G'day Rogainers,

NSW Rogaining eNewsletter, 10th Apr 2023

Ed: Tristan White
on behalf of the NSW Rogaining Committee

Click here to view this email in your browser.

Ted Woodley and Julian Ledger – Men’s UV winners in the recent Bantry-Bay-gaine

Message to the Rogaining Community

Happy Easter! Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable holiday period in mild Autumn weather, with whatever adventures you see fit. Whilst this is the time of having fund finding little chocolate eggs, I think we can all agree that finding an orange and white flag in the bush is a lot more satisfying. Thankfully there are a couple of opportunities for you to do that very soon (read on…)

Bantry Bay-gaine Review

View the results, map and photos, and Webmaster Chris’s recount here.

Almost three hundred entrants lined up at the start chute of the Metrogaine last Sunday in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Whilst the weather may have been damp, the mood certainly wasn’t, with many smiles after a day of exploring a huge network of trails around Forestville, plus some very impressive waterfalls!

Thank you to Steve Ryan and his team of volunteers for their efforts on and leading up to the day.

Our new President Graham Field

I asked overall winner Keelan Birch, who not only made his way down from Coffs Harbour to compete, but spent several hours helping out beforehand, some questions about his experience on the day with teammate Jeremy Fowler;

Tristan White: What persuaded you to come all the way down from Coffs and enter?

Keelan Birch: A few things convinced me travel 6 hours down to the 2023 Metrogaine:

  • I have accepted that travelling to Rogaining events comes with living outside the NSW (Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong) bubble.
  • Steve Ryan as course setter. Steve was the person who introduced me to the world of Sydney Summer Series and then Rogaining. My first Rogaine, and marathon distance, was the 2015 Metrogaine with Steve and my teammate for this weekend Jeremy Fowler.
  • The previous weekend I organised a trail running event called the Washpool World Heritage Trails, and while Race Directing is a huge buzz, FOMO was real. It was great to do an event I wasn't organising.
  • Coffs Harbour has some amazing places to explore but few trails are on purpose built walking tracks. Running along the technical singletracks of Manly Dam, Middle Harbour and Bantry Bay, instead of steep 4WD tracks, really appealed to me.

TW: Briefly describe your route choice and any modifications on the course.

KB: I firstly want to acknowledge that Steve set an absolutely cracking course! It took me a long time to work out if there is an optimal route and judging by the routes everyone else took, there wasn't one. Unfortunately, a last-minute track closure on the Casuarina Track from National Parks meant some of the decision making near control 66, 93 and 59 was made for us. But generally there was no obvious way to go about it.

Total route 49.5km in the following order: 71-67-65-83-77-84-56-85-63-46-37-47-44-38-78-43-62-101-75-92-90-52-81-53-34-100-91-74-73-42-76-61-36-54-94-64-50-80-41-103-70-30-40-32.

Heading clockwise to 71 first, we decided to leave the Middle Harbour section (50-80-41-103-70) to the end as this offered the most flexibility in route choice. I think this is what we did really well - we find a section where we would be most committed to cover in the beginning and leave all the marginal controls to the end. I have found that not being overly ambitious and giving yourself lots of options works in our favour.

So we headed clockwise HH-71-67-65-83-77. We did not feel 60-35-102-45 for 230 points was worth it given the contours and awkward pipeline crossings. At control 56 we planned on going up to 79 but the creek was flowing so strongly it was dangerous to cross! So, we continued on to 85-63-46-37-44. We had made good time (1hr 40mins in) by the time we crossed Wakehurst Parkway and then got 38 and 78. Between 78 and 43 there was an unmapped taped track that started taking us towards the out of bounds area, so we lost 5 minutes here.

We decided 43-62-101-75 was worth it but dropped 82. In the end we finished with 10 minutes to spare so might have just got 82. From 43 we started on the lovely Manly Dam circuit 92-90-52-81-100. We then did 91 as an out and back which took 20 minutes in total. Possibly not worth it? Heading back east from 91-74-73-34-76 we made a decision to skip Bantry Bay (72-55) and stick to the faster firetrail along 61-36-54 while we were still moving well.

