death, but wind, dust, prickles and dumb decision making. Firstly, the wind, and the Wilkatana ‘24’ will be distinguished from other 24s by the fact that the night before the actual event was as memorable as the rogaine itself. A wind of biblical proportions blew all night battering tents and camper vans and preventing sleep. The ferocity of the wind was attested to by it picking up the Hash House marquee and dumping it, damaged and canvas flapping, tens of metres from its original site.

Conversations the morning after routinely followed this pattern,

‘Did you camp here last night?’


‘Did you get any sleep?’


Details of the ordeal were then swapped: the fear of being blown away, the impossibility of sleep and descriptions of the dust that was the wind’s accomplice in camping damnation. A fine dust was blown into my tent and settled on everything. My sleeping bag was dusty, my pillow was dusty, my clothes were dusty and my mouth was dusty.

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Goldilocks and the Six Hours

Read the setter’s thoughts on our next rogaine (by Bruce Greenhalgh)

Yes, yes. I know it should be ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’ but I’ve been struck by some parallels the coming six-hour rogaine has with the Goldilocks story. Just like the chair Goldilocks sits in, the porridge she eats and the bed she sleeps in, the ’Another pine mess you’ve got me into’ rogaine is ‘just right’.

Take the time period, six hours, it’s (obviously) shorter than a twenty-four-hour event and so won’t take you to the point of questioning your sanity the way the longer events usually do. And it’s not as short as a three hour when it seems that no time has passed before you’re worrying about getting back to the Hash House in time. Nothing like those two extremes, the six hour allows you to immerse yourself in the rogaine experience without the rigours of a longer rogaine or the limitations of a shorter event. Just right.

Similarly, the navigation challenge of the Kuitpo six hour is not that great that you’ll be spending hours vainly searching for a control, nor that easy that you’ll feel like little or no skill is required. A bit of compass work, perhaps some pace counting and astute route choice will have you feeling you’ve tested your mental prowess without straining your brain. Just right.

SARA’s longer events are often set in wonderful, extraordinary, locations that provide the sense of being away from everything, but these venues often require a lengthy car trip, sometimes the best part of a day. Conversely, the ‘metro’ events are easily reached. The flip side, however, is the loss of being somewhere away and special and natural. Kuitpo is (roughly) only an hour’s drive from the city, so not a long haul, but the forest provides a feeling of being out in the natural world and away from the confines of the suburbs. Just right.

So, what’s stopping you? Get together with friends or family or total strangers, get an entry in and start looking forward to a great event. If you like pine we’ve got you covered. There’s pine forest, pine trees, old pine, new pine, pine cones, and pine needles. But there are also sections of native bush that provide an interesting multi-species contrast to the monoculture of the pine plantations.

Porridge isn’t on the menu (sorry Goldilocks), but there will be hot soup and rolls waiting for you at the end of the event. Adventure, pine cones, maps, hot soup – what more could you want? And all for a mere $40 (with children U9 free and good deals for students/concessions and families). Just right!

Strange Day, Indeed

What did the recent ‘Woodside Wheelers’ Velogaine have to do with an imminent zombie apocalypse? Rogaine tragic Bruce Greenhalgh explains…

Strange Day, Indeed

I’ve watched enough horror films to know that the setting for the end of civilization as we know it, the zombie apocalypse, the invasion from outer space – that sort of thing – is usually a dark and foreboding night with, perhaps, mysterious clouds racing past an angry moon, or thunder, lightning, driving rain and howling winds. It almost always involves hints that something is terribly amiss: birds stop singing, dogs cower in corners and strange, unexplained things happen. And all this is accompanied by an ominous soundtrack that portends dire and cataclysmic events.

The ’Woodside Wheelers’ Velogaine provided a setting seemingly the antithesis of this. The event occurred on a fine, sunny day in the bucolic Adelaide Hills. There was but a breath of wind. The soundtrack, pre-event, was of excited chatter as great plans were made, the calling of greetings to friends and the happy sound of cycling shoes clicking into pedals. All was right with the world, or so it seemed, but as we velogained our way through four hours disturbing auguries and unnatural occurrences spoke of looming disaster.

