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What is Rogaining? - More detail
Several hundred people milling around me. Suddenly a voice booms out: "You have 24 hours from … NOW. Good luck". And we were off. At least everyone else was off, scattering in all directions. Within two minutes we were alone - myself, Manuel and Sue - and our maps. Our first rogaine. My previous experience walking on tracks somehow seemed inadequate. "Need some help?" It was the event co-ordinator. She spent fifteen minutes helping us choose a route that would get us back in time for a hot dinner and we set off. I have never looked back!'
The author of that paragraph has now completed thirty rogaines and been part of the extraordinary growth of the sport. Within twenty years of the first rogaine at Melbourne, Australia, events were being held around the world and regularly attracting several hundred competitors. This popularity stems from the emphasis on participation rather than just competition, the sense of challenge and the opportunity to experience the outdoor life. Teams travel at their own pace and everyone from children to grandparents can experience the satisfaction of navigating by map and compass between checkpoints knowing that someone else has vetted the course, obtained permission from landowners, produced a map and provided meals and rest areas. Teams choose their own route and all teams finish at the same time, so there is no feeling of being left behind. It is a great way to spend a weekend.
Some teams rogaine competitively and championship rogaines are run regularly. For the fastest teams, rogaining demands first class navigation both day and night in all terrain along with sustained physical and mental endurance. Yet competitive rogaining is secondary to the primary philosophy of participation. Many rogainers have little interest in speed and find the sport provides opportunities to spend a day or weekend in pleasant company, in empathy with the outdoors and with whatever self-set challenges suit them. Novice participation is actively encouraged and all rogaining events are designed to be suitable for beginners.
A key factor in this broad appeal is that all participants start and finish at the same time. Unlike a long distance run where slow runners arrive to find everyone is packing up, slower rogainers often spend the last hours at the finish, enjoying the spectacle of competitive teams racing in at the last minute. Non-competitive teams may have chosen to sleep for most of the night in warm sleeping bags at the camp area before finding more checkpoints the next day.
Expert, novice or family group, one aspect unites all rogainers, namely the satisfaction of being able to navigate in rural and forest environments.
Copyright 2002 International Rogaining Federation Inc. All rights reserved.