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Strong UC involvement in local rogaining competition

Reprinted from the University of Canterbury's "Chronicle" - 14/05/09

A sport which combines teamwork, endurance and is both a mental and physical challenge is building a strong following at the University of Canterbury, especially within the College of Engineering.

Rogaining is the sport of long-distance cross-country navigation, in which teams of two to five people visit as many checkpoints as they wish in a set time period (from three to 24 hours). While having similarities to orienteering, greater distances and greater times on the course are involved. Participants are free to visit whichever checkpoints they wish, with the checkpoints having different point values assigned to them, making strategy and route selection vital to achieving the best score.

A growing number of UC staff, students and alumni are involved in rogaining, with a concentration of participants hailing from the College of Engineering.

Professor Andy Buchanan and UC PhD student Helen Bones competing in a rogaine near Lake Lyndon.
Professor Andy Buchanan and UC PhD student Helen Bones competing in a rogaine near Lake Lyndon.
Photo supplied by team-mate Professor Phil Bones
Click here to view a larger version

Professor Phil Bones (Electrical and Computer Engineering), a keen rogainer for the past 11 years, said the reason for the popularity of the sport at UC was largely due to the enthusiasm of former academics in his department Peter Squires and Bill Kennedy, who were instrumental in the introduction of the sport here in the Canterbury region. Mr Squires has since designed and manufactured an electronic scoring system specifically for rogaining which is used throughout Australasia.

Professor Bones said his own introduction to the sport came when he entered a TWALK (24-hour walk organised by the Canterbury University Tramping Club based on similar principles to rogaining) in 1998.

"I was in a team with Peter and Bill and from that first experience I got hooked," he said. "While it is a love of tramping, climbing or trail running that attracts most people to the sport, itís also an opportunity to get out and see some country you donít normally see as most of the rogaines are held on private farmer-owned land. The navigation is also tremendous fun and challenging as you only have a map and a compass, no GPS or that sort of thing."

Professor Bones not only competes these days but is also involved at an administration level in the sport and is a member of the organising committee for the 9th World Rogaining Championships to be held in November 2010 in the Cheviot area of North Canterbury.

Fellow committee members include Professor Andy Buchanan (Civil and Natural Resources Engineering), Dr Emma de Lacey (Information and Communication Technology Services), Jac Woudberg (Electrical and Computer Engineering), along with key players Mr Squires and Mr Kennedy.

"Chris Forne, for example, a doctoral graduate in 2008 from Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been the world champion rogainer at least twice. At the most recent world championship event in Estonia in 2008, Chris and his team-mate came second."

Professor Bones said a number of rogaines are being planned in the build-up to the world champs.

"Now is a good time for anyone with an outdoor bent to try the sport out with an aim to consider entering the world event next year as anyone can compete in a world champs," Professor Bones said.

If you want to find out more about rogaining, visit

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