History of Rogaining - Canada

History of rogaining in Canada by Murray Foubister

Murray Foubister organized the early Sage rogaines in British Columbia and was course setter for the 3rd World Rogaining Championships at Kamloops. He has represented Canada on the International Rogaining Federation since its foundation.

The first 24 hour rogaine outside of Australia was held in the western part of Alberta, Canada, in 1986. Andy Newson, Kitty Jones and Jim Force selected an area in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, just outside Banff National Park. The 80 competitors had such a good time that the whole exercise was repeated in 1987. This time, thanks to keen interest and competition amongst various military groups, there were over 200 entrants. Rogaining was a success in this part of Canada, so Andy and Kitty formed the Rogaine Club based in Calgary and began to spread the word.

On a visit to Kamloops for an annual orienteering competition organized by the Sage Orienteering Club, Andy Newson told me about rogaining. I decided then and there to organize an event in the following year, even though I had never been to a rogaine! Drawing on Andy Newson's experiences, I ran the first rogaine in British Columbia in 1988. There was an excellent area of 125 square km at the edge of the grasslands very close to Kamloops and 30 teams came to this inaugural event. The weather was perfect and all appeared to enjoy themselves. Several competitors in this first British Columbia rogaine went on to organize their own events in the following year, including Ron Andrews running the first coastal rogaine in British Columbia a month later.

There was an early decision to closely model rogaines on the Australian design, to emphasize the social ambience of the hash house environment and to always provide a very high standard of food. The events took considerable work to organize which posed a problem for the small rogaining community in a town of 80,000 people such as Kamloops. It was soon decided to organize a major orienteering meet and a 24-hour rogaine in alternative years, with interspersed shorter rogaines.

The first international rogaine in 1990, The Most Awesome Rogaine, remains the best attended Canadian event to date, owing to careful planning between Andy Newson and the International Rogaining Federation who established a critical alliance with the Asia Pacific Orienteering Festival that began in Kamloops. A total of 330 competitors from 18 countries attended and this provided a catalyst for rogaining groups in Europe in later years.

In 1994, the Sage club of Kamloops hosted the first North American Rogaining Championships at Lac Du Bois. By 1997, the second 24 hour rogaine in eastern Canada was held in Nova Scotia. All this rogaining activity culminated in the 3rd World Rogaining Championships held at Douglas Lake Ranch, Kamloops in 1998. This was the Sage club's eleventh rogaine and the 25th rogaine in Canada (Table 12.7). On an outstanding map and in record 40oC heat, 290 competitors in 137 teams entered from 15 countries.

Editors note - as publised on the IRF web site July 5th 2002