IRF Rules of Rogaining - Superceded (as of the 1st January 2017)

IRF Rules – Parts A-D

International Rogaining Federation Rules of Rogaining

Rogaining is an amateur sport to be enjoyed by social and competitive participants and event organisers. These rules have been drafted with simplicity and enjoyment as primary guides and govern the conduct of all rogaining events organised by any group affiliated with the International Rogaining Federation. The rules are composed of four parts as follows:

Part A: Introductory Comments
Part B: Rules for Participants
Part C: Technical Standards for Organizers
Part D: Special Requirements for the World Rogaining Championships and Qualifying Events for the World Rogaining Championships

The Introductory Comments (Part A), the Rules for Participants (Part B), and the Technical Standards for Organizers (Part C) apply to all national championship rogaines as well as the World Rogaining Championships. The Special Requirements for the World Rogaining Championships and Qualifying Events for the World Rogaining Championships (Part D) apply to these events only.

Part A: Introductory comments:

A1.  National Associations may adjust the Rules for specific events where they consider this appropriate.

A2.  The Technical Standards for Organizers set out the minimum requirements for championship rogaines. Improvements beyond these minimum standards are encouraged. Further valuable information can be obtained from the “Guidelines for Organizers” published in the latest edition of the manual “Organizing a Rogaine” published by the IRF.

A3.  The IRF supports the policy of the International Olympic Committee banning the use of performance-enhancing substances by participants.

A4.  In interpretation and use of these Rules, participants, organisers, committees and jury panel members shall at all times be guided by a sense of fair play.

A5.  For the majority of participants, rogaining is a social and recreational activity. The purpose of these regulations is to introduce a standard based on wide experience that will enhance the sport in general and allow for a competitive element to the sport that is based on fairness. Many of the competition rules relate to safety and etiquette. Rogaining has a high reputation with government and landowners because of this. Breaches of these rules will threaten the survival of the sport. Organisers must pay particular attention to ensuring that all participants in an event, irrespective of their competitive status, are aware of the importance of abiding by the regulations on which the sport’s reputation depends. In particular competition rules; B1, B2, B5, B9, B10, B15, B20, B21, B22, B23 & B28 are fundamental to the continued survival of the sport. Participants who contravene these rules may be banned from future rogaines.

Part B: Rules for Participants

Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation for teams travelling on foot. The object is to score points by finding checkpoints located on the course within a specified time. Checkpoints may be visited in any order.


“The course” means anywhere a team travels during the time of the rogaine but specifically excludes the access road and areas in the proximity of an administration area designated for non-competition use by the organisers, for example for parking or camping. “Event site” includes the course and any administration, access and non-competition areas.


B1. A team shall consist of two, three, four or five members.

B2. A team that has a member under fourteen years of age shall also have a member eighteen years of age or over.

B3. Competition placings are awarded in several sections based on the age and gender composition of teams. Each team is automatically entered in the Open section and all other sections of the competition for which it is eligible.

B4. No member of a team shall have been involved with the organisation of the rogaine so as to have a prior familiarity with the rogaine course or the fieldwork of the rogaine map.

Respect for Land and Property

B5. Competitors shall respect public and private property.

(a) Competitors shall not cross newly sown ground or growing crops, except if specifically permitted by the organisers, or any area deemed out-of-bounds by the organisers.
(b) Competitors shall keep a reasonable distance from dwellings and stock with young.
(c) Competitors shall take due care when crossing fences, crossing at corner posts, solid posts or between wires wherever possible. Each team shall leave any gate in the same state as it was found.
(d) Competitors shall not discard litter.
(e) Competitors shall not light fires at the event site.
(f) Competitors shall not smoke on the course.
(g) Competitors shall not unduly damage or disturb native flora or fauna.
(h) Dogs and weapons of any kind, including firearms, are prohibited at the event site.

Conduct of Competitors

B6. Competitors shall not enter the course until the official start is signalled.


(a) The only navigational aids that may be carried on the course are magnetic compasses, watches and copies of the competition map.
(b) Carrying of other navigational aids, including GPS devices, mobile phones, computer devices of any type, pedometers and altimeters on the course is prohibited.

