Would you Cringe, Comprehend or Get High?

It was a course that had the traditionalists cringing, the beginners comprehending and the runners getting high on endorphins. With Rogaining traditionally held in mostly native bushland where teams, navigating on foot, can test their map and compass skills, this rogaining course with over 80% open farming land, and fences to boot, made the traditionalists, the true bush-bashers, cringe. I would have been joining them in their thoughts for the 54th Paddy Pallin 6hr Rogaine if it wasn’t for the my wife and I primary motive to use the event to continue to teach our 3 kids, aged 7, 8 and 13yrs, how to navigate and enjoy being active in the outdoors.

For novices this course gave them an excellent opportunity to learn and hone the skills of bush navigation. Continually, for 54 years, the Paddy Pallin 6hr rogaine’s key focus has been on novices; to allow them to learn and develop their map and compass navigation in a more friendly and awarding natural environment. With the open fields and woodlands at “Arthursleigh”, a farm owned by The University of Sydney in the Southern Highlands of NSW, participants could, for the most part, clearly see the changing topography, the orange and white flags marking the checkpoints and never truly feel isolated. All this gave them the confidence to embrace the map and compass and to push their navigation skills.

Shearing Shed Hash House

Was it the angry fast emu’s protecting their eggs, the startled fleeing mobs of kangaroo’s or the growth of trail running as a sport that saw runners everywhere, that saw numerous high scoring finishes and one team picking up every possible checkpoint on the map! The open and undulating terrain was perfect for the teams with the fitness to run. The multitude of checkpoints and the 6 hour event limit gave the runners plenty of time with their friend ‘endorphin’.

Here are some of the very impressive results from the mad runners: the overall winning team cleared the entire course, that is, got all checkpoints – Ondrej Pavlu and Richard Mountstephens. Coming in 6th overall, was the winning Junior team (U18) of brother and sister duo Ivan and Elena (15yrs old) Koudashev. Finally, the family team winners of Hugh Stodart, and his 12 and 10yr old sons Jamie and Sam, ran almost everything and managed 11th overall.

For my families two teams, the Mein Machines – my son and I, and the Mein Girls – my wife Kate and our two girls, the day was rewarding in many ways. To follow up last Sundays family walk, one of the Blue Mountain classics – Govetts Leap return, via Evans Lookout, Beauchamp Falls and Junction Rock, with this gently undulating and navigationally educational walk was just perfect to grow independent active kids with an appreciation for the outdoors. The girls wouldn’t let go of their maps, wanted to keep getting more checkpoints and simply loved being in the moment whether it was watching the water run over rocks during a break or looking out for the waving checkpoint flags hanging from a tree branch.

The two teams stayed together for the first hour as a family and then separated as it was time for our son at 13yrs to stretch his legs, find his pace and get into the navigating. He was doing well on this course. It wasn’t all me stepping back and teaching as I had to get my competitive fix. In the back 3hrs of the event I pushed the pace to 5km/hr, extended our course plan and drove the navigation on a course of least resistance. All the time trying to part knowledge to my son with what I was doing with route and path selection. By the end we both had sore legs and smiles of satisfaction for we had given it our best.

Keen to give Rogaining a try? Learn more and find the next event in your area:

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

Special thanks must go out to all the volunteers that helped make the event a success. Especially the Course Coordinator – Philip Whitten and his team of course setters, vetters, and the map/note proofer. The team of caters – 1st Waitara Scouts. Safety – Bush Search and Rescue NSW. Finally to the NSW Rogaining Association committee and their President – Trevor Gollan.

Congratulations to the category winners and everyone for getting out there!

Joel Mackay and Gill Fowler 3rd, Ondrej Pavlu and Richard Mountstephens 1st, Glenn Horrocks and Keelan Birch 2nd

Points 2740 – Overall & Men – Ondrej Pavlu, Richard Mountstephens

Points 2290 – Mixed – Gill Fowler, Joel Mackay

Points 2160 – Mixed Veterans – Andrew Smith, Antoniya Bachvarova

Points 2130 – Juniors & U23 – Ivan Koudashev, Elena Koudasheva

Points 1990 – Men Veteran – Geoff Barnes, Phil Mann

Points 1960 – Family – Hugh Stodart, Jamie Stodart, Sam Stodart

Points 1930 – Men Super Veteran – Jonathan Miller, Stephen Goggs

Points 1710 – Men Ultra Veteran – Warwick Selby, Gordon Wilson

Points 1630 – Novice – Michael Oliver, Chris Oliver

Points 1590 – Mixed Super Veteran – Laurie Nash, Kris Nash

Points 1560 – Women – Shanti Osborne, Wendy Emerton

Points 1130 – Mixed Ultra Veteran – Colleen Mock, Colin Mock

Points 1110 – Women Veteran & Super Veteran – Susan Kurrle, Robyn Tuft

Points 1020 – Women Ultra Veteran – Pat Miethke, Parissa Poulis

For all results and an event gallery head here.

About The Author

Chris took his childhood passion for the outdoors to a job in outdoor education. Which saw him work all over Australia, Solomon Islands, Indonesia and USA. After 4 years he moved to the more comfortable work of outdoor retail. His travels has taken him trekking, cycling or simply exploring many countries including Vietnam, Thailand, NZ, Fiji, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Peru and Bolivia. His outdoor passions are strongest in bushwalking, trekking and mountain biking. His currently Paddy Pallin’s Operations and Marketing Manager.

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