Firstly, there was the totally inexplicable fact that even though we started and finished at the same point, we climbed more kilometres than we descended. I’m sure of it. A landscape gone mad! The south-east corner of the map was particularly warped in this respect. Were there any descents? Thinking hard I do recall a few brief, blissful moments when gravity was my friend, but the salient memory is of how interminable the climbs were. Riding from control 70 to 61 and then 50 each fresh turn in the road revealed yet another span of ascent and I began to doubt we would ever reach a summit. Would we end up in the climbers’ ‘death zone’? I certainly felt near to expiring.

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Of Lakes and Luck and Elections

By Bruce Greenhalgh

As a frequent contributor to the rogaine email newsletter I now find myself contemplating ideas for reports even before the rogaine is run. ‘The Lakes District’ rogaine, for example, had me entertaining ideas of weaving into a report references to the famous Lake District in England (ignoring the plural/singular discrepancy). I was thinking, in particular, of the poet William Wordsworth who is associated with the Lake District and perhaps contrasting some of his well-known lines about wandering ‘lonely as a cloud’ and discovering ‘golden daffodils’ to the travails of rogaining. On starting the rogaine another contrast presented itself too, that of comparing the beauty of, say, Lake Windemere in England to the first body of water we encountered which was, of course, the Mount Barker effluent ponds. However, the problem with this angle is that while I acknowledge Wordsworth’s place in literature I don’t actually like his work much and so writing about it held little appeal. I also suspected that too many tenuous references to poetry and faraway lakes might turn readers off.

Not to worry, there was always the coincidence of the Twilight rogaine and the State election and so the possibility of writing about rogaine control corflutes that I wanted (desperately) to find as opposed to those election corflutes that I wish would go away. Again, though, there were problems with this theme in that I suspected that a lot of people would be thoroughly sick of election dribble by voting day and reading anything even tangentially about the election would not be appealing.

I’m left then, with the fact that Steve Sullivan and I won (something that occurs with only slightly more frequency than sightings of Halley’s Comet) and trying to anticipate what readers might like to hear from the winners. There is nothing new about a winner writing an event report. Indeed, for a long time it was expected and routinely completed. Those reports often featured detailed descriptions of astute route choice consummated by athletic prowess, intelligent navigation and helpings of grit and determination. As a winner I can attest that those sorts of things are important, but I also have to admit that a win has a lot more to do with luck. Yep. Luck.

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Recollections on the occasion of my 50th Rogaine

by Steven Frigo

I wrote this a year ago but didn’t get around to submitting it but on Saturday at the Mount Barker Lakes Rogaine, Peter Milnes jokingly asked “Are you still rogaining?” and I realised my enthusiasm for the sport is still 110%. The twilight event in March 2021 was my 50th rogaine, and I offer my recollections of this adventure strategy sport, which is so much more than that.

We curse the dark, the wind, the blisters, the head of the watercourse, the watercourse junction, the watercourse bend…… everything about the watercourse, but the moment we cross the finish line all is forgiven.

My first two events were AUMC 24 hour walks; Williamstown in May 1979 and Eden Valley 1980. All I remember was that we had to mark up our maps with the coordinates of the controls, and we were cold. It was another 23 years before I was ready to start again.

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Things to do on a Saturday afternoon

By Bruce Greenhalgh

The Parkland Promenade minigaine provided proof that there is more to life than rogaining. There are, as evidenced by scenes from the minigaine, cricket, golf, soccer and getting married as alternative Saturday afternoon activities. On our clockwise circumnavigation of the Parklands it was cricket we encountered first. My fitter and younger teammate, Phil, even had the wherewithal to watch part of the match whereas my only involvement with it was hoping that a well hit ball wouldn’t make it to the boundary and mean I’d have to run around a fieldsman. It was early in the event, but already any unanticipated obstacles felt like genuine impositions to me.