(c) A team is allowed to carry on the course but not to use any otherwise prohibited device that provides no audible feedback provided the device is presented at registration or the device is distributed by the organizer. The event administrator will keep a record of each team and device, where applicable provide a tamper-evident means such as a sealed enclosure which prevents information on the devices being accessed during the event, and examine each device after the finish to verify they are untampered and record its return. Any team not returning a device untampered will be disqualified unless it was accessed for emergency communications.

(d) The use of maps that provide additional information not shown on the competition map is prohibited for course planning and while on course.

B8.  The use of aids for course planning other than for distance measurement and scoring estimation is prohibited, in particular route optimisation software or other sophisticated planning tools.

B9.  Competitors shall travel only on foot on the course. This rule does not preclude competitors from crossing water features, even if this requires swimming, provided the water feature has not been designated out of bounds.

B10. Members of a team shall remain within unaided verbal contact of one another at all times whilst on the course. A team shall demonstrate compliance with this requirement to any event official or other team on request.

B11. A team shall advise their team number to any event official or other team, on request.

B12. A team shall not accept assistance from, nor collaborate with, other people during course planning or on the course, nor deliberately follow another team.

B13. The use of electronic communications equipment including mobile (cellular) phones on the course is prohibited. Any team using such equipment for any purpose during a competition must withdraw or be disqualified, except in cases referred to in Rule B31. Mobile phones may be carried for safety purposes when event organisers provide a means by which the devices cannot be accessed whilst on the course.

B14. No food nor equipment shall be left on the course before the event for a team’s use, and no food or equipment shall be discarded on the course unless retrieved by the team during the event and brought by the team with them to the finish. Any compulsory gear must be carried at all times.

B15. Each competitor shall carry a whistle at all times whilst on the course. In an emergency a competitor shall give a series of short blasts on their whistle.


B16. Organisers shall issue recording devices to be used at checkpoints. At championship rogaines the recording device shall normally be an electronic recording device issued to all members of the team. Electronic recording devices shall be attached to the competitors by a tamper-proof device, such as a wristband, before the commencement of the event. Tamper-proof devices shall only be cut or removed by event officials.


(a) For a team to gain points for visiting a checkpoint, all members of a team shall record a visit to that checkpoint by using the electronic recording device.
(b) The organisers may set a requirement that all team members record a visit to a checkpoint within a pre-defined time limit for a team to gain points for that checkpoint. Such a time limit shall be announced by organizers in the pre-event information.

B18. In the event of the electronic recording device being lost or wristband being broken the team shall report to the event officials and return to an administration area. Failure to do so shall result in disqualification of the team. The organisers shall provide a replacement electronic recording device or wristband and the team shall be admitted to continue the competition. Considering the circumstances and the evidence available, the organisers shall make a discretionary decision whether points shall be credited for checkpoints visited before the loss of the electronic device or breakage of the wristband.

B19. Competitors shall not deliberately rest within one hundred metres of a checkpoint unless the checkpoint is also a water drop.

B20. Competitors shall not adversely interfere with a checkpoint, water drop or any other facility placed upon the course by the organisers.

Administration Areas

B21. Whenever visiting the administration area during the competition, all team members shall record a visit by punching a specified device when arriving at the administration area and again immediately before leaving the area.

B22. A team shall finish by all of the members punching a specified finish device at the designated finish area. Before the advertised finish time a team may return to the course even if they have already punched the finish device. In such a case electronic recording devices shall be reattached to the competitors by a tamper-proof device, such as a wristband. The team finish time is the latest time recorded by any team member at the finish.

B23. If a competitor wishes to withdraw from a team for any reason, the entire team shall return to an administration area and notify the organisers. The original team shall be deemed to have finished the event. If a new team is formed it may be admitted to the competition at the discretion of the organisers but no points shall be credited for checkpoints already visited.

Penalties and Protests

B24. The penalty for breaching these rules is disqualification except for rule B17 for which the penalty is the loss of points for the checkpoint under consideration. Any team disqualified under this rule shall be recorded as disqualified (DSQ).

