G'day Rogainers,

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NSW Championships Change of Date – to 21st & 22nd September 2019

It takes a lot of effort to organise the 24/8-hour NSW Champs. This year our original site has been deemed too small, so we’re relocating to Yengo National Park and the date is put back one week due to another booking on our original schedule.

Mark the new date in your calendars. The NSW Champs are the peak rogaine on our annual calendar, a great excuse for you to spend a weekend in the bush.

Nyctophobia Buster 2.5/5hr Night Rogaine - Results & Photos on the Website!

The first predominately night-time rogaine has been run and won, with almost 240 participants on the start line at Hornsby Heights Scout Hall for either the 2.5 or 5hr editions, the latter of which finished in the rain. Excuse my bias from my role in organising and setting but what an event! Not only these brave souls give up their Saturday night to run around the bush with headtorches, but about a third of them took part in the spooky costume competition, which was a very close contest between “Devil’s Cove Trotters” and “Horrible Housewives” (and a whole host of others.)

Costume winners Horr(or)ble Housewives

“Devil’s Cove Trotters” Melissa Robertson and Steve Mcdonald deserve extra credit for doing the whole thing in capes and coming out the other end in 13th place with grins on their faces.

“Rest in Pieces” Cooper and Adam Horley took out the scary team name competition (with matching costumes), 3rd in the family section and 7th overall in the 2.5hr event. Awesome work.

The “Ghost jumping out at rogainers” on the corner of the map was more than just decoration. It was a warning to what would happen on the night. Sorry to anyone getting CP14 at the end of the 2.5hr!

Normally we list the top positions at the conclusion event, but for this event I instead want to pay special mention to a four of the lowest ranking 2.5hr teams for their exceptional results:

  • Hagen Bluhm & Nerilee Edwards: -50 points (210 points gross with 26 minute late penalty)
  • Stuart Deane & Tom Deane: 49 minutes & 54 seconds late
  • Rebecca Parsons & Anjali Grover: 1 hour, 41 minutes & 34 seconds late
  • Dianne Bergen, Colin Burnett & Karla Burnett: 1 hour, 54 minutes & 7 seconds late

Thanks to all these teams for contacting us to let us know you were all right, no team name or costume is as scary to the organisers as having an unaccounted team!

Also a special mention to Mike Ward & Stacey Bryce from the 5hr event who, after deciding to pull out at the bottom of Galston Gorge, hitch-hiked back to the Hash House. Yes, you read that right: two soaking wet people managed to convince a stranger to stop for them at 9:30pm, in the dark, in the rain, in the fog, in the middle of the bush, and let them into the car. Looking back, I regret that they were disqualified – that would have taken much more skill than running through the bush.

Whilst we encourage rogainers to contribute and look through photos from every event, there’s some absolutely fantastic shots of the night, mostly taken by Julian Ledger, that are absolutely worth a look at, including the (Haunted) Hash House, costumes, the start and finish and a few action shots during the event.

The top 4 routes from the 5hr event. Some very impressive scores given the dark, wet and foggy conditions

Lake Macquarie 12/6hr Rogaine – Saturday 10th August - Entries are now open

Course setters Bob and Pam Montgomery have had great fun climbing around the steep spurs, deep gullies, and rocky outcrops of the course at Sugarloaf Conservation Area. There will be plenty of bush navigation to do, with few tracks, so don't forget your compasses. There are some scenic gullies and open spurs, and some panoramic views from the higher ridges. Wombats, wallabies, lyrebirds, owls and bell birds have been spotted on the map.

To get some more information about this event, which has been a long-time fixture of our calendar, I chatted with one of the organisers, Bert van Netten, who has been one of the founders of the sport in NSW to hear about how the event has evolved, and while it is worth the trip to Lake Macquarie.

Tristan White: How long has the Lake Macquarie event been running, what was its origin, and what has encouraged you to keep coming back?

Bert van Netten: I’ve been helping to set the Lake Macquarie Rogaine for 28 years - indeed in 2016 Bob Gilbert and Ian Dempsey organised a celebration for our 25 year anniversary. We started an annual event in Lake Macquarie as it was close to home for all of us to set without being away from family for long periods of time.

TW: What are your personal favourite spots that have been included in a Lake Macquarie rogaine?

BVN: Ian Dempsey likes the Sugarloaf area and I have a preference for the Watagans.

Bert and Ian Dempsey setting a previous LM rogaine

TW: What have been some course setting challenges you've faced when organising a LM rogaine?

BVN: There can be some vegetation challenges in the Watagans as we all know. :-)

TW: What do our Lake Mac entry fees go towards?

BVN: We give a donation to the scouts for catering and girl guides for providing tea and damper on the course. We give donations to Cooranbong SES and wilderness rescue who co-ordinate safety for the event, and sometimes give donations to the Westpac helicopter or such. We also have all the usual costs such as toilets, maps, catering etc. Lake Macquarie City Council supports our event as part of the cities games and provides medals for competitors.

TW: What will be special about the 2019 edition of the Lake Macquarie rogaine?

BVN: Bob and Pam Montgomery have been busy again this year setting the course. There are some beaut scenic locations on this map, some nice open spurs, areas of grass trees and gymea lilies, some rocky climbs to great lookouts and, depending on route choice, teams might see fossils or the taj mahal of wombat homes!

TW: Is there anything else that people can volunteer to do, either on the day or before and after?

BVN: We are lucky to have a strong orienteering club in the area with many eager helpers, people like Carolyn and Russell Rigby and Neil Chappell who are often helping out each year! We always welcome more volunteers, especially people who want to hang flags or collect flags after the end. All our volunteers help make it an enjoyable event!