The cricket continued – a Women’s Big Bash match – on the next oval we ran past, and the obstacles continued in the form of cars parked on an adjacent oval. The parking fee was – wait for it – $17! That’s before, I presume, a charge to get into the Big Bash venue. For another three bucks they could have entered the minigaine and enjoyed free parking! What’s wrong with these people?

Next it was golf, and crossing the links at North Adelaide we may have upset some golfers. No matter, as somebody who regards golf as ‘a good walk spoilt’ I felt no guilt whatsoever about possibly upsetting somebody’s concentration before their tee shot.  I’ll say this about golf though, running across the greens and fairways was a delight after having experienced a bit of the grass seed rich rough of the Parklands.

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The best laid plans…

By Bruce Greenhalgh

If you’ve ever rogained, even just once, you’ve most likely faced the problem of explaining the sport to somebody else. It seems that few people outside rogaining have any understanding of it. When attempting to explain rogaining I often ask if people know what orienteering is, and they usually do. If they do, I explain that the two sports are similar (map, compass, etc) but that there are important differences, such as rogaining being a team sport and one that involves longer distances and time. So far, so good. It’s when I get to explaining just how long – up to 24 hours – that things get a bit difficult. The idea that you are out running around the countryside with only a map and compass to guide you for 24 HOURS troubles the comprehension of a lot of people. In my observation people either ‘get it’ and appreciate why you think it’s a good thing to do, or they assess that perhaps you’re a little ‘different’.

Faced with, at best, a nascent understanding of rogaining I rarely muddy the waters by then adding that a 24 hour event is actually more a 27 hour event. That’s because before the 24 hours of traversing the countryside begins there are up to 3 hours of planning with the map. I say ‘up to’ because there are other things to do in that time: making decisions about what gear to take, final packing of backpacks, last minute fuel intake (also known as eating) and etc. It’s also true that many competitors have a casual approach to the whole planning thing and might pick up their maps late(ish) and spend a comparatively short time devising their route(‘Let’s head north!’) For those that want to maximize their rogaine performance though, it’s a case of spending as much time as possible planning.

Whatever the approach it’s fair to say that a rogaine begins with the planning phase. Preparation is, of course, part of any sporting endeavour, but there are few sports where the preparation is so intrinsically part of the competition and few sports where planning is as important. As one of the interstate competitors at the recent Australian championships remarked to me, ‘You can’t win it in the planning, but you can lose it.’ There’s a lot of truth in that. Regardless of how well you are prepared physically, good course selection is critical to a satisfying result.

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Post rogaine cognition: a case study

Here at SARA we scour the world of professional literature to ensure you’re informed of all relevant information. The following article is from the latest issue of the esteemed publication, The Goyder Journal of Psychology and Rogaining.

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 Post rogaine cognition: a case study

It’s a bit past 9.00 pm at the Second Valley Forest HQ and we’ve just finished the six hour. It’s the usual end-of-rogaine experience. I’m back at my car and the task of finding my beanie has taken on a degree of difficulty commensurate with completing a foreign language cryptic crossword. My brain, which not long ago was okay (only okay) at finding controls, is now also defeated by the problem of locating the change of socks I packed (I know I packed them. I think I packed them. Did I pack them?), And I’m tired and aching and getting cold.

My team mate, Steve, raises a thought that I’ve been holding at bay. He says something along the lines of ‘This is only six hours. What’s the twenty-four going to be like?’ What indeed? Addled though I am, I can calculate that a twenty-four hour event is FOUR TIMES LONGER than the six I’ve just completed.

Later, having changed into warm, dry clothing and with a cup of potato and leek soup in hand, I remind myself that a twenty-four hour event is different. In the shorter rogaines (and I’d class a six hour as short) it’s all about go, go, go. Much as I’d like to be able to go hard for twenty-four hours it’s not an option for me. I acknowledge too, that ‘24s’ are normally set in the bush where the ‘hand rails’ of roads, defined tracks and distinct changes in vegetation are conspicuous by their absence. So the ability to navigate takes on something like equivalence to physical prowess. It’s a different ball game.

