We were most pleased with the number of people who participated in our survey over the summer. Thanks again to all who took the time and effort. Further comments are always welcome – that’s what this Forum is for…
Tristan White, our Publicity Officer, collated the results and produced the following summary.
NSWRA 2017 Strategic & Planning Survey
We have received 75 responses from our 9-question survey which showed some trends though a lot of variation, which reflects the vast array of people who have competed in the sport.
1. Favourite Events
The noted favourite events varied across the board so won’t go into detail describing them. Several noted the ARC as a great event (I concur), and most that flag the 24h events note them to be very memorable, the defining feature of a traditional rogaine in my opinion. Many also flagged the “Karst Irony” event as great in light of the numerous views that rarely exist in our off-track events.
This only considered events from the past calendar year, and was limited to the events that respondents entered (which averaged at 2), so doesn’t give a great judgment deciding which events were best. (btw SC=State Champs)
2. Bad Experiences
Of 76 respondents, only 12 claimed to have had some form of negative experiences (dismissing two complaints about ACT events) so I don’t think that’s too bad a record. But it’s worth noting down what these were, and my thoughts to them:
- “As it was our first event, very little connection with the organisers, (ie welcome new participants). Also, so many people (teams) got multiple awards… why? Enter one event and spread the love. We finished in the top 3 in the novice section, but our award was not announced, so we had to follow-up and about 3 months later we had to go and collect our “mugs”, no attempt to get them to us. A poor experience for newbies.”
This is disappointing to read that a newcomer feels that way. It’s a pity they did not specify which event. Obviously it’s a reminder that we need to continue to ensure to provide instruction, welcome and inclusion to all newcomers to the sport. This should be reminded to long timers such as ourselves to greet visitors rather than stick in our “rogaine bubbles.” That said, I think it’s usually done well.
- Insufficient food. Three people mentioned this and from looking at the events they entered they were all referring to the Cronulla minigaine where I remember the watermelon disappearing as abruptly as Harold Holt. People do notice food quality/quantity and we need to ensure it remains high.
- “Some rogaines are too long.”
#suckitupprincess That’s the nature of the sport.
- All rogaines were good although some were a bit far away – it would be good to take that into consideration when planning timing for event. Events that are 1hr + drive from the city would be better on Saturdays with a camping option that night.
It is New South Wales Rogaining Association, not Newcastle, Sydney & Wollongong Rogaining association and the open areas that can be freely accessed are often a while away. I’m assuming that they were referring to PP and something of that distance should have a camping option (though personally think that Saturday arrival/campout works fine.
- Good camping spots are always a challenge – but I know you guys are limited as to what can be arranged.
- The Lake Macquarie Rogaine encouraged kids to come along but I found that the easier course was still a bit too hard and checkpoints where a long distance between each other. Good for adults but a bit too hard for younger kids that are too big to carry.
Important to be realistic about what events can have young children. The fact that the Metrogaine, Minigaine, Paddy Pallin and Socialgaine usually are should be an asset, even if others can’t.
- No bad experiences!! But some rogaines I do wish there was another water drop or two (on the long events). I do understand that’s part of route strategy/choice though.
Usually this is done well IMO though I have similar observations. In principle, a refill every 4-5hrs would be good (longer apart at night), meaning we’d want 2 in a 12h and at least 4 in a 24
- Nothing that I particularly recall, although I don’t believe that rogaines where it is necessary to regularly/constantly fight the vegetation adds anything to the experience. If anything, my guess is that those types of experiences put people off doing bush / off-track rogaines.
That’s true and it can be an issue in the LM. We’ve tried to avoid this and we need to continue to ensure that a navigational challenge doesn’t become a fight against lawyer vine and the like
- Rogaine near Goulburn-Marulan on University Station was good but didn’t like the checkpoints being out in the open. Getting accommodation nearby the night before wasn’t easy. Don’t like the checkpoints being in open paddocks where everyone can see so there is no map reading skill needed
Not having done the event I can’t judge but it’s a fair criticism.
- There was no camping at the Paddy Pallin Rogaine
This seems to be a sore spot – 4 of our 12 criticisms mentioned it.
- The heat on the socialgaine was a struggle – much more exposed than last years more bush focussed event. But calling it a “bad” experience is a bit of a stretch.
