Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Rogaining in South Africa

Pieter Mulder brought rogaining to South Africa in 2003, with an event in the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South of Joburg. It was an 8hr event and the day was hot. I ran with my friend Tracey Sanders, as a women's pair; shortly after the event Tracey immigrated to the UK. This event got me hooked on rogaining.

The next year the event moved into the beautiful forests around Belfast, starting from Lakenvlei Lodge. It's a super orienteering venue that has been used for SA Orienteering Champs and training camps. I ran with Deon in a mixed pair and we reached the finish with seconds to spare after trying to get just one more control. I think this is the year that the Day 2 Mountain Bike Rogaine was introduced; this completes a super weekend of rogaining.

The following year (2005) we were again at Lakenvlei, and this time I teamed up with friend, and orienteering rival, Tania Wimberley, for the 8hr event. We both run with maps, combining our skills to select the best routes. We had a great run together to stake a claim on "our" women's trophy.

Kaapsehoop in 2006 was a fabulous venue and again Tania and I ran together. BIG ascents, some tricky terrain and decisions to be made. This is the first time that the front teams were not able to collect all of the controls and the main decision was whether to go North or South. Tania and I got in some bouldering - by mistake - when we missed a trail and chose to go into a kloof. We ran a lot of the distance, made some good decisions and reached the finish a few minutes before the cut-off; reclaiming "our" trophy in the process.

I did the 5hr MTB rogaine the following day with Tim Deane. We were on track for a clean sweep until I make a risky choice and we got cliffed out, stuck at the base. We lost time blundering over fallen trees, carrying out bikes, sped home in the pouring rain and lost hard-earned points with our late arrival.

I missed last year's rogaine, also at Kaapsehoop, as I was running in India; Tania went hiking in the Drakensberg. This 2007 event was extended to 12-hours, the longest rogaine here to date. Nicholas Mulder says he didn't feel much difference between 8hr and 12hr events (besides it just being longer); but they did cover more distance to log 78km (with 2300m elevation gain) in the 12 hours.

This year the rogaine is back, even though Pieter Mulder is now living in Switzerland. He will return to SA in October to complete the planning and running of the event, assisted by ROC (Rand Orienteering Club). The event is to be held over 1-2 November 2008.

We'll be back in the Belfast forests and this year the foot rogaine is "only" 6 hours, with a shorter 2.5hr option. The mountain bike rogaine on the Sunday is time-limited to 5 hours, with a 2.5hr shorter version. The event information and entry forms are now available - visit the event calendar on

Tania and I want our trophy back after missing the event last year, so we'll probably be running together. Team's members will all be there for the foot and mtb rogaines, in preparation for Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge.

What you waiting for? Grab the event info and put in your entry. I look forward to seeing you there.


N said...

That's terrible. What went so horribly wrong in that first Rogaine that made Tracey decide to emigrate?

adventurelisa said...

HAhahahahaha ;)