Some of Australasia's best rogainers converge on Queensland in North Eastern Australia to compete through sunshine and rain.
Rogaining is a sport that sits somewhere between adventure racing and orienteering, and it requires equal parts stamina and strategy, with a helping of navigational ability thrown in for good measure. This year’s Australasian Championships, AKA ‘The Sunseqer Rogaine’, were held in the Gympie region in South East Queensland at the end of August.
As with most rogaining championships, this was a 24-hour event, starting midday Saturday and covering some 250sq km of mostly lightly forested grazing country. There were 106 teams from Australia, New Zealand and Japan, with a handful of South Australian teams also heading north for the event, and as Karen Wishart explains, events like these are all about decision making.
“If you can run fast and long, and make great decisions while navigating, you are probably going to do very well.”
For Karen and her rogaining partner, and sister, Jo, the decisions were many.
“What will we carry on course? Rain gear? Jacket? Rain pants too? Food - what and how much? How many layers for overnight.” As for her standard rogaining gear, the decision was simple. “Jo and I have a team kit consisting of ioMerino t-shirt, jacket and socks.” With those layers, they were already set for just about anything.
Alex, another ‘Croweater’ who competed with his rogaining partner Steve, had similar decisions to make, and went not only for his all-time favourite ioMerino item, but took a massive risk on a new one.
“The ioMerino gear I used on course definitely made the rogaine much more comfortable. I have used the Altitude Active Boxers extensively in all my active pursuits, from running to rock climbing, and this rogaine was no exception” he said. “They could not be comfier, due to the very fine MicroMerino fabric. They also prevent chafing and have become my go-to pair”.
Despite not having worn them before, and being a little doubtful of whether they’d live up to the hype, Alex also tried the ioMerino Multi-Sport Socks. Breaking the golden rule of only wearing tried and tested gear in big events. So how did he fare?
“I hadn’t used them before, and took a risk wearing them for the very first time during the event, and had no regrets. I was sceptical about the anti-blister technology that was claimed, however, I did not get any blisters for the first time during a rogaine, so I’ll let that speak for itself” he said.
For Karen and Jo, the event went smoothly as they walked steadily through the day, and settled into what they described as "a nice rhythm”. Jo doesn’t normally wear hats, but donned the ioMerino cap for the event and was impressed with its “coolness in the heat”. We’ll assume she’s talking about the temperature there, but they also look pretty cool. It’s one of the great, mind-bending features of wool, that despite what most people think, it can actually keep you cool by insulating you against the heat.
They went well into the evening, ‘pace counting’ to help improve their accuracy, but come morning, the rain set in and when Karen got a little damp their plans to take a nap went out the tent window. Instead, Karen slipped her ioMerino leggings on underneath some waterproof pants, had some breakfast, and headed out to collect more points.
Both Karen and Jo wore their ioMerino caps, and it seems they’ve formed quite a relationship with them. “The peak kept the rain off, and the damp wool still kept our heads warm” she said. “In case you haven’t worked it out, I have so much love for this cap.”
It turns out that even though they hadn’t pushed as hard as originally planned, they still snared a third place in the veteran women’s category, a great achievement.
As for Alex and Steve, they managed to grab a bit of sleep in the early hours of the morning before heading out again at sunrise into the light rain.
“Our night navigation had been amazing, but then we had a decision point. We were torn between pushing hard all night and amassing points or getting some sleep and then going again in the morning. Unfortunately, from a points perspective, we opted for some sleep” he explained.
“We timed our morning points grab very close for comfort and ended up jogging into the Hash House with under a minute to spare, finally completing an event I had had my eyes set on for a while. It’s a great feeling completing a 24hr event. Despite some difficulties, we emerged at the end with a smile on our faces.”
The overall winners were David Symons and Paul Williams from Western Australia who collecting a massive 3210 points, but just 50 points ahead of second place. Whether or not they also had smiles on their faces, or were as comfortable as Karen and Jo (40th overall) or Alex and Steve’s (47th overall) in their ioMerino though, is anyone’s guess.
Karen and Jo wore:
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