Monday, 7 September 2015

Rogaining in some rain

On Saturday I ran in the annual foot rogaining event with my friend Sarah. We ran together a few years ago at the Kaapschehoop rogaining event and teamed up again for this one at one of my favourite places, Lakenvlei - the same place where I host Forest Run.

We drove through from Jo'burg on the morning of the event, especially as it was only starting at 10am and was set at six-hour duration. Other years the events have usually been eight hours (there is also a half-duration course on offer too).

We started in the rain and choosing what to wear before the start was difficult. It wasn't freezing cold and when you run you get hot - quickly. Wearing waterproof jackets keeps you dry (from the rain, but not from sweat) but you get hotter quicker. Wearing a shell, the wind is kept off and you stay warm; but you're likely to get wet because shells really are just wind and splash proof.

We went with our long-sleeve thermal tops and shells. And the balance was spot-on.

Fortunately the rain stopped at about 90-minutes in and although there were moments in this time when we were chilled in the wind, we had the benefit of protection from the trees when running inside the forest.

I didn't take much in the way of photos this year - the rain and damp being a factor as well as not having my happy-snappy race camera on hand (the battery charger is AWOL - and the battery is flat!).

Me and Sarah at control #70
The objective of rogaining is that you've got a limited time (six hours) to collect as many POINTS as possible. This doesn't meant that you need to visit as many checkpoints as possible but rather that you must assess the allocation of points to each checkpoint (20 to 50) and then choose an appropriate route that gets you the most points in the available time. Of course this also depends on how fast you can run and how well you can navigate.

When we got our maps and looked at the checkpoint locations, there was no doubt that we needed to hit the North of the property. The controls in the South were further spread and the points there were not anything magical to lure us that side.

We started out from Lakenvlei Forest Lodge and around the dam to our first control #85. If you look at the map you'll see two numbers at each control location. The first is the control number; the second is the points value for that control.

To guide you as to the direction/route we took... #85, #94, #51 etc and finishing with  #112, #113, #33, #63 and home.

In rogaining, we know that we're not going to get all of the controls. So, selecting a route is as much about which controls we're going to get as which ones we're going to leave out. We decided to leave out #43 and #79 as they were 'awkward' to get.

Michele and Cindy were our female pair competitors and they went in the opposite direction to us. Some of the order in which they got some of the controls differed - and they got the two that we left out.

Michele and Cindy's route. They clocked 35.2km
By the time we reached #112, we still had an hour left. So we ate some munchies and hit the last three controls - totally not in a rush. We didn't have too many other options available for the homeward sweep as more weighted controls were too far away. We finished with 15 mins to spare - and just as the drizle began again.

We were happy with our route and run but most certainly bow to Michele and Cindy's superior route.

We skipped the mountain bike rogaine the next day as we both had commitments - this is also excellent fun.

This rogaine event only comes up once a year and is always one of my most-looked-forward-to.

My thanks to Ian Bratt, Glen Terry and their team of people from Rand Orienteering Club who put out and collected the control flags. They put in a lot of work for a very [too] small crowd of enthusiastic participants.

And extra special thanks to Sarah for a really super day out there with her.

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