Congratulations to Jonathan McComb and Ian Parker for their overall victory in the 6-hr category, and to Anthony Stoner and Niko Stoner in the 3-hr. Full results and winning routes can be found at www.rt.asn.au/event-results.
We are constantly updating our local maps, so if you spotted any errors or have suggestions, email Gary. Keep reading for reports by the course setters and winners.
Course setters report by Jacqui Guy
When Mandy McIntyre conned Carolyn Davis and me into joining her, I had no idea that setting a Metrogaine would be even more fun than competing!! I anticipated a lot of exploring and planning at a more leisurely pace with my rogaine besties, but didn’t realise I would learn so much. As novice setters we proved that with the support of the committee anyone can have a turn at setting an event.
The planning for MMM ended up being longer than anticipated due to a Covid-inspired change of dates, but we used the 7 months to explore Hobart and surrounds for suitable routes and fun checkpoints. We found ourselves on a steep learning curve in the use of mapping apps, spreadsheets, route planning and point allocation strategies, but it was an amazing learning experience that we can put to use in future events. As a runner, walker, hasher and general noticer-of-things I thought I knew a lot about the Hobart area and surrounding bush, but we found new tracks, memorials, novelties and artwork I’d not noticed before, not to mention the knowledge acquired from actually reading a lot of the signs and plaques! With three of us meeting once a week and also exploring on our own we compiled so many good checkpoints that we actually had to eliminate some of our favourite “babies” to cut down to just 100 checkpoints.
We are in awe of the skill and knowledge of mapper Gary Carroll who was constantly available to answer our questions and keep us on track while simultaneously producing our complex map. Ash Carr and Neil Hawthorne were extremely helpful vetters who helped us refine our selection of checkpoints. I now understand the huge importance of the vetter role. Hugh Giblin also helped us kickstart our search for checkpoints. It was so unfortunate that he and Mandy had to miss the actual day of the event after all their work.
Despite our nerves at being new to this, on the day we only had a couple of glitches. We scrambled to quickly correct a checkpoint question after feedback from an entrant, and a couple of signs used as checkpoints had been removed after vetting. Points were still allocated accordingly and no injuries or withdrawals were reported.
Despite a clash with a couple of other events, we had 230 entrants - with 46 3-hour teams and 48 6-hour teams. There was strong representation in all the vets categories, as well as 30 family teams and 5 novice teams (hopefully we’ve won them over!) We were lucky with the weather with no rain and not too cold as long as you were moving! The food was yummy and the hot drinks very welcome – thank you to Darryn and his team!
We had some wonderful volunteers on the day helping with timing, admin, scoring, marshalling and photography. Thank you to Bernard Walker, Sara Brain, Darryl Smith, Liz Canning, Hugh Fitzgerald, Logan Howell, Georgie Carr, Esta Birdahic, Val Brammall, Leanne Barnbaum, David Rees and Jonathon Rees. I found it really rewarding to involve some of my non-rogaining friends as volunteers, always hoping that they might get hooked and enter an event in the future. We owe gratitude to other members of RT committee for their support and assistance. Also thank you to the participants who patiently stuck around in the cold for the prize-giving ceremony and to the volunteer markers who did a wonderful job under pressure.
I encourage you to have a look at Jonathan and Ian’s impressive route, which covered 61 checkpoints totalling 3810 points over 46 km. The 3-hour event was won by Anthony and Niko who visited 38 checkpoints over 27km.
It was rewarding to have such a volume of positive feedback about the course and fun checkpoints after the event – it made the many hours of work absolutely worth it. While it was our first course setting experience, it certainly won’t be the last and we would most definitely encourage others to have a turn.
6-hour winners report by Jonathan McComb and Ian Parker
Racing towards Salamanca, our hearts sank as the bridge to Constitution Dock rose before our eyes, ushering in a crew of raucous boaties, oblivious to our desperate dash to reach the Hash House in time.
We could see our points score sinking like an anchor. How had it come to this?
Seven hours earlier, huddled in a car outside the Hash House, wantonly stringing together loop after bounteous loop of high-value checkpoints, we were like kids in a candy shop. We’ll take that loop and that. Then came the string of truth. Marked out in 20 one-kilometre segments, it was not enough by half. It snaked through streets, along the coast, up hills and down into ravines. Then back up and down again. The checkpoint sites were starting to look less like smarties and a bit more like day old popcorn on a string. The total came to well over 40 kilometres. That seemed quite a long distance to cover. We considered what to drop and hoped for a miracle so that we didn’t have to drop any.
