As has been previously mentioned, the Rules state that they "have been drafted with simplicity and enjoyment as primary guides". However, the very first rule of Rogaining contradicts this statement, and actually makes the rules more complicated than necessary!
Rule #1 - A team shall consist of two, three, four or five members
If Rogaining was a solo sport, how many rules could we get rid of? Here's the list ...
- Rule #1 - A team shall consist of two, three, four or five members
- Rule #2 - A team that has a member under fourteen years of age shall also have a member eighteen years of age or over)
- Rule #10 - Members of a team shall remain within unaided verbal contact of one another at all times
- Rule #16 - All team members shall approach to within 5 metres of each checkpoint
- Rule #18 - Where more than one electronic recording device is provided to a team, all devices must record a visit to a checkpoint to gain points for that checkpoint
- Rule #24 - The team finish time is the latest time recorded for any member of the team
- Rule #25 - If a competitor wishes to withdraw from a team for any reason the entire team shall return to an administration area and notify the organisers
The sport of Rogaining currently has 33 rules. If the sport was a solo sport rather than a team sport, 7 of those 33 rules could be eliminated, a reduction of over 21%. The rules would be so much more simple!
However, this website does not advocate banning teams from Rogaining - we just want to see Rule #1 changed to "a team shall consist of one, two, three, four or five members".
In addition, if "enjoyment" is one of the primary guides to the Rules of Rogaining, and if some people would have much greater enjoyment competing solo rather than being forced into a team, then if the "primary guides" are followed, Solo Rogaining should be allowed.
Paragraph 7 of the Preamble in the Rules of Rogaining specifically mentions Rule #1 (A team shall consist of two, three, four or five members) as being "fundamental to the continued survival of the sport". This infers that Solo Rogaining threatens the survival of the sport, but there is no explanation as to why the rule-makers believe this.
In fact, Solo Rogaining is never specifically mentioned in the rules. Perhaps the rule-makers have never considered that some rogainers would like to compete solo?
With both the Australian and International peak bodies ignoring their own primary guides and insisting on Rogaining being a team sport, it seems that the rules are not really concerned with simplicity and enjoyment, but are more concerned with some other factor.
Given that the Preamble to the Rules says "Many of the competition rules relate to safety", and that the very first sentence in the Rules says "Rogaining is an amateur sport to be enjoyed by social and competitive participants", it would be reasonable to assume that because Solo Rogaining is banned for reasons other than the "primary guides" of simplicity and enjoyment, Solo Rogaining must be banned for safety reasons or social reasons.
For a discussion of the social aspects of rogaining, read on, but to find out about safety, click here - Safety.
The very first sentence in the Rules of Rogaining - prior to the Preamble and prior to the Rules - states that "Rogaining is an amateur sport to be enjoyed by social and competitive participants". So is Rogaining a social sport? Let's examine a 24 hour event ...
Socializing at a 24 hour rogaine?
Roll up at 9am. Grab your map. Spend the next couple of hours planning your route and marking your map. Gather at the start. Nod to acquaintances. The siren goes and everybody hares off to line up at the first couple of controls. The field thins out. For much of the next 24 hours you hardly see anybody.
At the end of the event you roll up to the finish totally wasted. You grab some food and try to get some energy back. The presentations are made. Your driver loads you into a car where you promptly sleep all the way home, or you crash in your tent until sufficiently rested to drive yourself home.
Obviously, not everybody does it this way, but for some people (most people?) this is the norm. A 24 hour rogaine is hardly a social event, as illustrated in the next paragraph.
Abercrombie Silent Retreat Final Report
In the excellent report produced by the NSWRA after the NSW Championships at Abercrombie in 2018, a question was asked about suggestions to improve the event? One of the teams - Jim Collier and Carly Finn - answered the question by saying "Rogaining isn't the most social of sports, as the competitors come together on the day, don't interact before or during the event, and leave after prize giving. We've done most of the rogaines in the last four years, yet we know few of the other participants."
I am sure that many other rogainers feel the same as Jim and Carly!
Solo rogainers have to be more social - they would have no choice!
Rogaining teams tend to talk amongst themselves, but solo competitors don't have that luxury. It could be argued that Rogaining would be a more social sport if Solo Rogaining was allowed in all events, because the solo competitors would have no team-mates to talk to and would have to socialize with other people whether they liked it or not!
If you are not a very social person - don't come to our rogaines!
As mentioned above, the Rules say that Rogaining is a sport to be enjoyed by social participants. It does not actually say that Rogaining is a social sport - it only says that social people compete in the sport.
The Rules actually imply that if you are not a social person, you should not be allowed to compete in rogaines! How would we decide who is social or not? How would we enforce that rule?
Anyway, despite these arguments, the NSWRA committee decided that Rogaining is indeed a social sport, it would always be a team sport (except for the Minigaine) and in late 2018 informed its members of its decision to ban Solo Rogaining in longer events for evermore ...