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.