By most measures it’s a harder game. For example, there’s the special test created if you return to the Hash House during the night with the intention of having a quick meal and then returning straight back to your course. Following through on that intention is tough. The temptation of sitting longer at the HH fire with, say, a second helping of potato and leek soup or getting re-acquainted with your sleeping bag is close to irresistible.

There are some compensations, however. In a shorter rogaine you’re conscious of the finish time for a good part of the event. Even in the first hour I’m mindful of our pace and progress in relation to finishing on time. A 24 provides a good hunk of time when you can just about forget the time table and concentrate on navigating and negotiating the terrain. It’s a ‘purer’ experience in that regard. And who knows? Perhaps the slightly lighter mental burden will allow you some brain power at the end of the event to find those elusive clean socks.

Whatever happens, if you compete in a 24, it will be memorable. I’m not sure what I did last Tuesday, but, for example, I remember vividly the frustrating, but ultimately successful, search we had for a 40 pointer at 4.00 am during the 2015 State Champs (Really? Here? Thank !@+# we found it).

Want a few memories? Enter the upcoming Australian Champs. You can do it.

Rogainers of the Lost Park Race Report

By winners Steve Burdett & Camilo Loor Chavez

We entered our first rogaine just over a year ago and have been a team since, completing four more rogaines. We’re both long distance runners and have found the navigation part of rogaining an enjoyable challenge. Upon arrival at the Rogainers of the Lost Park event, we were heckled by our friend Randell, telling us that the carpark was actually a couple of K’s further down the road from where we were parked. Randell’s team have done quite well in previous events, and we had pegged them as the team to beat.

Camilo and I work together and had been talking daily about tactics for this rogaine; we decided we should be able to cover about 32km. At our first look at the map we were quite puzzled. There was no obvious path, and a quick measurement confirmed that we certainly wouldn’t be visiting every control. Steve started joining dots that went together well, making sure we had the three Golden Idol clues early on to avoid having to backtrack. Soon we had a large circle drawn with a small inner loop, with short cuts near the end of our run if needed.

We set off eagerly up the hill and headed for #30, “a little library”. Steve remembered seeing a community bookshelf at the Sheoak Café so we went straight there, but soon realised that was incorrect and perhaps we should focus on map reading rather than prior knowledge!  We turned back, running against the flow of a number of teams, including Randell who gave us more heckling, this time about going the wrong way. Fair call.

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The Urn and I – a Cold and Hot Relationship

By SARA’s volunteer hot water urn overseer, Jim Casanova

By 1990, I knew of rogaining as my daughter, Jenny, had been to events with Kay Haarsma, and maps had been displayed, but that was all. As part of the 1990 Easter Orienteering Carnival, my wife, Dorothy, and I were entered in the 12-hour rogaine at Dutchman’s Stern. This resulted in a steep learning curve in larger area/smaller scale map reading, plus working out distances, pace counting and re-locating. Our night navigation left a lot to be desired (and we left rogaining alone for a few years after that).

The next contact with rogaining was when Dorothy was asked to help on the hash house for the 1996 12-hour at Karinya, near Truro and therefore I was present as her transport. Standing there, and not knowing what to do, I gravitated to the hot water urn like a moth to a lighted candle or a fly down the chimney of a lighted kerosene lamp. I thought I could be useful by looking after it – a simple job and I should not get into trouble.

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Oladdie 2020 – the landscape and features

By Michael Broadbent, course setter, 15/8 hour roving rogaine 2020

Control 50

A few hundred metres south of the control are the ruins of the original homestead. It would have been chosen because it was close to permanent water. To the north, alongside the watercourse, are several stone structures. These are mausoleums or burial chambers. The rock exposed in the riverbed is tillite. Note the fragments of rocks and finer debris that has been eroded by glacial action.


