A Weekend Of Many First’s – Part 4….A race against the clock and the winner is…The Tastiest Milo ever.


I wanted to be able to say I had finished 12 hours all on my own accord, and by giving her my pack felt like my statement of ‘I Did it!’ would lack credibility. ‘Give it back please, I just can’t let you do it.’ I said.

Bernadette, being a psychologist, later pointed out that it was good and unsurprising that I regrouped myself and carried on. Perhaps sometimes that’s all we need, a short mental break to re-evaluate, whether we realise it or not. I had overturned what I call my ‘inner whinger’ re-evaluated and committed to getting through the event without punking out. So I put my pack back on and it was back to business.

It was a grinding time back on the hills trying to find the next control and it was now that Mark had worked out that our little detour around in the pine forest had taken up some 40 minutes of our much-needed travelling time. This meant we, or more so I had to knuckle down if we were to reach the finish line on time and avoid a major point deduction for being late.

We ran into another team close to our second last control who had told us they were going in a different direction before deliberately detouring and following us to the same control we were going for. This meant we had to be a little bit sneaky heading off towards the next control. This meant no slowing down, and definitely keeping our eyes peeled when we were close to try to be quick in spotting the control and punching our card before the other team caught up and got some cheeky points off our hard work.

We were about 100 metres from the other team, sneaking back towards them in the bushes so very quietly when Bernadette let out a small whistle to signal she’d found the control. Mark was fast at hand to punch the card and we were outta there as fast as lightning, with the other team being none the wiser. I felt awfully stealth and quite awesome having been apart of that maneuver, as it really was like a secret military-like operation.

Last but not least we experienced a small amount of confusion picking up our last control before heading in. Somehow we had thought we had come off the track perhaps to the left of the control but weren’t completely sure, it was with luck and speedy work that we found we were actually on the correct trail and punched the last control and started back. We heard the 10 minutes to go alarm sound and I was so glad that we weren’t far away. Although the last downhill grassy dash reinforced the pain I was feeling in my knees, I was excited with the finish being near. It was a reasonably quick run to the finish that I was glad to be making. We rolled in with a few minutes to spare and even though I was exhausted I was also smiling ear to ear.

I had done it!

No way.. had I really?! Yes and here I am. I couldn’t believe it. Writing about it now I still can’t believe it.

The feeling I had upon completing this Rogaine was indescribable and it made up for any of the trials and tribulations I had faced over the past 12 hours by ten fold.

For me it was the biggest achievement of my life so far. We had covered something between 50-60 kms of bush, animal poo and grassy hills and was the longest journey I had finished to date. I was on a high, and now I could relax and enjoy it along with something to eat.

At the finish line, camping site or hash house as they call it there’s some hot food available for competitors to fill their tummies with after they have finished. Once all the teams are in and accounted for and punch cards collected, the organisers then read out every single teams place, and score. This is great for participants to unwind and compare stories with others and also it means there’s no waiting to find out where your placed in the grand scheme of the event.

Our team set up our chairs, filled our plates and our mugs with a hot drink. I had filled my mug with milo. It’s a rare occasion when I have Milo but I decided that it was my treat to myself after a long hard day on my feet. Now I had heard that the food was fairly average at the hash house, especially if you’re the type of person who likes to eat healthy. However I was surprised by what was on offer. They had beef stroganoff and bacon and eggs and a variety of hot vegetables and stews available. The organisers and volunteers really do a great job in the hash house, and I for one really appreciated everything they had there, mind you I probably would’ve been impressed by anything other than peanut butter sandwiches at that point.

Sipping on my exceptionally good Milo we listened quietly as the organisers read out the results. There were something like a total of 200 times to be read out and it amazed me that everyone seemed to remain and be attentive to each and every result. It occurred to me that the feeling of the event was now a very communal one, and looking around I could see the camaraderie not only between team members but also from team to team. Everyone shared in the feeling of having accomplished something quite unique and were united by sharing their story around the hypothetical ‘campfire’. Before long they were reading out the top ten teams.

Now originally Mark and Bernadette had hypothesized that it would be their aim for the team to hopefully make top ten, and they’d agreed that at it was probably achievable.  Bernadette had made mention she hadn’t achieved a first place finish before, and for me I was only just beginning to get my head around what rogaining was so I hadn’t even thought about top ten and I’d made a conscious effort to not be concerned with it.

However as the eighth, seventh and sixth place were read out, Bernadette and I looked at each other in both disbelief and amazement..in my head I was thinking ‘no way, our names will definitely be next’ and I could see she was thinking the same. Mark turned and congratulated us for making the top ten, the top five in fact. That’s awesome. I couldn’t believe it. Next came the fifth place and it still wasn’t our names… no way.. then the organiser read out, and the first place for the mixed teams, and fourth place overall was Bernadette, Jamie and Mark.

Well… That was just the cherry on top. Bernadette was happy she had navigated us to a first place, Marc was excited for us girls and also knowing he’d helped lead us to a first place, and I had perhaps provided nothing but entertainment value along the way had still been part of a winning team! Stoked!

It’s only now in the aftermath that I now have felt the real benefits of having completed the rogaining event that day.

First of all I now know what I am capable of, which means I can really start pushing longer distances out in my regular running program, which up until the event, had only been as far as 30km.

Secondly, knowing I can trek for 12 hours on my feet, I now feel enthusiastic about trying my hand at a little more of the navigation side of things if I am ever to go rogaining in the future.

Thirdly, I have since raised the interest of a few other acquaintances and friends in giving rogaining ago. And so I am excited at the opportunity of putting a team together for another rogaine in 2013.

Fourth, post event Bernadette sent me an email with the story below:

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“I wanted you to know that I shared your story with some people, including N___S___, a runner in my group – she remembers you from the Bib night run we did.

She was so taken with your story of strength from the event. On Sunday, we were running out at Mt Vincent/Cuthbert area and I was aiming for 50k of hills. Some blokes with us departed at the 30k mark and N___ decided to go for a PB. She’d never run more than a marathon. And that’s on flat! As we neared the finish, she had only 48k on her watch. She refused to stop until she reached 50k, so we carried on down a fire trail for 1k and then turned back. We had been running over 7.5 hrs. N____ turned 50 years old this year.

I wanted you to know how you inspired her to do something amazing.”

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And that is the most rewarding part of my rogaining adventure.

I am so proud and thrilled that my experience has inspired even just one other person to not only be out and about running, but to set and achieve a PB.

Well Done you amazing woman! You are also and inspiration in return and I hope I can be running like you when I’m 50!

This world is full of amazing and wonderful people and experiences which if tackled positively can bring out the most inspiring personal qualities in more ways than you know. I hope that anyone who has endured reading this (long) article can or will let themselves have that opportunity and take from it the happiness that I have had.

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