B25. A team may voluntarily withdraw, by advising the organisers immediately upon their finish, if they have breached any rule for any reason and shall be recorded as withdrawn (W/D).

B26. Within forty-five minutes of the nominated finish time, a team may report to the organisers about any team thought to have breached these rules, or may protest in writing to the organisers about any actions of the organisers that they consider made the competition unfair.

B27. A team that is not satisfied with any decision of the organisers may appeal in writing to the committee of the organising association within seven days of the publication of the official results. This committee shall have the power to overrule the organisers and to amend the results accordingly. No further appeal is permitted.


B28. No team shall start until the organisers announce the start. The event shall finish at the advertised finish time as determined by the organisers’ clock. Teams finishing late will be penalised at the rate per minute or part thereof specified in advance by the organisers, however any checkpoint visited after the advertised finish time will be included in team’s score. Teams finishing more than thirty minutes late shall be deemed ineligible for a placing and their result shall be recorded as LATE.

B29. A team’s score shall be the value of the checkpoints visited and correctly verified in accordance with these rules, less any penalties. The team with the greatest score, or in the event of a tie the team that finished earlier, shall be awarded the higher placing.


(a) If a checkpoint is misplaced, teams who recorded a visit to the misplaced checkpoint will receive the points for that control and teams who can satisfy the organizers that they visited the correct site will also receive the points for that control.
(b) The organisers shall arrange a back-up system for the case of failure of the electronic punching station at the checkpoint, such as human readable code or similar. The organisers shall advise competitors about the back-up system in the pre-event information and a model of the back-up system demonstrated at the administration area. If the electronic punching station at a checkpoint fails teams shall be awarded the point score for that checkpoint if they provide a record of the back-up system.


B31. Any team hearing a distress signal must abandon their course and help in any way needed. No team shall be penalised for any rule breached in the course of giving such help or reporting matters solely to the event organisers.

Part C: Technical Standards for Organizers:

C1. All championship rogaines shall be of 24 hours duration and shall start and finish at 12 noon or such other time as may be agreed that will give a similar duration of daylight both before and after the period of darkness. It is recommended that organizers provide optional bus or similar transport to the event site for participants who choose not to drive.

C2. The course shall be designed so that the winning team is likely to visit most but not all checkpoints.

C3. The organising team shall include one or more Course Vetters approved by the organising association. The Vetters must have a track record of championship rogaine course setting and/or vetting and must have competed in, or set/vet the course for, at least two championship rogaines in the previous five years. The Vetters shall ensure the fairness of the event and that the style, balance and length of the course are appropriate to the event. The Vetters shall also inspect the course looking for any unwanted problems that it could present to competitors, including the location and number of water drops, any inaccuracies in checkpoint placement or description, and potential safety hazards. The Vetters, operating independently of the person who set that checkpoint, shall check the location of each checkpoint. The Vetters shall check to ensure the map, the checkpoint description, the terrain accuracy and checkpoint locations are fair from all obvious attack points in all reasonably expected light conditions. In the event of an unresolved dispute, the Vetters shall refer the matter to the organizing association.

C4. Each competitor shall be provided with a copy of the event map. The map shall:

  1. Be at a scale between 1:24,000 and 1:64,000.

  2. Have a contour interval that is not more than 20 metres and is suitable for terrain legibility.

  3. Be clearly readable under natural and artificial light.

  4. Be pre-marked with grid or magnetic north lines, magnetic north, checkpoint locations and numbers, water drop locations and known out-of-bounds areas.

  5. Known prohibited routes shall be clearly marked as such.


(a) Advance information for the event sent to each team shall state the map scale and shall give a brief description of the terrain. It shall also state the starting and finishing times, the time at which maps and checkpoint descriptions become available and the points penalty for finishing after the nominated finish time.

(b) If previous rogaining, topographical or orienteering maps of the competition area exist, the organiser shall provide links to such map sources in the advance information provided to all competitors or display copies of relevant maps at the event website.

C6. A copy of the Rules for Participants (Part B) shall be included with the pre-event information sent to competitors. In addition, a copy of the Rules for Participants shall be on display at the administration area from the time that maps become available until the finish of the event.