As someone who has a personal animus against the heat I wholeheartedly agree. With these events (SG and the MG) taking in the heat of the day from 9-3 on the fringes of summer is not a good idea.
- No, the rogaining itself is always good between all 3 associations. The entry fees between each association varies significantly though and this year became a contributing factor for me in terms of which events I went to or whether I even did them at all, eg: NSWRA charged the same price for the 6 hr as the 12hr and same again with the 8hr being charged the same as the 24hr. $100 for an 8 hr event was a massive turnoff. VRA charged $45 for their 24hr event compared to $100 by NSWRA.
We generally aim to minimize the cost, but it does seem to vary from event to event. Perhaps we should standardize these across the year? $100 for an 8h event is excessive, but I also recognize that providing for a 6/12h entrant is usually the same wrt catering, equipment use, HH access etc.
- I really don’t like when setters set with loops in mind, or use roads and tracks to ease their job. As a setter I know it’s tempting but as a competitor I think it kills the sport. Unmarked thick scrub near controls (Mt Werong NE corner) or too much elevation just for the sake of difficulty doesn’t appeal to me. Same with too many tracks. In that sense, the ACT champs was a bit of nightmare since it had both (walking along the beach at night was magical, though).
A matter of preference IMO. But for sanctioned bush events, focus should be made to ensure competitors access the CPs through good navigation rather than speed, whether it be following spurs and gullies, or pacing along a track to an attack point for the CP 100m away (out of sight), particularly where the scrub is thicker. Some people (myself included) like climbing. Not sure what they mean by “loops” – whether they mean one big course route or small obvious loops within a bigger course.
- The LM course could have been designed better – having the winners clear the course with an hour to spare indicates it should be longer. And the fact that top two teams did exactly the same route (albeit in the opposite direction) indicates that there should have been greater effort to remove obvious route choices. I found the SG too hot and dull – the warm conditions were exacerbated by the sun shining off the bitumen (which 75% of the course was on). It too closely resembled an orienteering event, where I believe a SG should be 75% bush with a few streets to link it up.
Only takes the concerns from a sample of the competitors (who actually completed the survey). Presumably, those with extremely negative experiences would be unlikely to be in the FB group, to read the website or newsletters.
3. Reasons for absence
The single most cited answer was that our events clashed with other activities, with only a few noting that they are too expensive (and none that said they didn’t enjoy it at all!) and that they only enjoy certain types of events. Clashes will be a reality, and there isn’t any way around it, but we can make an effort not to put them the same time as other notable events (C2S, adventure races and other ARA events), as well as days such as Mother’s/Father’s Day.
It’s hard to read the graph; here’s the categories:
- I did them all
- Clash with other activities
- Events too far away
- Too expensive
- Don’t enjoy other types (of rogaines)
- Too much toll on my body
- Can’t find team mates
- Let me be frank, …
Those who are more frequently unable to make the events are less likely to have done the survey (and more likely to not enjoy the sport at all, or find it too expensive for what they get out of it)
4. Preferred Type of Event
As expected there’s a wide variety of preferences for type of event, though an obvious number flagged 6-8h off track events, and more people than not preferenced off-track events – rogaining in its most traditional form!
It’s hard to read the graph; here’s the categories:
- 3-4hr urban
- 6-8hr urban
- 6-8hr bush (on track)
- 6-8hr bush (off track)
- 12hr bush (on track)
- 12hr bush (off track)
- 24hr bush (off track)
“Other” preferences or notes included:
- Events between 12 & 24h, including 15 in 24
- 3-4hr bush events
- Urban event must have a significant bushland component.
- Night only event
- Options to do on or off track depending on whether kids have had enough bush bashing
5. Additional events
Over three quarters of respondents would try to attend additional events (which doesn’t mean they will in reality).
6. Event Variants
Three quarters of respondents would be happy to see a variant of some form enter the calendar, with the primary suggestions being more novelty events, and a cyclegaine, the way ACTRA and VRA have. Over a third of respondents would also be keen to see an adventuregaine.
It’s hard to read the graph; here’s the categories:
- Adventure race
- Novelty style
Other suggestions/comments included:
- I like all these ideas. Although I would ensure the core nav discipline is retained.