 Control 55

The rock strata exposed in the watercourse leading south from the road to the control point is both varied and coloured.

Control 83

These are spectacular rock formations and are the result of a volcanic “diapir” in this area where magma (molten rock) was pushed up through the sedimentary layers. The intense heat and pressure of the magma greatly altered the adjacent sedimentary layers and turned them into metamorphic rocks. These are harder and more resistant to erosion, resulting in the rock spine.


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SARA’s Treasurer – Doug Gillott

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed, Doug. You’re organising the upcoming Velogaine – what is your first love – cycling or running/hiking?

That’s a really hard question. I spend a lot of time on my bikes and they give me that intensity of physical exercise and time to think and solve problems. So quite a solo experience. Rogaining delivers some very different things that I love. It’s conducted in the bush in really interesting places, physical effort, there’s the element of teams, mateship and strategy, the challenge of navigation and the great camaraderie of the sport. It strips away anything artificial from people – after 24 hours of rogaining you see them unfiltered.

How did you become a rogainer?

By accident really. Way back an Army mate asked me if I wanted to form a team for this rogaining thing. We were posted at Wodonga at the time and once he explained it was like score-orienteering, I was in. Turned out that’s about all he knew. The event was the Victorian Rogaining Association 1983 Spring 12-Hour at Tonimbuk, just east of the Dandenongs. We really had no idea and drove 5 hours down from Wodonga on the Saturday morning stopping to buy two orange Eveready Dolphin torches and a tent on the way. In those days you had to mark up your own blank topo map from a master map. By the time we got there it was about 1130 hr and people were already assembling for the start briefing. So we scribbled some of the controls onto our maps, leaving off any we didn’t think we’d get to, threw some contact adhesive plastic onto it to stop the paper wearing away and ran off after the crowd at about 1210. Our planning was awful and, to make matters worse, in most cases our control “circles” weren’t even in the same spot between our two maps. We visited 25 control locations only finding 22 controls. But through sheer enthusiasm, and the tolerance of pain as a 23-year old male, we came 7th out of 136 teams. I was hooked. I moved to Melbourne the next year and before I knew it I was VRA Secretary.

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Sturt Gorge – Simply Splendid

By Jo Powell – the setter of the 6-hour event

Wow – what an awesome event it was on 14 March (feels like forever ago now). Just squeezed it in before all the restrictions came into play a few days later! Thanks to the 400+ people who came to check out ‘one of Adelaide’s best kept secrets’ – now not so secret.

As the setter, it was an extremely satisfying day. The sun shone, people came, Admin worked smoothly, teams scattered in all directions at the start. Families had fun, rogainers of all abilities were challenged, there were no major injuries. All the pizza arrived and most was eaten, results were produced quickly and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. All the work was worth it – and more!

While I love to compete in rogaines, there’s something very special about setting a rogaine. Yes, it’s lots of hard work, but the intimacy that comes from deeply exploring an area is addictive and the buzz of happy competitors is a (legal) drug.

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SARA’s new President, Zara Soden

We’re excited to have you as our new President of SA Rogaining.

Thanks, it’s an honour to be part of such a great committee, and humbling to follow past President, Kate Corner, and Mark Porter before her. 

What/where was your first rogaine?

My first rogaine was an Adelaide University Mountain Club event in 1982, I was 16 and went with some friends from school – we were in our school running group together and were also all keen on bushwalking. The event started at Strathalbyn. I could barely tell one end of a map from another and was really just along for the adventure. Our team became completely lost late at night in Kuitpo Forest, complete with mist and full moon. I had recently seen the film ‘American Werewolf in London’ and having a vivid imagination, I was quite frightened! We never found the control we were looking for and headed out into the farmland where we came across local farmers out spotlighting. That also had me worried. We then had about 10 km along a dirt road to get to the compulsory stop at the all-night soup kitchen at the Finnis Hall. We were meant to be there at midnight and were docked all our points for getting there at 4 am!  I remember we jogged parts of this road and I found it interesting that we could still run after all that time on our feet. (While I was keen on running, in training for a marathon at the time, I had never done anything that lasted this long before.) After we had a few hours’ sleep, we had to jog to make it back to Strathalbyn for the midday finish. I think we were pretty close to last in the results. I had never done anything like it and as you see I still remember it after all these years. The same school mates and I participated in another rogaine at Parawa a year later, but I insisted we were back at sunset that time for a good night’s sleep and best pickings at the Hash House.

