G'day Rogainers,

NSW Rogaining eNewsletter, 30th Jan 2023

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3-hour Escape to the City Minigaine, Little Bay, Sunday 26th February, More Info & Entry Here

The 2023 Minigaine will be in Sydney’s picturesque seaside suburbs of Malabar and La Perouse, including large portions of the famous Maroubra to La Perouse walk. Epic sandstone cliffs, a couple of beautiful national parks, wartime fortifications, plus hidden beaches and bays ... there is plenty to enjoy during the event.

First-time course setter Jordan Barta lives in Malabar and runs the trails regularly. Says Jordan, “Malabar and Cape Banks are known for their shipwrecks and war tunnels, which could make a perfect location to hide checkpoints. I’m extremely excited to share these with the rogaining community.”

2023 Annual General Meeting

Our AGM will be held following the Minigaine presentations, with all NSW rogainers welcome to participate. Primary business will be to report financial status and to elect the Committee for the next 12 months. With a couple of committee members stepping down, including President Trev, there is a need for some new blood and energy in the organisation.

Submissions to the AGM should be directed to John Clancy, secretary@nswrogaining.org


6-hour “Search for Skippy” Socialgaine, Terrey Hills, Sunday 20th November, Results & Photos Here

A warm day, to be expected at the end of November, and a great course was appreciated by the 343 participants in the final event for 2022. Julian Ledger and his team took us to a diverse area, with plenty of bushland, some suburbia, and a peek into some elite properties with their stables, tennis courts and dressage arenas beyond manicured hedges.

“This was such a great day out. The location was awesome and a wonderful way to introduce newcomers to rogaine. Thanks to the organisers and volunteers ... and the scouts!” [Linda Mandin]

Andrew Renwick and Peter Marshman were clear winners, choosing an anticlockwise loop of the course, and aiming for all checkpoints. In the end they had to skippy just four checkpoints, the descent and climb to get #100 in the west, which also confirms that the setters got their course length just right.

The top five teams were:

  1. Andrew Renwick, Peter Marshman (Men’s Vet 2,880 points)
  2. Xanda Kolesnikow, Ivan Koudashev (Men’s U/23 2460)
  3. John Barnes, Mardi Barnes (Mixed Vets 2290 5:38:25 finish)
  4. Serge Kurov, Maria Plyashechko (Mixed 2290 6:00:22)
  5. Gill Fowler, Phil Whitten (Mixed Vets 2,290 6:12:38)

Peter Marshman & Andrew Renwick were clear overall winners, 220 points ahead of the next team.

Skippy Returns

It is hard to keep a good kangaroo down! For those of you who missed the Search for Skippy Socialgaine or if you took part but would like to explore parts of the course you didn’t reach then we have a solution. The map has now been uploaded by Graham Field to the MapRun App and is the 16th NSW rogaine course available. For the complete list see: Map Run - NSW Rogaining. Having downloaded the App to your phone and found the event, each time you ‘visit’ a checkpoint the satellite picks it up, your phone pings and the score is recorded.

There are couple of changes to the original Skippy course. The start/finish has been moved to just outside the Alexander School front gate – no need to enter the school grounds. Skippy, aka Chris Stevenson, is on holidays and has taken #38 with him, so it can’t be found by map-runners.

The website has the map available to download and it is also available on the App but if you would like a copy of the Hamish Mackie’s original creation then spares are available from Graham at graham.field@internode.on.net for a $10 fee.

Lisa Cahill , Kelly Murphy & Melissa Robertson (The Roo-gainers) were one of the many teams who found this 2-metre tall kangaroo carrying checkpoint #38. They also encountered a real kangaroo & joey and an echidna while collecting 1920 points to win the Women's Veteran category.


Perhaps due to us being in lockdown for so long, and perhaps too many cancelled events … there was significant review, analysis and navel gazing on our forum last year.

Firstly, in September Chris Stevenson suggested that rogaining is facing extinction unless we adapt to allow GPS navigation as a separate class of competition. This stirred significant comment, the gist of which was: it ain’t broken so why fix it.

Some support for the idea was offered. Mark H reckoned it would be good to see the difference in results between the two classes – those with GPS versus those without. However Richard Robinson pointed out that it would impact in numerous ways (“GPS teams would inevitably lead some traditional teams into CPs.”)

