By Peter & Robyn Tuft
To run more rogaines we need more people to run them, which means more people who can set a good course. So we organised a workshop for potential course setters on 10 October, feeling that we'd be pleased if a handful of people expressed interest. We were more than pleased when nine potential new setters turned up, together with old hands Gary Carroll, Bernard Walker, Sara Brain and Liz Canning. Having course-setting wisdom available from such a broad range of experience was a real bonus.
Peter Tuft, sharing his considerable wisdom!
The location was our bush block near Kettering, which was ideal because it had a nice meeting room (our lounge room, although a bit of a squeeze for the crowd) and a very good map (very conveniently produced previously as a test of Lidar-based vegetation mapping). Most of what we covered was focussed on bush events because they are the most challenging to set well, but we also touched on metrogaines and (very briefly) some other aspects of event organisation (you do realise that there is a whole lot more to organising a rogaine than just setting the course?)
We spent the morning inside, initially talking about the principles of a well-set course - checkpoint placement must be fair but navigationally demanding, checkpoint layout should create strategy dilemmas for entrants, need to cater for all levels of physical ability and navigational skill, etc. Then there were some desktop exercises where small groups worked together to lay out a course on a clean copy of this year's Bruny Island map with guidance and feedback from the old hands.
After lunch, we split into two groups who first marked up some potential checkpoint locations on the local map and then went out to their chosen locations to see if they were in fact suitable. Then it was a matter of finding exactly where to place the marker so it had just the right level of visibility (not hidden in the scrub, not obvious from far away).
Describing all that makes it sound as if setting a good course is pretty complicated. However, it isn't really that hard because there is plenty of time to think about all those matters plus lots of guidance and support available from others in RT. At the end of the day everyone seemed to have learned a lot, enjoyed themselves and were happy to be part of a future course setting team. We actually think that they would all be quite capable of setting high-quality courses themselves.
Many thanks to everyone who came along, both "students" and mentors.