It’s a team sport that combines bushwalking with navigation, and we tagged along at a recent 4hr Twilight Rogaine to see what it was all about.
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The origins of Rogaining date back to 1947, but it wasn’t until 1976 the sport was named, rules were adopted and the world’s first Rogaining association was formed. As for the name itself, if the legend is to be believed, it’s derived from the names of the three founders (Rod, Gail and Neil Phillips -and thus Ro-Gai-Ne), who helped organise the world’s first Rogaine.

The name is also a backronym for Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance. Having tagged along at a recent 4hr Twilight Rogaine at the coastal town of Goolwa in South Australia, about an hour’s drive from I/O Merino HQ, we’re left with no doubt what-so-ever the Navigation and Endurance elements certainly ring true.

The day started with teams of two or more people being issued their maps a mere hour before the start of the event. Teams then furiously perused, plotted and planned to work out their proposed route, the goal being to reach as many checkpoints as possible in an effort to collect points. The more difficult the checkpoint, the more points are captured, and at the end of the four hours, the team with the most points win. Sounds simple. But isn’t.

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To be successful requires a combination of speed, strength, endurance and strategy, and while many enter purely for fun, the top end of the field is not for the faint hearted. Indeed, while we attended a four hour event, some of the more testing events go for 12 and even 24 hours.

With more than 100 teams competing, strategies varied as much as the participants and when the event started, unlike a more regular race, teams headed off in a variety of different directions. There was everyone from families out for a fun day, to pro-teams out to win.

The course itself covered everything from some of the local residential streets through to some seriously sandy coastal dunes. There was even a bridge across to Hindmarsh Island offering teams fit and fast enough to make their way over there a bunch of extra points. The day itself was quite warm, but being a twilight event, temperatures dropped as the sun set making it perfect I/O Merino wearing weather.

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We managed to spot quite a few I/O Merino wearing rogainers, including recent Guest Review Sarah Murphy, who donned her Altitude Tee and a Highpoint Necktube and followed up with a her Altitude ‘Mongrel’ Crew after the race finished and the weather cooled down. Sarah’s team ended up being the first mixed team on the day, and seventh overall – a position she’s quick to point out could easily have been even higher. “We finished on equal points with 5th and 6th, but they didn’t cut their finish quite as fine as us” she laughed. (When teams finish on the same amount of time, their finish time determines their final position, and running into HQ with literally 15 seconds to spare before cut-off meant the lost a couple of positions!)

As for wearing her Altitude Active T for the first time, it seems it passed with flying colors. “It was my first outing in the altitude T and I was worried I might get hot when the afternoon warmed up, but didn’t. I did sweat plenty, but didn’t get that icky feeling of soaking wet synthetic material against my skin like you sometimes can in a tech tee. Pretty sure I didn’t smell too bad at the end either, despite covering 35km in the middle of the afternoon” she said.

This year’s World Rogaining Championships are in Lapland, Finland in August, 2015 – the first to be held above the Arctic Circle. Sounds like some people are definitely going to need their I/O Merino for that one! And in 2016 the Championships head to I/O home turf in Central Australia!

For all the rogainers out there, use the exclusive code SARA20 at checkout to save 20% on premium base layers and accessories.
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