TW: Thank you Bert and the rest of the LM team for your many years of service. All the best with the rest of the organising!

Australasian Rogaining Championships, 9th -10th November –Earlybird Entries Now Open!

Entry is now open for the “Binalong Day and Night” Australasian 24hr Rogaining Champs to be held in the Bay of Fires area in Tasmania, 9-10 November 2019. Enter before 31st July to get a 10% discount! To get a better feel about the event, I asked coordinator Peter Tuft some more questions to help entice to make the trip across Bass Strait:

Tristan White: Hi Peter, many people will have seen your name around in NSW events, but haven’t met you. So a few questions about you to start. Firstly, what did you do for a profession?

Peter Tuft: I retired a couple of years ago after more than 20 years as an independent engineering consultant in the oil and gas industry, initially in design and more recently focussing on safety issues. Knowing what we know now I’m not thrilled about having worked in a fossil fuel industry, but one’s career path is not entirely under one’s own control and we didn’t really know about climate change all those years ago when I landed in that area by chance.

Peter Tuft

TW: When did you do your first rogaine, what got you into it, and why do you keep coming back?

PT: I’ve been rogaining since before the name “rogaining" existed. I participated in what was then known as “Intervarsity Orienteering” in 1973 (at Yea in Victoria) and with that wealth of experience was part of the organising team for the 1974 Intervarsity. A few years later with many of the same people from UNSW we organised the first public rogaine in NSW at Wollombi. I've loved being in the bush since childhood, and I love the challenge of precise navigation, so rogaining is a perfect fit. I’m really not into flogging myself for 24 hours. However being involved in setting a course is even better because it’s less physically demanding and the navigation is even more demanding than for competitors.

TW: What is your most memorable rogaining experience?

PT: That first event in 1973 would have to be the most memorable because it was such a new experience to a wide-eyed 20 year old. The weather was pretty wet for the first few hours but we coped OK in our oiled japara jackets and Dunlop Volley sandshoes. At one point we paused in a tiny country pub to warm up and have a (non-alcoholic) drink. By the time we dropped in to the HH in the small hours I’d well and truly had enough and withdrew from the team, which back then was allowed without penalty. But I kept coming back anyway.

Also very memorable were multiple trips to Ross River Resort as part of the setting team for the World Champs in 2016. To be able to explore that fascinating country at great length and at relative leisure was wonderful.

TW: Now, about the event in November. Who is on the organisation team for the 2019 ARC?

PT: While I’m the Event Director I have only a coordination role. All the real work is being done by others, most particularly Bernard Walker as course setter (along with his partner Sara Brain). Gary Carroll (Rogaining Tas president) is heavily involved in a plethora of tasks (including keeping an eye on me), Sally Wayte is event secretary, Jeff Dunn is lead vetter, Kristin Raw is doing publicity, Nick Bowden (former RT president) is doing a sterling job on logistics, and there are many others chipping in in various ways. All of these people have many years if not decades of rogaining and orienteering experience. Bernard in particular has enormous experience having competed in about 50 rogaines, set and/or organised five and has also been event director for a number of national orienteering events.

Bernard & Gary at the start of the 2018 ARC in S-E Qld

TW: Why did you choose the Bay of Fires region for the event?

PT: Bernard investigated several potential locations that were eliminated due to landowner or other issues. The St Helens area is well-known to orienteers as offering great terrain, and in addition is mostly on Parks or forestry land.

TW: You're obviously going to keep intimate details about the event a well-guarded secret, but is there anything you can tell us about the course area and what's special about it?

PT: Granite terrain with interesting rock features, runnable forest, interesting navigation, spectacular coastline. I particularly enjoyed setting a checkpoint at a granite boulder about 8m high as well as travelling through very open forest with minimal understorey. Unfortunately it isn’t all quite like that, and you might even find the occasional small patch of scrub, but there is certainly a great deal of beautiful terrain.

Bernard and Sarah doing field work on course

TW: What makes the Tasmanian rogaining experience unique?

PT: You are less likely to get overheated! (but we can’t promise that you won't). Perhaps the most unique feature of this event is the Bay of Fires granite coastline. Apart from that most of the event area is not dissimilar to much mainland country. That’s a good thing, because you really would not want to be rogaining in the central and western parts of Tasmania which are well-known and spectacular but best appreciated from a good track.

TW: What if I'm not an experienced rogainer? Should the "Australasian Champs" name turn me off?

PT: We have deliberately set the course to be suitable for all standards. There is a good selection of checkpoints in relatively easy terrain and not too far from the hash house. Even the Bay of Fires coast is within reasonable striking distance. So less experienced rogainers and family groups are most welcome.

TW: What else would you recommend interstate teams check out in the vicinity so we can make a holiday out of it?

PT: All of Tasmania! It’s not a huge place. Since you will be on the East Coast the obvious destinations include the Freycinet Peninusula (only 1.5h drive), Maria Island (2.5h + ferry), and the Tasman Peninsular and Port Arthur (4h; try the fantastic day walk to Cape Raoul). It’s a couple of hours drive to Launceston, Hobart is only a bit over 3h and Cradle Mountain is less than 4h. And if you are into mountain biking then stay fairly local and pop over the range to Derby with its world-class trails. I could go on and on...

TW: Thanks Peter! See you in November.

World Rogaining Championships, 27th & 28th August

A final note to wish well our six NSW teams who are partaking in the 18th World Rogaining Championships in Spain. At about 1 hour into the event (21:00 on the 27th, AEST) you can track the teams on the website!

Tristan White
Publicity Officer
NSW Rogaining Association

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