After your first rogaine, did you jump in ‘boots and all’ or did you take it more slowly?

After 1983 my next rogaine was in 2000 with Andrew Murphy, the 6-hour ‘Mt Misery’ Metrogaine based at Lenswood, so it was a slow transition!  After this event though I was pretty well hooked.

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100 Rogaines – Peter Milnes

By Peter Milnes

The Naracoorte Rogaine earlier this year was a milestone for me, being my 100th event (excluding Minigaines and Cyclogaines). My first rogaine was a 12 hr at Mt Crawford in 1994 when I partnered my son, Mark after his partner withdrew.  Since then I have averaged 4 events a year.  Below are snippets from basic notes I have recorded over the 25 years.

Total distance covered

approx. 4,600km.

Best result

1st in the 2002 Metrogaine with Steve Cooper and Ross Dawson.

Toughest terrain

World Championships in Alice Springs in 2016.  Also had the largest map.

Most difficult traverse

“The spur” at the Oz Champs in Tassie in 2011.  Took about 1½ hours to get between 2 controls down a rocky spur at night, with several 2m drop offs to negotiate.  Obviously not a good route choice.

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Rogaining in 1971 – a memoir

Written by Jim Lee

With John driving us through Adelaide suburbs on our way to Mt. Torrens, Peter and I took the new Silva orienteering compass out of its box and read the instructions on how to align the compass on the map and make allowance for the magnetic deviation. We were all experienced bush-walkers, but a competitive walk was new to each of us. As members of the Flinders University Bushwalking Club we had accepted a challenge from the much more established Adelaide University Mountaineering Club (AUMC) to compete in the “South Australian Orienteering Championships” – but orienteering was virtually unknown in Australia, and rogaining was yet to be named.

We arrived early, about an hour before the start at noon to find around 10 teams there to compete. The rules were: 24 hours to complete the course with penalties for late return; teams of at least two; team members could be dropped, but only at a hash house, and there must be two remaining to continue. There were two hash houses, and it was compulsory to visit both. There would have been no competitors older than about 30. I don’t recall any female teams/competitors but there may have been. There was at least one other team from Flinders, who we did not expect to beat, and talk of a ‘hot’ team from AUMC that was expected to be unbeatable. Peter, John and I agreed that we would just see how we went, but we were not going to run at all.

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World Rogaining Championships – Catalunya, Spain

Written by Craig Colwell

There are some magical moments in life when everything goes right and your body is in tune with the moment, you feel invincible and un-stoppable. I’ve been blessed with this sensation only a couple of times in my life, once on a long-distance run, the other playing a game of basketball.

Unfortunately, at La Molena, on 27 July this year, competing in the 16th World Rogaining Championship was not one of those rare moments. It was more a case of enduring physically and mentally, knowing that we had done this before and could do it again, but realising that we had to limit our goals due to a curtailed preparation.

We began planning for this event in November 2018, but just after entering the event, Evelyn, when running across North Tce on the way to work, ran into the side of a moving car and ended up in hospital with a broken hand and badly cut knee. A few weeks later I badly tore my achilles tendon. Neither of these events were an ideal start to our World Championship preparation, especially as the general advice on my achilles tendon was a 12-month recovery period.

Undaunted, we continued with overseas booking including an 8-day hiking tour through the Pyrenees villages as a warm-up just before the event, as well planning a short visit to the mountainous principality of Andorra to acclimatise ourselves to hiking in the big mountains.

