When Tarnya Van Driel isn’t getting lost, (i.e., immediately on her way home from this year’s Take A Breather six-hour event), she is the Business Development Manager responsible for fund raising and communications for the Asthma Foundation in South Australia. This is lucky for SARA, because Tarnya is a whirl of enthusiasm for her cause (asthma), and now ours (rogaining).

The Asthma Foundation needs a signature fund-raising event. Tarnya’s hope is to make Take A Breather as successful and recognisable as other major national fund-raising events – which presents an exciting opportunity for rogaining in South Australia.

SARA runs on volunteers, and is dependent on the participation and active involvement of its members. So our involvement with the enthusiasm power-house that is Tarnya and her commitment to the Asthma Foundation provides our sport in South Australia with important exposure, and through that exposure the chance to attract fresh participants (your fellow and future competitors) to join us.

How did Tarnya find out about rogaining? Pretty much by chance (the same way we sometimes manage to find those hard controls). Speaking with some BAE staff about what they seek in an outdoor, team-building experience, Tarnya understood that they were looking for adventure and the opportunity to build team-work and team-bonding, and to do strategic planning. Orienteering came to mind, and on the orienteering website Tarnya discovered a link to…rogaining.

Tarnya’s first rogaine was the inaugural Take A Breather event, the Spring 6/12 hour event at Port Germaine (2009). She lured her family away from the second week of school holidays to climb the Flinders Ranges through the Salvation Jane, breathing hard, because they can, to help others breathe (something of a Tarnya mantra); and found it immensely rewarding.

The following year Take A Breather was held in conjunction with the 6-hour SARA event at Bundaleer Forest.  The numbers were up (103 teams competed), and so were the funds raised. Fund raising assists the Asthma Foundation to offer a significant range of services and assistance to asthma sufferers, (workplace and sporting club training in asthma first aid, the provision of asthma control packs and action plans, advice, information and support and much more). The partnership between the Asthma Foundation and SARA makes clear sense: getting away from our usual life-stresses out into the fresh air pursuing health, fitness and positive adventure.

Saint John of the Cordial Eucharist? Volunteering to save our fluids: a greatly appreciated effort.
Saint John of the Cordial Eucharist? Volunteering to save our fluids: a greatly appreciated effort.
Importantly, at Bundaleer Tarnya managed to more than double her Port Germaine score (750, up from 370). Her next aim is to crack 1,000 points. Tarnya is somewhat sheepish about getting her team lost in the 3-hour minigaine (2010 ‘Carisbrooke and Cobblers Canter’), but her 340 points for that event doesn’t look at all disreputable given that it was achieved in half the time of a 6-hour event.

Adventures along the way to Take A Breather this year include finding her way to the event site by following the car that passed her in the wee-small hours driven by a fellow wearing a head-light (odds on this was Jim Casanova); and personally cooking seven buckets of curry chicken and five buckets of rogan josh in the weeks beforehand (Tarnya actually has her own 30 litre pot!).

The appreciation flows in both directions. Tarnya is enormously respectful and appreciative of SARA’s contribution in terms of equipment, resources (material and personal), and knowledge. For rogaining is South Australia, we receive huge exposure, and some excellent practice in running larger events prior to SARA’s responsibility for running the 2012 Nationals.

Tarnya is especially grateful for the effort that SARA members put in to make the 2011 Take A Breather event so successful. The excellent setting, the novice training, the admin team, the Hash House effort, Peter Milnes’ and others enormous efforts at setting up and packing away the mass of equipment, as well as the positively shared sense of fun and welcome that helped to make the event especially memorable.

At the time of writing, over $19,500 has been raised from the 2011 Take A Breather. The Fundraising site (http://www.takeabreather.com.au/) will remain open for another four weeks, so there’s still time to show your appreciation for all the enthusiasm and hard work of Tarnya and the Asthma Foundation staff, and to show your support for all those eager new participants who came and joined our fun in the Para Wirra bush over the weekend. Let’s not feel at all shy about fundraising for asthma, and perhaps now is a good time to start considering volunteering in some way to help make next year’s Take A Breather another marvellous success.

For more information on asthma, visit the Asthma Foundation website: http://www.asthmasa.org.au