A happy 2023 to you all. I  hope you have had some rest and relaxation over the summer and are ready to enjoy some great rogaining in 2023!  Our committee has been working behind the scenes with other volunteers planning some fun and challenging events for this year. We have a mix of both experienced and new setters planning their events. ( As an aside, if you are interested in helping to set an event in the future, please let someone on the committee know. If you are new to setting we can try and pair you with some old hands to help you learn the ropes.)

What are your rogaining goals for this year? Perhaps to cover a longer distance than you have before? To come in the top 50 % of placings, or top 10 %? To plan a realistic route, find the controls and make it back in time? (Surely the ultimate rogaining goal!) Or to have every team member come back smiling, with your kids asking when is the next rogaine?

Perhaps you might consider a bush event for the first time. We have two exciting bush events planned for this year, firstly an 8 or 15-hour Roving event, 3 – 4 June, in the Southern Flinders Ranges set by experienced setting team Sue and Peter Milnes and Rob Tucker. And secondly, the long anticipated 12-hour or 24-hour State Championships in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park (I-FRNP), on the 5 – 6 August, again with experienced setters, Mark Corbett, Evelyn and Craig Colwell and Stephen Gray.

A big thank you to committee members Rob Tucker and Peter Milnes, who successfully applied to the I-FRNP Co-Management Board, for permission to use this area. This was a lengthy process and we were very pleased to get approval. Even more reason to mark this one in your calendar. We do understand that a weekend away, especially for families with multiple extra curricular activities, can be a huge undertaking and not always feasible, but if you are able to manage it, we can guarantee a memorable experience navigating in remote landscapes (possibly under moonlight if you choose to stay out) with good food, good company (well at the least, other like-minded crazy people) and good camping. Remember that camping at the Hash House on the Sunday night is included in your entry, so if you can, plan early to have a Monday off for those dates, and enjoy a yarn around the fire after the event.

On other matters, the committee met in January to do some planning and risk management. As you can appreciate, there are many aspects to running a rogaine and managing risks. We were very fortunate to be led by David Powell in updating our risk management strategy. Thank you David!  Another exciting development is that we are having a purpose built rogaining trailer made for us using a local company. Our long-standing Equipment Officer, Peter Milnes, has designed this with ease of manual handling in mind. In particular, the inclusion of side panels will allow for more volunteers to help pack up simultaneously after an event. Our national body, the Australian Rogaining Association (ARA), have generously assisted SARA with the purchase price of this with a grant. Incidentally ARA also funded 50% of the purchase of our defibrillator in 2021. We appreciate their support.

At the national rogaining level, at last October’s AGM, attended by yours truly, a technical change was voted in to use more inclusive terminology with regard to gender. The new national rule T17 ( which the states will now follow as well) is that the gender categories are 1. Men – all team members are men, 2. Women – all team members are women,  3. Mixed – everyone else. It is positive that rogaining as a sport is recognising the importance of using inclusive language, so that all feel seen. This is currently also being considered by the International Rogaining Federation, along with some other changes (such as increasing the age of the Veteran Category from 40 to 45 years in line with recent evidence about rates of decline of speed and endurance performance with age). We will keep you informed of the outcomes.

You may remember that three talented young SARA members, Meredith Norman, Abigail George and Joanna George, surprised and delighted us by winning the Women’s Youth category against tough competition, in the 2022 World Rogaining Championships in the Czech Republic. This tenacious trio are defending their title at the 2023 World Rogaining Championships in California USA in July. The  SARA, along with the ARA and the Nigel Aylott Scholarship Memorial Foundation (NASMF) are pleased to be able to offer sponsorship support to these young women, and we wish them all the best.

That’s all from me for now, except to say I look forward to seeing you at the Stirling event!

SARA President