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Conquering Cave Country – 15-hour race report


Written by Stephen Gray – one half of the winning team

I like the 15-hour roving rogaines in SA. Love them! 15 hours in 24. All the good bits of the 24 hour events without all that sleep deprivation. Hide and seek, chatting around the campfire, a good sleep, and a chance to go out again in the morning. Better than two rogaines in one weekend!

I tried to get my rogaining partner, Cath, to write a quick race report. She threatened to take a photo of my back and just write that she followed this. That’s not entirely true, but didn’t change who would write this.

The forests around Naracoorte gave us a significantly different rogaine. Soft underfoot, great! The feet thanked the setters for that. Electric fences, and plenty of them. Hmmm…  Lots of trees, not so sure about ‘A pine tree’, in a sea of green. Some of the controls were challenging to find more so from certain directions than others. One presented us with quite a challenge when collecting it after the event.

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Bendleby Ranges State Champs – Race Report



It was a welcome surprise when long time climbing and bush walking friend, Shaw Callen, messaged me in April to see if I was interested in tackling the upcoming Bendleby Ranges Rogaine. I had previously been there in 2008 with Steve Frigo coming a respectable 7th out of 28 teams.

I had rogained with Shaw in three 24-hour events previously with varied success. Our best result had been coming 6th out of 36 teams in 2009.

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Worth The Waite – Race Report

As I write this with sore legs, aching shoulders and tired mind that’s contemplating a third coffee; I think back to the energetic optimism before the Rogaine. All memories of pain from previous events has conveniently magically disappeared, I somehow think this will be different. It’s only 4 hours! But somehow the last hour always has me questioning my motivations. With cramping legs, fading light and a futile race against the clock; the temptation to throw it in and crash one of the many suburban BBQ’s polluting the street with their heavenly scent was overwhelming. Despite the pain, it won’t be long before I’ll want to do it all over again.

There’s a reason we keep coming back and this event is a prime example. Set in the beautiful leafy suburbs and steep foothills of south-eastern Adelaide; Worth the Waite was bound to offer a combination of pleasant easy walking/running/pram pushing, mixed with grueling hills and incredible views over Adelaide. The afternoon was a warm one, but the gully breeze was ever present ready to cool sweat encrusted Rogainer faces. As everyone gathered for the briefing on the lush lawns of Waite Campus, we all observed a minutes’ silence to honor the victims of the recent New Zealand shooting massacre. The start that followed was a somber and silent one, with none of the usual rushing excitement.

It was apparent that most teams were out to get the painful and grueling hills out of the way first, with a mass migration of Rogainers heading straight up the steep rocky single track to 81. Things were only going to get better from there with incredible, uninterrupted views over Adelaide and a cooling breeze off the coast. The field thinned out quickly as everyone dispersed on their carefully planned routes, some opting for the mansion lined leafy streets of Springfield, while others headed to the steep, dry scrubland and open paddocks of Brown Hill. Some gluttons for punishment (like us) decided that 1 major hill wasn’t enough and pushed up Pony Ridge track or Randell Park up to Belair. Others (perhaps more sensibly) chose to keep to the foothills and suburbs of Lynton and Shepherds Hill, opting for distance over climb.

We originally planned to pick up every control except the three in Randell Park. It became apparent at the top of Brown Hill, then 100% confirmed going up Pony Ridge track that we’d have to miss a significant portion of the southwest corner. The top of Pony Ridge saw us rapidly flagging with just under 2 hours to go, so a new route was planned which involved a more direct route back through Randell Park. As energy, light and time dwindled, more controls were sacrificed in the vain attempt to get back in time. The slight incline to the hash house from the West seemed to go on forever, but eventually we reached the wonderful beacon of light, 6 minutes late but happy. Pizza, watermelon, coffee, doughnuts awaited tired and hungry Rogainers. A perfect ending to another fantastic Rogaine.

Thanks go to the incredible course setters, organisers and volunteers that made it all happen. It was a challenging but thoroughly enjoyable day and I think a lot of the other smiling faces out there would agree. See you at the Velogaine!