The loops with the best value looked to be south around Mt Nelson, west near Cascade Brewery, north-west around Knocklofty and north-east around the Domain. We connected these with the least amount of climb we could. This was still a lot of climb. The loop near the brewery looked scarily steep so we left it out of our plans. On reflection it was likely slightly better value than the loop we did over Knocklofty. We chose to go south first as that left us able to drop the Domain loop towards the end if need be. And that seemed likely. Our route looked heaps of fun with points galore. So, we set off in good humour, such good humour that we blew right past the first checkpoint without stopping – those Canadian Exiles of 1840 were exiled from our minds. This did make the second control tricky as we were trying to find a memorial plaque that was 400 metres away. The early going was flat and fast, past café diners and beachside bathers. Climbing Truganini track to Mt Nelson was slow and steady. Immediately descending towards Dorney House seemed profligate but set us up for a gentle cruise slightly downhill along the Skyline track. Heading back uphill we chose to chop off the dogleg by climbing straight through the bush. We might not do that again.
As we passed the burnt-out cars and headed to Tolmans Hill we looked at the route from 101 to 70 – it looked like a bloody long way in and out. The option of skipping under the houses to 83 looked very appealing. And dicey. It was steep and promised a world of gorse-ridden hurt if it went wrong. We tarried and dithered leaving 101 until we saw a track through the gorse and then as we sniffed our way forward, spied a neat looking terrace outside the property boundary line. This looked promising! For the next five minutes or so we scooted along below the houses, following pademelon tracks, heart in mouth hoping that the ride would continue and sure enough it did, all the way back to the road. Like a pair of kids who’d stumbled on a go-kart in the bush we gleefully ran down to 83, then turned and slogged back up and over the hill and down the back way to Ham Common. Here we lost time at checkpoint 104. As we came around the corner, we saw another team inspecting something by the roadside. The clue was something like ‘what colour are the taps in the metal box by the bend’. Relieved at having someone else find the checkpoint we rolled up to check out the colour, only to discover zero taps. We rubbed our eyes and looked again, then wandered around until we found a metal box further afield, also with zero taps. Things this strange only happen when you’ve done something wrong. Luckily, we had a couple of maps on hand. We turned our eyes to them and discovered we were at the wrong bend. Roughly thirty metres away was our metal box and our blue taps.
I was feeling the pinch after nearly three hours running, but losing a couple of minutes spurred us to run faster. It was dawning on us that our planning eyes had outpaced our running legs. We took on water at Waterworks and continued towards the treehouse above the brewery. We headed across the open fields towards 88, keenly trying to see if there was a gap to get through. So keenly that we missed spotting 63 to the north and the better route collecting it on the way. Soon our long, slow climb to the top of Knocklofty began. This was a killer towards the top. Just pure painful slog. It was so tough that going down the other side still hurt. A short stretch downhill through the bush towards 43 brought a second wind. Maybe the vegemite sandwich was kicking in at last. Nonetheless, it was clear that we had to give up 75 and 18 and even then, we might not make it. Pretty much every step hurt from here on. Our goal was just to collect 65, 64, 79 and hope we could push over Battery Point before time ran out. But running slightly downhill is awesome! We flew down Elizabeth St and in a fit of optimism added a detour to the Theatre Royal and Toby’s statue outside MACq 01. Which brings us to Constitution Dock. And that bridge. And those raucous sailors.
When you’re in a headlong dash to make the finish in time, at the end of 6 hours of racing, small inconveniences can seem like a big deal. Things crop up frequently and seeking alternatives is a constant process. Ian nudged us around the docks, and we mentally dropped a 20-point checkpoint. And then we upped the pace because neither of us wanted to drop that checkpoint.
After picking our way through the thinning crowds in Salamanca we wound our way up Kelly’s Steps, checked the watch and saw that an on-time finish was still in reach. We surged past the point where apparently ‘nothing happened in 1825’ and on to Beaufort Cottage. I may have the details wrong. It was all a blur of navigating and calculating distance and time and pace. And then there we were with three minutes to reach the hash house, and in the blur, we momentarily thought that first checkpoint we missed was within reach. So, we dashed down Sandy Bay Rd, thrilled at our pace and mentally patting ourselves on the back for being able to fix our first folly. We were free and speedy rogainers, able to conquer any problem, and roam the streets finding obscure answers in not entirely determinate locations. And then about 50 metres later realised we were kidding ourselves, hooked left and headed for home, upping the pace even more to make it back with half a minute to spare.
This was a fun rogaine, covering many lovely trails around the foothills of Hobart. Having so many points on offer and interesting sites to visit made the hills seem worthwhile and the people we met on course were having a great time. Thank you to the organisers and everyone from Rogaining Tasmania who helped make the event possible.
3 hour winners report by Niko and Anthony Stoner
On picking up the map we immediately discounted everything south of the casino and Nelson Road, and decided to stick with the northern section of the course area. Our first plan was to head towards Sandy Bay, up onto Mt Nelson, north to Tolmans Hill, west towards the upper reservoir, then north into Waterworks, saving the easier running of West Hobart and North Hobart and back through Battery Point for the last part of our route. It looked like we could pick up a lot of high-point checkpoints early by doing that and then do some easier running later for more checkpoints at lower point scores.