Part of Chris’ argument hinged on the falling number of attendees in NSW. Respondents suggested Covid lockdowns, cancellations and extreme weather were part of the problem. Richard Pattison pointed out that “participation drops by 0.88 people for every 1km away from Sydney (and) drops by 9.3 people for every 1 hour of duration” while others questioned the need for more people, such as Keelan Birch: “is it really good to have 500 or even 1000 people at a Metrogaine?”

There was the philosophical view, identifying the beauty of map and compass navigation. For example, from Erica Barlow: “Being able to use a map and compass requires observational skills – looking up, around, keeping track of features. Being aware of what’s around you and taking it all in. A phone (or another device) with a GPS does not. The only skill required there is to follow the dot.” Richard Robinson concurred: “There are few greater joys than navigating in the dark through complex terrain and have the CP marker pop up exactly where you expect it to be.”

The discussion moved to better promotion for rogaining. Mat Collin noted that trail running is very popular, perhaps because of the “glitz and glamour”, greater use of technology and merchandise. As Keelan Birch observed, that would likely mean commercial organisers and higher entry fees.

You can read Chris’ full article and the many responses here, then add your own comments.

Secondly, in December Nicole Mealing presented an article that followed one of the themes from the Dinosaur posting. Nicole recounted her first unhappy rogaine, where she “was glad when the event was over and didn’t feel any desire to rogaine again.” She then follows with ways to improve people’s experience and skills, and the processes at the UTS Outdoor Adventure Club which have improved people’s take-up and enjoyment of the sport. Read Nicole’s article here.

Finally, in December Brett Davis highlighted the anomaly that infants can legitimately, within the current rules, be the second member of your team, and he asks if someone would loan him their swaddled babe for the NSW Champs this year. Read Brett’s article here.


[Tristan White looks back at the year that was 2022, and forward to more adventures.]

Perhaps it’s become a cliché by now, but the past three years for Eastern Australia have been marred by one natural calamity after another. It probably seems like a long time ago, but at the end of 2019, bushfires were raging across the nation, Scott Morrison wasn’t holding hoses, and areas that had been used in rogaines only months earlier (Yengo NP, Gardens of Stone, Colo) were now all scorched and inaccessible. The NSWRA Committee were pacing anxiously trying to work out if there were any venues that weren’t burned that we could tread upon for rogaines throughout the next six months.

It turned out we needn’t have worried. Within weeks, new words such as “novel coronavirus”, “pandemic”, “lockdown”, and “isolation” entered our vernacular and all events in the first eight months of the year were quickly turfed. Although we managed to get in several events – notably both the 2020 and ’21 ACT Champs - any hope for a more predictable calendar in 2021 was decimated in June, when we were “Delta” wildcarded and plunged into more lockdowns.

Once it seemed that Australia had realised its attempts to eradicate COVID were as effective as its attempts to banish cane toads and feral rabbits, in late 2021 the rogaining crews eagerly pulled together a calendar of events for 2022, only to have them washed away – in this case literally, thanks to the La Nina wave that swept through in 2022. In particular, spare a thought for Michael Watts whose much anticipated outback Gundabooka NP rogaine was cancelled for three years straight.

The statistic that continues to astound me is, despite the amount of rain that fell over 2022, all of the rogaines I entered faced dry and otherwise mild conditions throughout, notwithstanding those that were either cancelled or modified due to prior flooding.

The first event I entered in 2022 was the ACT Champs, set in the Snowy Mountains near Yarrangobilly. Canberra’s rogaining icons David Baldwin and Julie Quinn had the ignominy of testing Covid-positive two days before the event and were forced to pass the organisations reins to Ron Simpson and Jean Douglass. Aside from the beautiful sub-alpine scenery that populated the bulk of the course, the two things that stood out to me were being near-frozen at 3am as we walked across an open plain with nowhere to hide from the dew and mist, and losing the nails from both my big toes due to the rugged terrain.

In this event, as in two others, I was accompanied by the legendary Mike Hotchkis. Mike’s dilemma is that, whilst he is far and away the strongest Super Veteran around, there are not many other SVs who can keep up with him for 24 hours. Fortunately for Mike, when he is at his best, he ends up at the top end of the Open classification so getting a category win is simply a bonus.