As you would expect off 10km training runs, Jeremys knees started to go after 4 hours but luckily, the end section was technical enough that we didn't lose much time speed hiking. Passing the Austrian Club we then collected 54-94-64-50-80-41-103-70-30-40 and then 32 as an out and back to finish.

Keelan (L) and Jeremy collecting their winners’ trophies.

TW: What did you appreciate about the course area?

KB: I really appreciated the extent of bush trails that were used for a Metrogaine. Sydney is really unique in that regard and possibly the only reason i miss living here. Steve designed the course so that the larger points were on the trails and i really appreciated that.

TW: How were you impacted by the weather and do you think it slowed you down much, or gave you more energy?

KB: I think the cooler weather definitely helped us. The weather in the week prior had been very humid in Coffs Harbour so the cooler change meant running was much more pleasant than usual. While we might have been slowed down by the odd puddle and slippery rock, I don't think it made a significant difference to our pace. The only issue was not being able to cross the creek between 56 and 79. The creek crossing at 80 was fun! The weather made the event memorable.

TW: How many leeches did you get?

KB: I already had so many leech bites on my ankles from running in the bush, that I didn't bother checking while on course. A couple more can't hurt right? I had at least six on me when I took off my shoes. Most disgusting was the male showers at Killarney Heights High School, where there were at least 10 of them in the shower drain!

“Go for Gold” ACT champs 24hr & 8hr
15-16 April 2023
Details and registration here.

For those who don’t feel like NSW’s repertoire of events is enough, we are fortunate to be within a few hours’ drive of most of the ACTRA’s events, including the first day and night event of the year, near Kiandra in the northern part of Kosciuzsko NP. The area is stunning (albeit chilly – take plenty of warm gear!), so we recommend you make the trip down and support the iconic 24hr event, whether you plan to go out or night, or just make a causal weekend of it.

Entries close tonight so get your rego in NOW!

“Every Stroud has a Silver Lining” 12/6 hour Rogaine
6 May 2023
Details and registration here.

NSWRA’s first day and night event of the year will be near Stroud, just under 3hrs from most parts of Sydney and a bit over an hour north of Newcastle. We call on rogainers to consider taking the plunge to throw in a head-torch and do the 12hr event if they can, but there is a 6hr event offered for those who can get back home on the same day.

Course setter Mat Collin has kindly answered a bunch of questions to help sell the event to readers:

  1. Why did you choose the Stroud location and what makes it special? The goal was to go as far north of Sydney as possible, without making it so far people can't make it up for the weekend. The particular location was chosen in part because of a great hash house location and also because there has never been a Rogaine there before. The terrain is subtly different from the areas where most Rogaines are held - for example, there are no cliff lines to traverse!
  2. How are you making the event an enjoyable one both for seasoned competitors and novices alike? I've tried to put the checkpoints near some pleasant creeks and ruins leftover from before the area was declared a State Forest. I've also tried to set a course that will force the more experienced Rogainers to keep thinking and adjusting their strategy throughout the event.
  3. What are some notable features that will be incorporated on the course? I have found three bridges that have collapsed into creeks and zero bridges that are still standing. The area is also quite isolated. I didn't see any other people in the State Forest while setting.
  4. What have you enjoyed about setting this course and how has it enhanced your Rogaining ability? I've enjoyed wandering into areas that I know so few people have visited. I've also been looking for interesting features to place checkpoints at. At the recent Metrogaine I was trying to find controls by looking at the terrain around me and wondering where I would have put a checkpoint if I was the setter.
  5. Why should people step up to the challenge of grabbing a headtorch and doing the 12hr event? Because the sense of satisfaction that you get when a flag appears out of the darkness is so much greater than you get during daylight. It's a greater challenge and it comes with greater rewards.
  6. Any featured photos at the event area? See below. This is my favourite checkpoint at a far flung corner of the map. There is a long thin gap in the vegetation canopy that lets the sunlight in above the creek.


Got any short, interesting stories or gossip from out on the course? – the truth is not a pre-requisite. Drop an email to controlz@nswrogaining.org and suitable contributions will be published in the next edition – anonymity and privacy will be preserved.

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Tristan White
on behalf of the NSW Rogaining Committee