NSW Rogaining Association

"Your Guide to Rogaining in NSW"

Mike and Jonathan

Visit the WRC9 web site

Report from Joel Mackay

Report from Alexa McAuley

Brief report from Joel Mackay

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Well, the 9th World Rogaining Championships have been run and won now. 250 teams from 20 different countries, including Queensland, descended on the small South Island town of Cheviot for an event that was as hilly and as forest-free as any I had ever competed in. Competitors enjoyed panoramic views of the South Island coast, frolicking seals a stone's throw from one of the checkpoints and a world-class collection of electric fences as they hammered their way around the course in weather that was damp and a bit chilly, but much better than it could have been! Check out photos of the course here, and event photos, results and winners' courses here. Despite sending over as many teams as we could, Australians didn't feature in the top 4 teams overall, but here at NSWRA we *are* the proud owners of the newWomen's World Champions - Gill Fowler and Alexa McAuley.

The Kiwis put up a few good teams, including one who may well not have been from NZ, but rather from another planet - Chris Forne and Marcel Hagener absolutely smashed the field, scoring 4365 points, with the second placed S. African team 850 behind on 3515. If you look 850 points down from second place, you find another 32 teams!

Phil Whitten and I managed to sneak in at 5th place, narrowly pipping Damon Goerke and Rob Preston in the battle of the Australian teams...

If you competed in the 9th WRC and would like to send in a small report (or a big report) on your experience - or some photos if you snapped some, scribble something down and fire it off to myself or Graeme Cooper.

See you out on a course in 2011!

Joel Mackay

Report from the new Women's World Champions!

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There was a good contingent of NSW rogainers at the world champs in NZ and in some ways this made it feel like any other rogaine. On the way to the event, we bumped into people we knew at the airport, the car hire place and even the supermarket! But it was also unlike any other rogaine I've done.

First of all, the hash house was at a school in a small town and we camped on the oval. This was pretty civilised - on the Friday evening we enjoyed dinner at a nice cafe complete with local wine, and in the morning we factored some time into our usual routine to walk back to the cafe for a coffee. Warwick and Neil even took their maps to the cafe to plan over breakfast!

Second, the course was mainly on farmland, taking in 80 private properties and about 8,000 fences. We were apprehensive about electric fences, having limited experience with crossing them, and we were also apprehensive about the hills, which looked quite steep and plentiful. So we planned a route which avoided the steepest area (here we also missed the most spectacular views, but we had other priorities at this event...) and appeared to include a minimum number of fence crossings (i.e. just about 1,000 or so!) We planned a loop out to the east, then south, west and finally north, if we had time. Although the hash house was central, we didn't plan to come back until the finish.

Third of course there were Kiwis everywhere. They are pretty much like us, of course, but they do have some strange rogaining habits. As you might expect, they are pretty good at running up and down steep hills (many of them used walking poles as an aid) and crossing fences (some carry a special piece of plastic or foam for this), but we also saw a couple of teams who'd tied themselves together (so the stronger could pull the weaker along) and on the Sunday morning we saw a team running along in their undies (OK one of them had very short shorts on, but the other was definitely in his undies! They turned out to be the winners in the junior mens category).

Pretty soon after we started we realised that the hills were larger and steeper than we imagined, and despite being open, the ground was quite tussocky, which slowed our pace. Within about an hour it was clear that we wouldn't be seeing much of the north! During the first few hours we also had our first encounter with the local livestock (a young bull got excited and leapt over a fence to follow us!) and with the local vegetation (slow going), after which we realised it was best to ignore the finer points of the vegetation mapping and stay away from anything marked green. We had our first encounter with an electric fence - some were more difficult to cross than others, depending on the configuration of electric, barbed wire and mesh, and during the event we each got one or two shocks and one or two rips in our clothes from the barbed wire.

By late afternoon we were getting into the swing of it (by now we were expertly crossing all types of fences) and the navigation was proving pretty easy. Around this time we bumped into another womens team, who turned out to be our main rivals in the womens open. We saw them quite a lot as we kept overtaking each other between several checkpoints, and they were moving at a similar pace to us. We wondered how we would compare overall... Around dark though we went in different directions. After dark it got pretty cold and wet and things were pretty quiet for a while. We only saw torches in the distance and didn't actually meet another team until daylight. We battled freezing rain, biting wind and sodden ground overnight (not to mention fences in excruciatingly difficult configurations), and had we been closer to the hash house we would almost certainly have dropped in. At one stage we were wearing every piece of clothing we had, including a pair of bottom thermals thrown in for good measure, which Gill wore on her arms and torso instead. We hoped it wasn't going to get any colder because our fingers were barely working and our feet were barely getting a chance to warm up between long stints through freezing wet grass. We travelled pretty slowly for a while, but by staying out there through it all we gained our key advantage over the other teams, whom we imagined sitting happily back at the hash house sipping warm tea and drying their toes!

The morning dawned fine and we re-jigged our plan to short-cut through the north-west and get back to the hash house on time. We had wanted to get back to running in the daylight, but my legs wouldn't have anything to do with it so mostly it was a fast walk. We finished with the flattest area of the course, which was good because I'm not sure how many more hills I was prepared to tackle! After 24 hours of wet feet I have never been so glad to take my shoes off at the end of a rogaine.

Back at the hash house we caught up with all the other NSW rogainers, keen to hear how they had gone as we'd seen very few of them out on the course. It sounded like everyone had had a good time and done pretty well - our score compared as it usually would with other teams we knew. We didn't feel like we'd done spectacularly well, although we definitely felt like we'd worked hard and given it a good shot. During the presentations we were amazed when they read out the womens' scores - we felt sure there would have been some mysterious speedy Kiwis (or Russians or Czechs or something!) out there whipping around the course at twice our pace. But no! We found ourselves in front by a substantial margin. In 2nd place was the womens team from Saturday afternoon, who had indeed been dyring their toes at the hash house while we battled the wind and rain! It was a rewarding finish to the weekend.

Alexa McAuley

Photos from WRC9 ...

Warwick and Neil

Seasoned campaigners Warwick Selby and Neil Hawthorne at the 9th WRC.

MIke and Jonathan

Jonathan Worswick and Mike Hotchkis on the lookout for that next checkpoint at the 9th WRC.