Brett Merchant

Donation to Isolated Children’s Parent’s Assoc

One of the key elements (and to be honest, difficulties) in running rogaines is land owner access. SARA plans carefully to provide interesting and often unique access for rogainers to enjoy. This only comes after much work building a long term reputation for caring about the land as much as the owners do. To assist in making and maintaining this SARA often asks local community groups to be involved. Mostly this is in the purchase and preparation of food or running the hash house.

One of the more important rogaining relationships has been in the southern Flinders Ranges, where the members of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA) are often the actual landowners we are working with. Over time more access has become available as more neighbours get involved!

Each year SARA makes a modest donation from the income derived from events to a good cause related to our sport. The Committee is very pleased to say that our 2018 donation was $200 to the Isolated Children’s Parent’s Association, SA branch (ICPA). Most recently the ICPA helped out by running the hash house for the Holowiliena 24 hr State Champs. This included not only cooking and food, but firewood, water and the gun shot to start the event.

You can see the ICPA’s activities on their website:

Rogainer of the Year Award 2018

2018 Rogainer of the Year

Evelyn Colwell
Evelyn has had a memorable year full of highs and lows. Some rogaines were completed with grit and determination, such as the 6-hour Lofty Explorer where Evelyn found herself at the bottom of the mountain with half an hour to go, experiencing severe cramping in her legs. With her focus being on just making it back to the Hash House, she and her husband, Craig, managed to walk straight past a 50-point control on the track then, still breathing heavily once she had finished, 11 minutes late, Evelyn hyperventilated and required some medical assistance. They still managed to win 1st in the Mixed Supervet category and come 10th overall.

At the Velogaine, Evelyn was in a moon-boot so settled with helping on Admin while Craig rode away into the sunset. Valuable RoY points were still accrued by volunteering.

At the roving 15-hour Gum Creek Country and the 4-hour St Patrick’s Day Saunter, Evelyn and Craig raced around the maps, coming a handy 3rd overall and 1st in Mixed Supervet in both events.

The grit and determination certainly came into play in Evelyn’s final rogaine, the Tea Tree Minigaine, where she competed with a knee that had only been operated on two days prior to competing, and a broken wrist. Yes, she’d lost a fight with a moving vehicle only days before, but still managed to compete with the aid of a walking stick and her patient husband, Craig. They came in 8th Mixed Supervet and 79th overall. Not a bad effort, when most sane people would have stayed home!

The highlight of Evelyn’s year was her role as the primary setter for the 24-hour State Champs, Hello-wiliena Again. All teams were hard-pushed to complete an error-free course on a map that encompassed areas of very tricky navigation and well-placed controls. Many experienced rogainers have tales to tell of lost time spent wandering around the landscape searching for orange and white controls.

Congratulations to a rogainer who consistently did her best, whether competing or volunteering.


2018 Runner-up Rogainer of the Year
Craig Colwell

What a year Craig has had! As a partner to his wife, Evelyn, he’s experienced the same highs and lows as her and has been a fantastic competitor in his own right. We think he should actually win a ‘Best and Fairest’ award for his selfless and long-suffering support of Evelyn!

At the 4-hour Velogaine, Craig competed with a friend – neither would be considered dedicated cyclists – but they still managed to crack 1000 points to finish 2nd Male Supervets. Then at the 24-Hour State Champs, he ably assisted with the setting and produced the map, gaining him valuable RoY points.

Congratulations, Craig, for a stellar year.


We have the rogaines scheduled, but we need some setters to do their magic and assist setting/vetting some of the longer events. If you’ve ever considered setting or wondered how to do it, now is your opportunity to give it a go. Full support and direction will be provided by members of the committee.

Beware though – setting can become quite addictive. There’s a lot of power in deciding exactly where those controls will be placed! (If you ever want pay-back for hard-to-find controls, this is how you do it…)

Want to know more about setting? > READ MORE

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 in the process and go hiking around the Flinders Ranges.

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