What is Rogaining?
That's a great question!
The standard definition goes like this: -
Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation in which teams of two to five members visit as many checkpoints as possible in the specified time. In Victoria, rogaines are typically run over periods of 6, 12 or 24 hours. In a bush rogaine teams travel entirely on foot, navigating by map and compass between checkpoints in terrain that varies from open farmland to hilly forest. However, the Victorian Rogaining Association also runs a few events on bikes, in metropolitan areas, on cross-country skis, and even in canoes!
A central base camp (called the "Hash House") provides hot meals throughout the event and teams may return at any time to eat, rest or sleep. Teams travel at their own pace and anyone from children to grandparents can experience the personal satisfaction that comes from cross-country navigation at their own level of competition and comfort.
Rogaining developed as a sport in its own right in the early 1970's, but 24-hour walks had been held since at least 1947 by the Melbourne University Mountaineering Club. The word ROGAINE was coined from: ROd, GAIl and NEil, the three people in Australia who developed the first ROGAINE.
Rogaining is a team activity for people of all ages and levels of fitness. It provides competitors with navigational challanges, a way of enjoying the outdoors, and a sense of achievement. Some attractions of rogaining include access into places that are very scenic, the opportunity for night navigation and the extra challenges that this involves, camping at the Hash House around a fireplace, and the feeling of community when helping out.
Once you've started an event, the parts of the course you see are entirely up to you and your team members. Some teams may cover more than 60km in a 12 hour event or over 100km in an event of 24 hours duration. However, many others may walk only a few kilometres and achieve just as much satisfaction. The enjoyment comes from finding your way around a course that you have chosen and navigating back to the finish. Since there is no restriction on which, or how many (or few) checkpoints you choose to visit, competitors of all ages and standards can compete on the same playing field.
At each event the Hash House provides food and drink for competitors. These refreshments are included in the entry fees for the event. Teams may return to the Hash House at any time during the event and as often as they like for food, rest, sleep, and conversation.