Whilst Mike and I may be worlds apart in age, appearance and personality, we are united on policy – that is, climate policy: “If I see a hill, I climate.” If we have to go up ten contours to collect a 30-pointer, that doesn’t faze us; however the singular ability to ascend doesn’t necessarily ascend us to the lead in the results, and we confirmed that in the final hours of the event where we made a litany of errors that likely cost us several placings.

I entered Toni Bachvarova and Andrew Smith’s 12-hour “Boogie Woogie Blitz” (more like Boggy Woogie) Autumngaine on the Putty Rd with a newbie named Nick Eberl, having had an unpleasant (non-Covid) cough for the previous few days. Despite having done another event when sick with a chest infection several years ago, and regretting it, I must have learned nothing and determinedly fronted up at the start line. I essentially oversaw all the navigation, which I was meant to be teaching Nick, and we seemed to go smoothly throughout the day, but as soon as night fell things unravelled badly, and we limped from one botched control to another, having made the poor choice to tackle the difficult ones in the dark. But critically, I’m convinced that my illness hindered not so much my physical sharpness as my mental focus and dampened my enjoyment of the event. Hopefully I’ll remember this for next time. Our overall result was nothing notable, but we were all very impressed with David and Ronnie’s valiant effort that saw them clear the course with half an hour to spare.

Vivien de Courcelles was course setter for the chilly but dry 6-hour Paddy Pallin event set near Bargo in the Southern Highlands. I entered with another relative newbie, Georgina Beech, an endurance runner and great company. She was new to navigation, meaning I did the bulk of it myself. It was a strange course area; being essentially set across several parallel ridges with steep and slow gullies separating them. I learned the hard way it was an unforgiving course to make a navigational stuff-up. Not only did we fail to find the control but we then had no idea where we were and wasted the best part of 90 minutes. Needless to say, our overall standing was very average!

The night rogaine, which I helped organise in July, had been postponed a year due to 2021’s lockdown after it was almost completely set, meaning that only a final check was needed this time around. The event day itself, in Bidjigal Reserve near Parramatta, had clear weather, but it would have been a very different story were it held a week earlier with several creeks uncrossable, as I found out when doing a final vet!

Whilst the Navshield event, run by Bush Search and Rescue, is aimed as a training exercise for emergency services, it is as good an event to do as a rogaine as any, and I coaxed Mike to join me. Being set in Tarlo River NP, near Goulburn, it differs from a conventional event as entrants only get a grid reference and must plot the controls on their map manually, and the grid is aligned at true rather than magnetic north (so you need to manually offset ~11° each time you shoot a bearing). And… there are three 20-point radio controls which, if punched both before and after midnight, award participants double points. With a third of the course removed owing to being on the other side of the Tarlo River, at risk of flooding, we could “easily” collect all the controls in the 27-hour timeframe, goading us to restructure our route to ensure we could collect the additional 60 points, ultimately slogging through increasingly cold and windy conditions to return to base at 7am. Whilst maverick teams such as David and Julie, and David and Ronnie came in hours before us without claiming the bonus points, we can lay claim to having the higher score.

Being sent to Canberra for work at the same time, I did the ACT 6-hour Mt Clear rogaine with another novice, Guymer, in early September. Aside from finishing up realising I’d lost my phone at the end, it was a great event in perfect rogaining country; less great for the organisers though, who had to stay and look for a missing team for several hours, only to bog a vehicle during the search!

In early October Mike and I helped represent NSW at the Australasian Champs in the Pyrenees Ranges, near Avoca in Victoria. Whilst the timing of the event was impeccable – just after one bout of heavy rain and just before more – our navigation was not. The first 12 hours were satisfying enough, but shortly after midnight, we managed to botch six controls in a row thanks to following the wrong gully, watercourse, ridge or tracks, only to bungle the final three controls as well, ending up 8th place – respectable on paper, but decidedly unsatisfying knowing our performance!

[Mike & Tristan at the Australasian Champs, 9-Oct-22 in Victoria]

The subsequent weekend was the rescheduled Lake Macquarie rogaine, created as a 6-hour urban event near Belmont. Teaming up with a 17-year-old, enthusiastic novice named Isaac Hill, we did decently for the first three hours, only for Isaac to burn himself out and we had to trudge home. As I prophesised in our team’s name, Isaac promised that “Hill be back”, fitter, stronger and more prepared!