C7. Each competitor shall be provided with a complete list of checkpoint descriptions. Descriptions shall follow the guidelines in the IRF "Organizing a Rogaine" manual. In particular, features explicitly shown on the map are prefixed by "the" and other features are prefixed by "a".

C8. Maps, checkpoint descriptions, any known map changes, details of Out of Bounds locations and/or prohibited routes and other essential information shall be available as written handouts at least two, and not more than four, hours before the start time. Every reasonable effort shall be made to ensure that any necessary last minute changes are communicated to all teams. Written copies of last minute changes must be on display to all participants.

C9. The identifying numbers allocated to checkpoints shall be allocated in ascending order of points value in order to facilitate route planning. It is preferred that the first digit of the checkpoint number reflects its points value.

C10. Markers used at checkpoints shall be:

a. three-dimensional with a minimum of three vertical faces,

b. a minimum 800 cm2 on each face,

c. of bright colours, preferably orange and white, so as to be clearly visible in the open in daylight from at least 50 metres.

C11. Each marker shall be placed in such a manner that competitors who successfully navigate to the correct position have little or no trouble finding the marker. Unless located on a specifically defined point feature or otherwise indicated on the checkpoint description sheet, the marker shall be generally visible from at least 25 metres in most directions in clear daylight and shall be between 0.5 and 2 metres above the ground (preferably near eye level) and easily reached. Markers shall be as close as possible to the checkpoint feature. Where it is necessary to place a marker in a position which is either more than 10 metres, or not obviously visible, from the feature then a magnetic bearing and distance to the marker from the feature shall be included in the checkpoint description.

C12. The organisers may require teams to carry tracking devices, in which case rule B7 c) applies. Beyond any data available by virtue of teams carrying tracking devices during the event, the organisers shall not release any information relating to provisional results of any team, the progress of any team, or the route chosen by any team.

C13. Competitors shall be able to obtain suitable food and drinks at one or more "hash houses" at all times not later than six hours after the start until at least one hour after the finish of an event. If there is more than one hash house, it is not necessary that all remain open for the full time, but when maps are distributed competitors shall be informed of the times when food is available at each one.

C14. In the event of there being inadequate sources of naturally occurring drinking quality water on the course, organisers shall provide sufficient water drops that competitors do not have to carry an excessive quantity of water. Organisers shall ensure that water is available at these water drops for the duration of the event. Water drops shall be placed on obvious navigational features and described on the checkpoint description sheet. Their locations shall be vetted in the same way as checkpoints. Water drops may be at checkpoints. Organisers may provide fruit or other food on the course at either water drops or checkpoints for the use of participants. Any such food points, including the times of food availability at the point, shall be so noted on the checkpoint description sheet.

C15. There shall be three gender classes of competition: Men’s teams, Women’s teams, and Mixed teams, the latter being all teams that contain at least one female and one male rogainer. Within each gender class, all teams are in the Open age category. In addition, some teams will be eligible for restricted age categories as follows:

a)  Youth (Under 23): all team members must be under 23 years of age on the first day of competition

b)  Veteran: all team members must be 40 years of age or over on the first day of competition.

c)  Super Veteran: all team members must be 55 years of age or over on the first day of

competition. (Note: all Super Veteran teams are automatically in the Veteran class also).

d)  Ultra Veteran: all team members must be 65 years of age or over on the first day of competition. (Note: all Ultra Veteran teams are automatically in the Veteran and Super Veteran classes also).


(a) A team’s score is determined on the basis of the reading of the electronic recording devices of all team members.

(b) Where electronic punching is in use, teams shall be provided a record of the controls visited, any penalties and final score as part of the finish process, to allow them to check for possible errors. Where errors are found these must be notified to the organisers within 45 minutes of the event finish time.

(c) Records from the back-up system are taken into account only when it is established that there has been a failure of the electronic punching station at a given checkpoint or when the electronic punching station was missing.


