World champion rogaine team win Australasian title
A world champion rogaine team had a two-hour sleep in a back-country hut and still managed to win the 24-hour Australasian Championship at the weekend.
The world champion team of Chris Forne of Queenstown and Greg Hamilton of Christchurch covered more than 100km on foot during the 24-hour event but spent two hours resting at Flaxy Hut in the small hours of Sunday morning before crossing the finish line at lunchtime.
"Although it was quite a big event, we had a little nap in there. We wouldn't usually do that," Forne said.
Rogaining is an orienteering sport of long distance cross-country navigation, involving route planning and navigation between checkpoints using a variety of map types.
Teams of two to five people choose which checkpoints to visit within a 24 hour, 15 hour or seven hour time limit with the intent of maximising their score.
"It was quite a challenging course. There were some really cool bush gullies and on the higher tops there were alpine grasses, but we didn't enjoy the thistles and didn't think we'd be crossing quite as many fences but that's part of the challenge.
Teams are given their maps showing where the checkpoints are three hours before the race starts.
"We had to do a bit of thinking about which check points we were going to cover because the terrain was quite slow and steep and there was a lot of ungrazed long grass and bush that was really thick in some places we went to. The going was a lot slower than we thought it was going to be."
Despite that, conditions were ideal, Forne, a Queenstown software developer, said.
"On Saturday night the sun dipped down behind the clouds and lit up the Old Man Range just before sunset - it was quite spectacular."
Organiser Stuart Payne said he looked at Forne and Hamilton's intention map and thought they were "insane."
"They coped with the terrain very well and they were pretty lucky. There was a full moon going in and out from behind the clouds which made navigation a little easier.
He had been planning the event for over a year, mapping the course and putting out 93 checkpoints.
About 185 competitors took part in the rogaine at the weekend, most in the 24 hour event.
Forne and Hamilton were now targeting the Godzone adventure racing event in a couple of weeks.
"We're expecting that to be a bit quicker, there won't be rests in huts on that one," Forne said.