- Cyclegaine would need to be on road or track (not bush tracks that are single track)
- Would like to see nav skills workshops. Good news for you!
- Other companies offer these things. Stick to high quality bush rogaines (this is true in some cases and we should check this each time a variant is held.)
- They all sound good BUT, NOT at the expense of the usual program of events
- Climbgaines! (How would that work?)
- Teams event? Something like the 16hr in 24hr, but with 2 teams. Say a max/min split on team time of 10hr/6hr etc. I like the idea of including puzzles/problem solving to “flatten” the fitness advantage – test run at an urban event? (Don’t really understand this.)
- Family or kid friendly events… I plan on doing many (but not all) of my future rogaines with my kids and they love it. It would be great to make the events more kid friendly… or even just add awards for kids who reach certain milestones.
“I don’t have time” is the most common response, or “I don’t compete in enough to justify,” and with the average respondent entering 2/year that’s understandable.
It’s hard to read the graph; here’s the categories:
- I already volunteer
- I don’t compete in enough rogaines
- I don’t have time
- I can’t find a role that suits
- I volunteer to other sports
A selection of the comments includes:
- Not sure how if it’s possible, but if I could volunteer for a couple of hours only I would be more available for volunteering. I do so few events, because of clashes with family commitments. However, the commitments often just make me unavailable from the entire Rogaine. I could still help out for a few hours. The only other problem is the long distance to travel.
- Provide more information about specific jobs and their expected time frame especially jobs with the least amount of time commitment. I’d really like to help more and have collected CPs after races but when travelling significant distances to get to events and with family commitments it helps to understand what you may be signing up for as a volunteer. Jobs that are able to be done by participants in the event would be great.
- Offer a more formalised or written guide to volunteers. Past volunteer experience felt like left on our own to sort out what and how to do it, and cop any flack if it’s not what was expected.
- If I was aware of small ways I could volunteer then I think I would. (There’s a good chance this is written someone where and I just haven’t seen it!)
- Describe some of the roles that are needed and whether they conflict with competing in that Rogaine
- Maybe a discount on other events (Yes, well this is done, but perhaps we could consider a discounted entry if they don’t qualify for a free entry.)
- Volunteer social nights to get to know the other people we’ll be working with (Volunteer weekend away?)
8. Other Suggestions
The “other suggestions” section, predictably, had a whole range of ideas, including the following. It was encouraging to see many suggestions that we are already doing, such as nav workshop, and planning to do.
- Better promotion, both online & in print – seems to be a hotspot, 10 people said this.
- Consider a way to respond to the increased spate of extreme heat which could be present in November/February.
- Cheaper Entries
- The photos of people having fun at the events are great. Especially including people of all ages and abilities to show how inclusive it is
- Wish you would offer solo entries for 6-hr events.
- Perhaps offer a 2 hour beginners course, where an experienced rogainer could take a group out for a couple hours and teach the skills of rogaining (Nav Workshop)
- Cross-pollinate with adventure racing / trail running people and maybe consider a ‘multisport’ weekend with some of these groups
- It would be great to have more details earlier – including the cost
- Love the improvements you are making. Continue to promote bring your own cups, plates etc to be environmentally aware – don’t provide plastic plates!
- Consider changing the sports name. Most people think it is a hair growth product. (Sorry guys, we didn’t name it, maybe have a word with the founders)
- About 3 hours, solo entry, in a natural environment, would be perfect for me personally…. (Bring on the Scheyville Minigaine!)
- Do more intro to newbies, and support. I find the experienced people chat and give each other advice on ways to select routes, and things like that, where newbies get ignored, and have to fend for themselves. (Same in Orienteering circles too). Tips for becoming better, (route choices, distance expectations, etc). 1 x 3 hr Minigaine every 6-8 weeks would be great. As mentioned. Why should a team be 2nd in 1 division and 1st in other… maybe too many divisions. Why not a handicap system, as well, so fairer to all competitors, like golf. Scratch and net scores if you know what I mean. More refreshments at the end for those who return late. I probably have more, but can only think of these now. Good luck and thanks for letting us provide feedback.
- I think you focus too much on serious competitors. Outsiders and people in it for fun can find it hard to work out what the events might be like.
- It would be nice to have a saved profile for a team or for individuals. We always enter the same team and it is pretty tedious having to type in all the details every time.