(a) Provisional results shall be displayed at the event center as soon as possible after the finish of all the teams that started the event and at the latest immediately after the late finish cutoff time.
(b) Results shall show the team number, team members' names and country (for international events), points score, finish time and any points penalty for every team that started the event, together with their overall placing and their placing in every category for which they are eligible. Withdrawn, late and disqualified teams shall also be shown.
(c) Results shall remain provisional until any protests and appeals have been settled.
(d) Final results of the event shall be published at the dedicated event website or at the website of the organising group or association.

C18. Any report of an alleged rule breach by a team, or protest by a team against the organisation of an event shall be considered and determined by a three person jury prior to the announcement of the results for that event. The jury shall be drawn from a panel of suitably qualified and experienced rogainers nominated by the organising association. The names of panel members shall be made known to the association members either by publishing at least annually in the association newsletter, or by setting out in the pre- event information distributed to participants. The panel members selected for any specific jury shall be selected by the organisers and shall meet the following criteria:

  1. Members of the team protesting, reporting or being reported against shall not be on the jury.

  2. Members of the organising team shall not be on the jury.

  3. No member of the jury shall have a vested interest in the jury's determination to the extent that disqualification of any team, who is the subject of the jury's determination, would move that member's team's placing into or within the first three placings in any age/gender category.

The event organiser and Course Vetter shall assist the jury in hearing any report or protest as required, but shall not have a vote in the determination. In hearing any protest or report, the jury shall use all reasonable means to gather as much data as is reasonably necessary, and shall give a fair hearing to both the team making the report/protest, and the party being reported/protested against.

C19. In the event that an appeal is made to the committee of the organising association, any member of that committee who would be ineligible to be a member of the jury under C18 above, shall be ineligible to participate in the determination of the appeal. The committee shall examine all available data in respect of the original report/protest (if any) and the appeal, and shall seek other input as it sees fit in making its determination. The committee shall give a fair hearing to all parties involved in the matter, including the team originally reporting/protesting (if applicable) and must notify the affected teams of their decision within two weeks of the decision. The decision of the committee of the organising association on any appeal shall be final.

C20. The committee decision of any appeal, which effects the final results of an event, shall be published at the earliest convenient opportunity in the newsletter of the organising association.

Part D: Special Requirements for the World Rogaining Championships and Qualifying Events for the World Rogaining Championships

D1. The World Rogaining Championships are the Championships of the International Rogaining Federation. The World Rogaining Championships can only be conducted under the technical and organizational supervision of an IRF Member chosen for that event by the IRF.

D2. Any adjustment of the Rules for WRC and any WRC qualifying events requires the approval of the IRF.

D3. The Course Vetter for the World Rogaining Championships shall have a track record of championship rogaine course setting and/or vetting and must have competed in, or set/vet the course for, at least two championship rogaines in the previous five years. The organising association shall advise the IRF of the names and experience of all key technical organisers of the Championships, including the Course Vetter, not less than two years prior to the date of the event. Any changes to the Course Vetter following their approval by the IRF shall be notified to the IRF as soon as practical.

D4. The map to be used for WRC and any WRC qualifying events shall meet the following additional requirements:

-  Be at a scale between 1:25,000 and 1:50,000.

-  Be printed in at least four colours.

D5. The organisers shall arrange bus transport from a suitable major city to the event site for participants in the World Rogaining Championships. The timing of the buses and number of seats shall be such as to suit the expected demand. The users of bus transport shall be charged for this transport on the basis of full cost recovery if the buses are 90% utilised.

D6. The team with the highest score in the World Rogaining Championships in each gender class shall be the World Rogaining Champions, irrespective of which age category they are entered in.

D7. The panel of rogainers suitable for possible inclusion in a jury at the World Rogaining Championships shall consist of all members and observers on the International Rogaining Federation, plus all members of the Australian Rogaining Association Council plus other suitably qualified rogainers as approved from time to time.

D8. At the World Rogaining Championships, a team shall consist of two or three members.

D9. The list of compulsory gear includes a whistle only. Any adjustment of the list of compulsory equipment requires the prior approval of the IRF.

D10. Organisers of WRC and any WRC qualifying events shall send a copy of the full final results to the IRF WRC Manager in a format agreed by the IRF WRC Manager. Final results of the WRC shall be published by the IRF at the website of the IRF.

As at 1/1/2017

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