My final event of the year was the 12-hour ACT spring rogaine, held on the northern side of Kosciuszko National Park in early November, accompanied by Phil Whitten. All went well for most of the event, until the final half hour, where we botched one of the last controls, and had to run the final 3km on the road, ditching a couple of very easy points, and coming back eight minutes late. Heartbreakingly, we otherwise would have won outright, but that’s the price you pay for a mistake.

And in 2023, I too will be back for more adventures with maps and the bush. My first event looks to be the ACT 3-hour on 18th Feb where I hope to experience the joy of “social rogaining” with a few friends - just for fun. I’m hoping to convince some Sydney friends to join me as we’re bound for Botany Bay and our local 3-hour Minigaine, though my body will not permit me to run all out in Sydney’s February humidity!

I plan to be the setter of this year’s night rogaine, to be most likely in the maze of tracks of the upper Lane Cove Valley, not used in a rogaine since the 2015 Metrogaine. And I’m looking forward to partaking in the Australian Champs, held on our home turf, with Keelan Birch in September. I hope to make a decent showing of other events this year – rogaining really is the best way to challenge yourself, meet new people and see new parts of the state and nation. And as much as I wonder why I bother when lost at 3am in the cold and wet, I rarely look back on any event with regret. Knowing firsthand the work the goes into an event, it makes me appreciate an event even more. Anyone else who has been a rogaining volunteer will know this as well.

I look forward to seeing the faces of rogaining regulars and newbies throughout this year. Remember, the events only happen because of the people that organise and enter them, so I encourage all readers to have a think about what events they can get to, as we hope that finally we can have a year that all events (rogaining and otherwise) can happen as planned!

Tristan White


The International Rogaining Federation (IRF) are considering changes to competition categories, with six Motions proposed. Here they are with my comments attached:

Motion 1. That all age categories are determined by year of birth, and not by date of birth. (Not contentious; conforming with other sports.)

Motion 2. That the Youth category by increased by one year, to “all team members must be 23 years or under”. (No strong reason for this change, except it relates to Motion 3.)

Motion 3. That the lower age for the Veteran Category be increased by 5 years, to become “all team members must be 45 years or older”. (This is a significant change. We regularly note that Veterans (40-55) often out-perform younger rogainers, and IRF cite a review of participants in the Berlin Marathon, observing that "APP (Age of Peak Performance) was shown in age group 30–34 years in women and in age group 35–39 years in men.” You can read the full article here.)

Motion 4. That these changes come into force for championship events on 1st January, 2024.

Motion 5. That a new Category be adopted for championship events as follows: “all team members must be 75 years or older”. (Over-75’s who have been consulted support this change, and it reflects an aging population, however it raises a question: do we have too many categories?)

Motion 6. That there shall be three gender classes of competition: Men (all team members must be men), Women (all team members must be women), and Mixed (all other teams). (This matches current Australian rules, so no change.)

I expect these proposals will be accepted by IRF, and will filter into our events in due course. If you have concerns, get in touch with me or your committee.

Trevor Gollan (president@nswrogaining.org)


One. 6-hour Metrogaine at Forestville, Sun. 2-April [Note change of date]

Steve Ryan is setting a course that covers the Forestville district, and is bound to find somewhere new for you to explore.

This event was originally advertised as end of February, but had to be rescheduled due to a clash with other activities around Manly Dam.

Two. Look at the ACT

There’s plenty of options if you head south towards Canberra.

  • 3-hr twilight, Southern Canberra, Sat. 18-Feb
  • 6-hr Paddy Pallin at Tallaganda Forest, Sun. 5-Mar
  • 24-hr ACT Champs in Kosciuszko National Park, 15-16 April

Did you notice that the ACT is expanding into NSW? Perhaps they know that NSW has the best rogaining terrain in the world… further evidenced by Queensland running their champs near Tenterfield last year.

Three. World Rogaining Champs, Lake Tahoe Ca, 29-30 Jul

The grande finale of the California Orienteering Festival will be the world rogaining champs, with alpine forest and meadows, and Lake Tahoe as a backdrop.

We still need someone to take on the Paddy Pallin 6-hour in June. How about you? If you can help then contact Graham Field (volunteer@nswrogaining.org) or Trevor Gollan (events@nswrogaining.org).

Find us on Facebook and Strava here.

Trevor Gollan
on behalf of the NSW Rogaining Committee