Ideally a rogaine course should be designed so that the best teams think they can get all the checkpoints, but they actually can’t. We did that. But we didn’t expect a team of elite European orienteers to enter. And to be honest, even when they did, we thought ‘Ah, orienteering whiz kids – won’t have the stamina for a 12 hour event. Just show-ponies when it comes to rogaining’. How wrong we were.
Jeremy Genar from Belgium and Michal Hubáček from the Czech Republic are coaches-in-residence sponsored by Orienteering Tasmania. They visited all 52 checkpoints, getting back with 45 minutes to spare. They ran 72km, scored 1880 points (400 ahead of their nearest rivals), and were the only team to reach the controls on South Maria. Very impressive. They didn’t even take a torch, as they were confident they would return before dark. As the sun set Jeremy’s girlfriend Silke was tracking them on her iPhone. Everyone was excited: they were still up in the forest – would they get lost in the dark? No, they ran through the campsite at last light, picked up torches and continued on to the northern checkpoints.
In second place overall in the 12 Hour event was the Men’s Veteran team of Allan Hood and Jon McComb, followed closely by Gary Carroll and Ken McLean. Mixed Veteran was won by Bernard Walker and Sara Brain, in an impressive fourth position overall. Not far behind them was the first Women’s Veteran team of Chris Brown and Zara Soden. They showed their class by running the last 5 km! Mixed Super Veteran was won by Diana Cossar-Burgess and Sebastian Burgess, Men’s Ultra Veteran by Nick Bowden and Barry Abbott, Women’s Super Veteran by Vicki Campbell and Maureen Lefevre and Men’s Junior by Joshua Allen and Harry Driessen.
The most-visited checkpoints on the 12 hour course were 43 along the Mt Maria track and 32 just east of the Inland track, with thirty-nine visits each. The scenic 23 on Magistrates Point was visited thirty-eight times, and 25 on the saddle just north of Four Mile Beach had thirty-six visits. Five teams made it through the wormhole (a 2km taped route through dense teatree and tall bracken) to the area north of Riedle Bay. There were some spectacular views to be had there, but when we asked if people had enjoyed it, most of them said ‘No’. Ah well, we enjoyed putting the checkpoints out (kind of).
The winners of the 6 Hour event were Bruce Terry and his eight-year old daughter Caitlin. Yes, that’s correct – eight years old! Fantastic effort. They beat Mixed Super Veterans Mike and Jane Calder by only 10 points. The Men’s Junior team of Dexter Canning, Tristan Meffre and Aidan Black were not far behind in third overall. Women’s Veteran winners Andrea Schiwy and Judy Davis were fifth overall. Women’s Super Veteran winners Hilary Cane and Anne Briggs were sixth overall, 15 points ahead of the winners of Men’s Ultra Veteran: Ross Kelly, Julian Roscoe and Ian Woolford.
We congratulate all those awesome winners. Rogaining as a sport prides itself on its emphasis on participation and having fun rather than competition, and it was great to see ten family teams with parents and children, including two teams with three generations – the Cavanagh/Scott family, and the Hill/McConnell family. Sally and Rian Hill, Grandma Lorraine and three small boys spent a long time up on The Club searching unsuccessfully for checkpoint 41, so came back to the Hash House for a rest, where the boys promptly engaged in a very enthusiastic game of table tennis. Sally, Rian and 10 year old Patrick were undeterred, so went out for more checkpoints, and then later the whole family went out in the dark. We should have had a Family category, and if we had, it would have been won by Will and Miriam Whittington. Miriam said Will had never gone close to walking for that long before. They were only just ahead of Mikayla and Michael Cooper. Mikayla was pumped: with 42km up she had run a marathon! Four year old Sean Carroll ran to the first checkpoint, was out for five and a half hours with mum Kim, and then asked the next day if there was another rogaine. So we sent him off to collect a checkpoint. Bernadette and Robbie Morris with toddler Bryn in the stroller were the only 6 Hour team that made it as far as Return Point. Ian Johnstone, son Henry and friend Sebastian had a bushy adventure, discovering some ecosystems on Maria that they never knew existed, as well as meeting a large scaly resident. The Andrews family with 8 and 10 year old Dan and Liam made it all the way to control 63, halfway up the Mt Maria track.
Several teams just had a very nice time. Thirty-five out of the fifty-three teams visited the scenic checkpoint 81, high on Skipping Ridge. Bronwyn Fuller, Jutta Roper, and Ann Halliday didn’t care about the points, they went there just for the view. (The 1993 Maria rogaine had a control on top of Bishop & Clerk!). Martin and Elizabeth Bicevskis were happy to have spotted forty species of birds, but Martin was disappointed that his snorkelling gear broke. Some teams perhaps didn’t have such a nice time. John Crawford and Damon Hannay made it through the wormhole, but then got lost. They still claimed to have enjoyed themselves. Liz Canning, Hugh Fitzgerald and Dorothy Steane bravely went from 82 to 64 (which they said wasn’t as bad as we had feared) and then headed through the wormhole, only to run out of time to get all the checkpoints in that area.
Maria has had outstanding rainfall this year. We have watched large tracts of bare dirt transform to wetlands, open forest change to bracken jungles, wombats become aquatic and dry gullies turn to gushing creeks. Fun for everyone!
We have acknowledged principal helpers elsewhere but want to again thank Peter and Robyn Tuft. Drawing on more than 40 years rogaining experience, they were meticulous, politic, and wise vetters, and great company. They made three solid sorties to Maria, including a tough winter one. They exemplified the role of rogaining vetters - Peter visited every checkpoint not only to check its placement, but also its fairness from the point of view of participants, and to consider the best location of the marker. A huge contribution, especially following on from their big part in the Ross River World Rogaining Championship vetting team.
Many thanks to Silke who took some spectacular photos, which you can see on the Rogaining Tasmania Facebook page. Thanks to all the people who helped us collect all the checkpoints on Sunday – Sean Carroll, Jeremy Genar, Silke Van Rooy, Jess Fuller-Smith, Bill Bretherton, Jackson Jolly, Emily Panietz, Val Smith, Mike Fuller, Nick Bowden and Barry Abbott.
Particular thanks must go to the organisers of Triple Top and Point to Pinnacle, for choosing the previous weekend for their events, causing us to change the date of the rogaine, and thus giving us the benefit of the glorious weather.
Sally and Jeff