Strategic Plan – What’s Wrong with Rogaining

What’s wrong with Rogaining? I reckon there is nothing wrong with rogaining. I love the sport and I have been happily competing for 23 years now and I am looking forward to giving the Super Veterans a run for their money when I qualify next year. So I am probably the wrong person to answer this question.

Consider the following graph:

Rogainers Attending Multiple Events

This graph tells us that about half of all rogainers only ever attend 1 event and few rogainers ever compete in more than 4 events.

Why do few rogainers ever attend more than 4 events? I do not know.

What I do know is that while rogaining participation rates have been growing gradually, participation in other adventure sports have been growing exponentially.
What I also know is that most rogainers prefer the shorter events.

This year’s NSW Champs was a fabulous event but only 81 people took the field for the 24 hour Championship event and numbers for the NSW Champs have historically been well less than half the number that attend the Paddy Pallin event each year.

I am on the NSW Rogaining Committee and contributed to the Strategic Plan, so I think this Strategic Plan embraces a series of strategies that we need to put into place to improve the participation rates in our sport, but I would love to hear from those with other ideas. I would also love to hear from those who think these are the right set of strategies to improve participation rates in our sport.

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6 Responses to Strategic Plan – What’s Wrong with Rogaining

  1. Shanti says:

    I find that the main thing holding me back is finding a partner (the partner finding service is great for this and I usually have success, but a lot of people might not want to walk around the bush for a day with a complete stranger). The 3 hr ones are great because you can do them individually but it would be nice if some of the 6 hr Metrogaines had an individual option. The other one is access – it’s great to be able to move around the state and see new places but sometimes it can be difficult to get out there (especially when they don’t always have camping). Having more events as per the plan will definitely help – sometimes they fall on inconvenient dates when you have other things scheduled.

  2. Andy Macqueen says:

    Good work on the Strategic plan Trevor and committee. All very sound ideas.

    This is a bit left of field and probably revolutionary (though perhaps not new), but here goes anyway …

    While at the World Champs in Latvia it struck me how orienteering and rogaining in Latvia are both under one (orienteering) organisation – and (so we were told) the combination is the biggest sport in Latvia.

    Rogaining arose as a variation on orienteering, and indeed the details of how the Paddy Pallin orienteering contest – I competed in one of the first – morphed into the Paddy Pallin Rogaine seem to have been lost in the mists of many events.

    I have no idea of the politics which caused rogaining to set up separately in Oz, or the current politics which might hinder a union, but might it be worth exploring? For what it’s worth, I mentioned the idea to a prominent member of the NSW orienteering community over a few wines last weekend, and he thought it was a good idea …

    Advantages might include greater mutual participation, coordination of events, a greater pool of volunteers, more efficient emplyment of executive staff, and increased marketing power (for both “camps”). A risk might be loss of identity, but I’m sure there will always be enthusiasts to push the rogaining barrow.

    Just a thought.

    • Chris Stevenson says:


      Heretical indeed, but certainly worthy of good consideration.

    • Ian Dempsey says:

      Worth adding your idea to the mix Andy and interesting that it seems to work in one country.
      I can see the efficiencies that might develop from a merge, but, given the different state associations across the 2 sports here and differences in mapping standards, equipment and entry systems, it will require a heroic effort to push it along.
      One of our longstanding rogaining administrators in Newcastle has confided that he likes doing work for rogaining more than for orienteering because the rogainers complain less. Apologies to the orienteering community and let it be known that I like both sports.

  3. adrian plaskitt says:

    Thanks for all the work you guys do – it is much appreciated.
    My thoughts from the graph are that something needs to happen to inspire people during their first few events. How about some sort of welcoming ceremony after your second event? First event you get dragged along to but if you come to a second event you are clearly bloodyminded enough to be a potential repeat offender. So I reckon a special mug, getting called out and clapped, and your photo in an email that goes around to everyone a week later with the results and the winners.
    Then, anyone who has done two events or more gets entered into a division called something like “Best on the day” which is awarded for the top 3 teams that do better than predicted based on the average previous performance of the members – ie a handicap system ( but handicap is a bad word – maybe a rating system). This would almost always be won by non-elites – as the better you are the harder it is to do better than your previous performances. That way everyone entering has a chance of walking home with a prize based on performance, even if they have no hope of ever competing for the upper places, and you have a metric by which to measure your progress. Might help the beginners and middle of the road competitors to maintain interest.
    Not that most of us do rogaining for the prizes – but it is kinda nice if you are a plodder like me to have a hope of getting a clap and a mug if you have a good day. And if you have a bad day then at least your average will go down and you have a better chance next time!
    An event wrap up email with the winners and photos and maybe some navigational tips or route choice ideas would allow us all to gradually put names to faces and improve our technique. I know its all on the website, but you have to go looking for that rather than have it come to you directly.
    They’re my thoughts – thanks again for providing such a great activity – don’t regard any of the above as a criticism – its great just the way it is, and I know every suggestion comes with more work and organising. Cheers adrian

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