It always seems worth planning a couple of completely different routes though, so we considered an alternative northern-first route, going as far as the domain, through the city to West Hobart, and back via South Hobart, Waterworks, Dynnyrne and Sandy Bay. Having considered the two possibilities, we decided it was better to take the easy northern section first and gather up as many points as we could quickly, then tackle the harder stuff later. Once we had made that decision we started planning our route in detail, trying to optimise the number of points we would score for time spent, knowing we could travel pretty quickly on flat ground.
We had a pretty good idea of how far we could go in the three hours, but also acknowledged that we may not go quite as far as we planned. We were confident that we’d get to Waterworks comfortably and planned to make a decision then about how to return to Marieville Esplanade. Our ambitious option took in Tolmans Hill and Mt Nelson, returning to Marieville Esplanade through the uni. The more conservative route was out of Waterworks into Dynnyrne, picking up a few controls in Sandy Bay on the way to the finish.
Amazingly, all the way from the start to the finish we stuck almost exactly to our plan. Between checkpoints 93 and 99 – up out of South Hobart towards Huon Rd and the Waterworks – we made the decision not to take our ambitious Tolmans Hill option but to head into Sandy Bay instead. We executed the loop we had planned in Sandy Bay and as we headed through the Uni we realised we had plenty of time to run down to the Casino and back for checkpoint 71. We quickly headed down there, picked up 71, then up to 16 then finish.
It’s a while since we’ve done a rogaine together and we had a great time – thanks to all the course setters and organisers for another excellent event.
Bonus report from the 6 hour winners in the family and mixed categories by Sophie and Klaas Hartmann
We had an early start with dad nagging me to get out of bed at 6am. He was keen to make the most of our planning time and we were the first team to pick up our map. We used a pretty common planning strategy consisting of pins, a pinboard and some string but this time we had a bit more than that because dad had spent the days leading up to it gathering statistics and other stuff I don’t understand and making tables and graphs to work out elevation impacts and whether it’s worth it for an in and out control. This made planning too complicated and we ran out of time to do it all!
Soon it was 8:50 and we gathered as the organisers made last minute announcements and acknowledgements. With one minute to go as we shivered in the cold they announced a last minute change, between 82 and 104 was a no go zone. This destroyed our plan! But we had no time to worry because the clock ticked round to 9:00 and it was time to go.
We set out along the Sandy Bay foreshore heading South-Easterly and collected a few 70s before heading up a steep-ish climb to number 28 and then to number 86 where we encountered problems. The sign we were supposedly looking for had been taken away, presumably by the council. We spent a good 20 minutes searching before we moved onto the next part of the map. We trudged up the steep Truganini track. I was super glad that it was one of our biggest uphills of the day over and done with. By the time we’d made our way across the back of Mt Nelson, across the Southern Outlet, and worked out a new way from 82 to 104 I was feeling extremely unmotivated, tired, and struggling along. Not in a good frame of mind!
I kept going though. From 91 we cut down through some weird, abandoned fields to 104 then made our way to Waterworks, to the giant Dam Wall (one of my favourites) then to the two main dams at waterworks that were like rogaining central. When we got to number 99 (above South Hobart) I was feeling a LOT better, I was back on familiar territory, my home grounds, plus there was less than one and a half hours left! At this point our plan became pretty abstract. We made our way along the back of the Cascade area and then back through the suburbs grabbing last minute controls on the way to the Hash House. At 23 we realised we only had 4 minutes left so we sprinted back and made it with 4 SECONDS to spare! Cutting it even closer than in our last metrogaine! I was glad that I had done it even though my legs were very sore!
Overall it was an awesome day out, great weather, beautiful environment and an amazing effort from the organisers!
Klaas’ Nerdy Thoughts:
Sophie and I did a lot of training in the lead up to the rogaine including exploring the areas we thought the map would cover. I also put a bit of thought into how we would go about planning a route. As a mathematician the data analysis side of rogaining appeals to me. Based on our runs over the last year I created a simple model of the elevation and distance I thought Sophie and I could cover in six hours. Given the likely terrain (steeper than Lindisfun, flatter than the Lenah Valley Hop) I thought that 36km with 1500m elevation would be about right for our planning on the day. I also put together a couple of easy formulas so we could work out splits along the route. As it turns out there wasn’t enough planning time to calculate those. I think we could have happily spent a whole day planning a route. The last minute change to make the 82-104 shortcut out of bounds threw our plans into disarray. But it was a blessing in disguise; our altered route was probably better from a points perspective.
It was a fantastic day out, a wonderful course in great company. I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to share this experience with Sophie. A massive thank you to all the organisers that made this event possible.