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.

Location Positives

  1. Reasonably close to Adelaide
  2. Good location for beginners (also good for night time navigation)
  3. A challenge with lots of hills to climb
  4. Plenty of flat land for Santos Tent (a slight problem for the previous events)also in relatively sheltered location.
  5. Lots of parking area
  6. In rain shadow of hills so not so likely to be wet.
  7. Electricity on hand and access to a shearing shed

The downside was lack of tree cover, especially since the bush fire. The bush fire had me really worried, especially as the Orienteering events at Wirrabarra next Easter had to be relocated, but Brenton (Saunders Sanctuary owner) assured me that all would be green again by July and he wasn’t wrong.

The other issue due to lack of tree cover was the toilet one (especially for the ladies), so Craig put in the ‘drop toilet’ at W2 (at my insistence) and we had the Porta-loo delivered to W3. Both were extensively used, in fact I was going to use the ‘drop toilet’ myself when we went around taking photographs on the Sunday, but there was such a bee line towards it that I had to hold on till we returned to the Hash House.

As I knew the area pretty well from our previous event I suggested to Craig that I set and he vet. He readily agreed to this as it left me to contact all the landowners etc – and yes some had changed ownership, and in some cases we didn’t have access this time where we had previously, and vice versa , but it didn’t matter as we required less land.

When it came to the actual setting that hardest part was trying to find the best locations which weren’t used previously. I started with two control points that had been removed last time as they were too close to others and worked from there. Having permission to use the creek/fence lines to the east helped with the spread. We were also going to use the railway line however when we walked along it I found the landscape a little too monotonous preferring the roads where there was at least some change in scenery.

I also wanted to make the course do-able, which caused me considerable anxiety, do-able yes, but not too easily do-able. As it turns out neither of the top teams chose my preferred route choice so I’ll never know, but they did get pleasantly close.

Craig and I took a Thursday off work and tried my course, with him going one way and me the other. The problem with this was we weren’t in racing mode, well I wasn’t and just enjoyed my walk. I found this fun and quite informative, as when setting from the car you take the route from the roads and don’t do the leg as on the map.

For instance when I went from 60, the rocky spur to 72 (watercourse) I took one look at the giant hill between them and thought that maybe I should go around, then thought I wouldn’t on an actual rogaine, so went straight over. It wasn’t as bad as it looked, however it was steep going over from the southern side and wouldn’t want to come down this way. I did watch several teams actually do this on Saturday with my eyes peeping through my fingers in front of them, luckily no-one slid down.

I think separating the two events worked quite well, it meant less stress at the start and finish with less numbers attending. It also kept the treasury aspect a lot more defined with separate entry systems etc. Craig had a few headaches getting the maps organised as our map had more photographs on it whereas the Asthma map was full of sponsors logos, and some of the transcriptions didn’t come across as they should i.e. a corpse for control 23 instead of a copse, but this just added to the fun.

And weren’t we lucky with the weather? Its pelting down with rain as I write this. I was a little concerned about the amount of water in the creeks from the previous weeks rain but found that it just added to the attraction (SA Rogainers don’t often get their feet wet).

When taking a team to the first couple of controls (5 Asthma teams won an ‘expert’ to take them to the first two controls through fundraising and one team scored me) and I saw teams merrily sloshing through the water while others were carefully negotiating stepping stones, I thought it was simply great.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, in fact I feel overwhelmed with the number of people coming up to me after the event or writing congratulatory emails – so thank you all who participated.

I want to thank Brenton and Nadine for having us on their beautiful property and all the work Brenton put in for clearing it up for our use. Craig for all his support, Katie who worked tirelessly the whole three days, also staying to collect controls on the Monday. Wayne, Greg and helpers in the Hash House; Steve, Jeremy, Al & Zita in admin and Trent who did a bit of everything from being thrown in as a tips and tricks person to onion fryer and everything else between and all the others who contributed their time to make it such a great event.

Evelyn Colwell