Podium in the ACT 24 hour Rogaine Championships

So I had this weekend free and though I’d do something about filling the time.
Entering the ACT 24 hour Rogaine champs and teaming up with experienced orienteer Melanie Simpson did just that.

 

The 24 hour Rogaine format goes like this:
* you team up in 2 or more people
* you get maps 3 hours before the start
* the maps are topographic with little red circles on it where the check points are
* the aim is to collect as many points as possible in the allotted 24 hour period
* check point values can range between 40 and 100 points each
* you can take whatever route you think is most effective
* you walk (or shuffle, run if you like) around the course navigating to the check points
* each check point has an electronic stamp you collect to get the points
* finishing after the 24 hours costs you points, on a sliding scale, and being more than 30 minutes late means you have probably lost all your points. Don’t get in late!

 

The location was about 20km North of Cooma in a conservation area that was fairly open without any horrible blackberry bushes, but still had it’s amount of prickly undergrowth to be annoying. We left Canberra to get to the registration exactly at 9am, the earliest time to get the maps. Marking our route took some time, using different colour highlighters and adding small clues to help us especially once it gets dark and we get tired, and then we finished packing the backpack to include everything we may need for the 24 hour period. My backpack felt like it weighed a ton (at least 7 kgs 🙂 ), clothes, food, first-aid and 3 liters of water.

 

Even before entering the event, we had already decided to only walk the course and leave the running to the hard-core ones, and there seemed to be a few of them at the start of the event. We kept our cool and didn’t get dragged into running for the first controls, as that would have certainly screwed my legs over within hours.

 

With a laminated map in one hand and a compass in the other we headed into the wild bush, collecting as many points as we could. There was some wild life in the area and we saw goats, kangaroos, deer, koala, owls, wild boar and rabbits. The temperature dropped to about 5 degrees and was bareable with just a couple of thin t-shirt layers.

 

We had an awesome time up to about 1am where we lost about 1 hour trying to find this one CP #89, but we failed and had to start for the next one. There was a nice all-night food/drink stop where we headed to twice in our route, which was great!
Another couple of bad navs lost us some extra time, and we started to doubt our overall performance.

 

I got seriously tired the last few hours but luckily Melanie was strong and could just keep going with excellent navigating skills. We finished a few minutes before 24 hours, absolutely perfect timing. There was lots of nice welcoming food and hot drinks at the finish that didn’t even touch the sides, straight down the gob 🙂

 

At presentation we were pleasantly surprised that we had finished really well, even ahead of the top all-male team that ran most of the course while we only walked. Very interesting.

 

Thanks to Melanie for doing such a good effort on terrain navigation, even in the dark, ok I did my bit but a lot less than her 🙂

 

2nd in the mixed category – 3rd in the overall finishers