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Rogaining Tasmania - May 2023 Newsletter

Rogaining Tasmania - May 2023 Newsletter


Rogaining Tasmania

SoHo Shuffle: Setters/Vetters report

By Bridget White.


After a fantastic weekend competing in the 2022 Australasian Rogaining Championships in the Pyrenees, Victoria (not the Pyrenees in Europe!) Jaymee Knoll and I enthusiastically signed up to help with the upcoming metrogaine in Tasmania: The SoHo shuffle. We signed up to vet for Jack Marquis, who had begun setting a course in December. By the end of January we hadn’t met Jack, but we had a long list of checkpoints he had set to visit!


Our first few trips out were accompanied by Roxy, a boisterous young puppy. We walked the streets of Lenah Valley, West and South Hobart, and Knocklofty with her on hot summer days, enjoying the urban gems that Jack had discovered for us. Some favourites include: a mosaic whale, the black and yellow cockatoo mural, and the motto of the Sandy Bay bowls club. Jaymee and I spent evenings both together and separate, working on small sections of the map, getting a bit of exercise after work. We spent a cooler day exploring the Waterworks reserve and Ridgeway, watching an echidna seemingly melt into a tiny hole, and experiencing trails neither of us had been along before. Jaymee discovered a very friendly donkey on her travels around the Cascade brewery area. Both of us found the experience very different to participating in an event- we got to take our time, enjoy the views and consider the viewpoints of the competitors, and visit everywhere on the map: something that we usually can’t achieve in a rogaine!


SoHo organisers – Jaymee, Bridget, Jack and Gary
SoHo organisers – Jaymee, Bridget, Jack and Gary 

Our emails overflowed back and forth with Jack and Gary- “please edit this track! Can we change this checkpoint?”- as the course expanded and changed over time. The build-up to the big day was exciting- testing and breaking Gary’s scoring software to ensure it would work on the day, finally meeting Jack at the South Hobart community centre, seeing entries roll in… I was simultaneously nervous and excited.


The big day went shockingly smoothly, with very little drama. Happy rogainers turned up bright and early on a gorgeous March day, and finished, tired but stoked. We were stoked too- no major dramas, marking was completed quickly, and there was only a tiny amount of checkpoint chaos! I had a blast spending the day with Jack, Jaymee and Gary, from setting up the hall, through to packing up and chatting with happy punters. It was great fun working behind the scenes in a rogaine: between Gary’s expertise, Jack’s stunning course, and Jaymee’s exceptional organisation skills, it was a smooth and fantastic experience. Thank you to volunteers who helped us on the day, the caterers for providing a *delicious* afternoon tea, and the Rogaining Tasmania committee for all their support: especially Gary, whose expertise, mapping skills and software made our lives a heck of a lot easier! Please contact the RT committee if you are interested in helping organise a future event. You won’t regret it.


Congratulations to the category winners! The 3-hr event was won by Frank Casimaty, Colin Berry and Steve Eastwood who scraped in just ahead of 1st mixed James Scott and Ainsley Scott. The 6-hr event was won by Jonathan McComb and Ian Parker. They visited 48 checkpoints, which was half the checkpoints on the huge course and stayed mostly in the south of the map. They travelled 42 kms with 1.7km of climb.


The results can be viewed here, with some photos here.


A massive thank you to all volunteers, particularly the marshals and scorers/computer helpers. They had the results ready 19 minutes after the 6-hr finish time: Darryl Smith, Nicolë Carpenter, Karen Wild-Allen, Simon Allen, Kristin Raw, Liz Canning. Hugh Fitzgerald, Laura Leworthy, Sandy Collin and Karl Malakoff.

Interview with Peter Tuft, Rogaining Tasmania Senior Vice President

Image of Peter Tuft, Rogaining Tasmania Senior Vice President
Peter Tuft

How did you first get involved in rogaining?


In my first year of uni (1972) some other members of the uni bushwalking club took part in the “Intervarsity Orienteering” and came back with bizarre tales of walking for 24 hours through mountainous bushland in the NSW New England region. The following year I was part of our uni team for an event near Yea in Victoria. Despite the name there was very little difference from what we now know as rogaining. However one difference was that a team member could withdraw and the rest of the team could continue without penalty. I took advantage of that when our team set off again before dawn after a break at the Hash House (HH) - I’d well and truly had enough for one outing. Didn’t stop me from participating again in future though. A mere two years later we were setting the Intervarsity course near Hartley in NSW.


