Brains beat brawn in New Plymouth's rogaine challenge

800 students dash off to find checkpoints at New Plymouth's rogaine competition.
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

800 students dash off to find checkpoints at New Plymouth's rogaine competition.

Careful planning and strategy have prevailed over haste in New Plymouth's annual rogaine competition. 

Wednesday's event saw almost 800 secondary school students given just two hours to traverse the 130 hectares of land at the Lake Mangamahoe course.

The only team to complete all the checkpoints was Francis Douglas Memorial College duo Jack Matthews and Josh Morris. 

Competitors only had 10 minutes to plan their route and find checkpoints arounf Mangamahoe lake.
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

Competitors only had 10 minutes to plan their route and find checkpoints arounf Mangamahoe lake.

Matthews said it was about 60 per cent planning and 40 per cent execution which led them to claim the top spot. 

"We sat down and planned out the whole route rather than going for the checkpoints with higher values," he said. 

"Some of the junior teams would go for higher values but we were confident we could get the whole thing done."

Rogaine works by assigning different checkpoints with different values, usually the harder to find ones are worth more points, however Matthews and Morris didn't need to worry about points, their only concern was time. 

"We often finish with about 30 minutes to spare," Morris said, "But we only had about eight left on the clock this time."

Morris and Matthews have been competing in rogaine events for four years and used the New Plymouth event as a warm-up for the Hillary Challenge in May.

"The Hillary Challenge is probably the biggest rogaine event in New Zealand," Matthews said

"There's a lot of rivalry between schools in New Plymouth who enter."

Rogaine teams can range from two to five but all members must stick together. 

Matthews and Morris said their tactic was to keep the team small as it meant "less chance of laggers or someone getting an injury".

President of Orienteering Taranaki Jonathan Spencer said many of the successful rogaine teams would spend more of their time planning than running.

"The kids have to be really fit to run for two hours still," he said.

"But the sport really does test their logic and reasoning skills as well as their fitness."

Spencer said the event had run for many years and despite the massive terrain they had never lost anyone. 

"We have Search and Rescue on hand just in case but the kids are all pretty good navigators anyway," he said. 

 

 - Stuff

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