How has the sport of rogaining evolved since you first started participating, and what changes have you seen in the community of rogainers over the years?


The basic format of rogaining has changed negligibly since long before the name was even invented. But there have been a number of other changes such as the introduction of shorter events, the level of organisation and the quality of courses (in most cases). The big change in the rogaining community is the age profile. In the 1970 all rogainers were uni students. Now there are people from small children to octogenarians. And people who cannot be called young often do better than the twenty-somethings who in other sports would have a major advantage.


Another comment on the rogaining community, which is probably not a change but interesting anyway: At the 2016 World Championships near Alice Springs we ran a survey of competitors which asked a wide range of questions. One striking outcome was that rogainers predominantly come from a STEM background, quite often at a moderately high academic level. There are exceptions of course, but that perhaps reflects the somewhat analytical approach necessary for both overall strategy and tactical navigation.


Could you share a particularly memorable or challenging rogaining experience that you've had, and what you learned from it?


I think my most memorable experience was quite recent (but that’s not the reason it’s memorable). I get more enjoyment out of helping to set a course than actually competing (less pressure, less bodily abuse, much more interesting navigation because there isn’t a marker to confirm you are in the right spot). One day while placing markers for the postponed Midlands Muster event I had not got my compass out when I set off from the car. The first checkpoint looked findable without it so I pressed on and had no trouble. Since that was okay I thought I’d see how many more markers I could place without my compass, and in the end it stayed in my pack all day, and again the next time I went out for a day of setting (and again later when we had to bring all the markers in again, sadly). The ability to navigate with that level of precision without using a compass is only possible because of the accuracy of the maps that are now generated from LiDAR including highly precise vegetation mapping. It gives me a real buzz.


How do you typically prepare for a rogaining event, both physically and mentally? Do you have any tips for newcomers who are looking to get started?


To be honest I don’t do any particular preparation other than very regular bushwalking that keeps me in shape. I’m not a seriously athletic person seeking top performance. I just want to be able to get around the course OK. Back when I was a uni student we used to do extra long bushwalks as training for the Intervarsity events, say 35 km and 2500 m ascent in a day.


What do you think sets Rogaining Tasmania apart from other rogaining communities, and what opportunities are available for people to get involved in the local scene?


Tasmania has a small population and RT is a small organisation! I think we punch above our weight given our size, but small size is a definite constraint on what we can do. Opportunities to get involved - lots! We really need more people prepared to have a go at setting a course. Anyone who would like to help in any way will be welcomed with open arms and the old hands in RT will give you all the guidance and support we can.


What's your favourite map of all time?


Favourite map was Ross River (East MacDonnell Ranges) for the World Champs in 2016. I was involved in helping set the course, not competing, but it was my first experience on a custom LIDAR-based map with highly precise contours that showed the intricate terrain in wonderful detail. And of course the terrain and vegetation was so completely different to anything I’d experienced in NSW or Tasmania.


What's your favourite Tasmanian map?


Hmm ... perhaps the Bruny Island map for the event in February 2021. Again, I was setting rather than competing, but Bruny offers a delightful mix of relatively easy terrain, mostly open vegetation and glorious coastal scenery that I thought made it particularly enjoyable rogaining country.

‍Upcoming events


Midlands Muster, Tasmanian Rogaining Championships 

28 – 29 O​ctober 2023

Rogaining Tasmania’s 2022 bush event rescheduled for 2023. There will be three event durations to choose from: the 24-hour State Championships, a roving 15-hour, and a 6-hour. The location has a diverse range of features - from open rolling paddocks and native grassy meadows, through to open forested hills and into wet gullies via occasional historic bush huts and lots of wildlife. You will have 22,000 ha to explore over either 24-hours, 15-hours (over a 23-hour period), or 6-hours. The area extends from outside Ross almost to Lake Leake and encompasses some of the best fine wool growing land in the world.


2023 Australian Rogaining Championships

30 September – 1 October 2023

The 2023 Australian Rogaining Championships will be a 24-hour rogaine held within the Goobang National Park, which is about 300km north west of Sydney. An 8-hour non-championship event will be held concurrently.

2023 Australasian Rogaining Championships

16 – 17 December 2023

The Australasian Rogaining 24-hr Championships will be held in the Lake Tekapo region, New Zealand. Alongside the 24-hr event, there is also 15-hour, 6-hour and 3-hour non-championship event options. It’s a stunning area well worth visiting.