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What is rogaining?

Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation. The championship rogaine is of 24 hours duration but there are several shorter variants. Teamwork, endurance, competition and an appreciation of the natural environment are features of the sport.

Rogaining involves both route planning and navigation between checkpoints using a variety of map types. Rogaines are generally day and night events in which teams of two to five members travel entirely on foot, navigating by map and compass. Teams select their own order of visiting checkpoints in terrain that varies from open countryside to hilly forest.

A central base camp provides hot meals and teams may return at any time to eat, rest or enjoy the fellowship. Teams travel at their own pace, and anyone from children to grandparents can experience the personal satisfaction that comes from cross-country navigation at individual levels of competition and comfort.

A brief history of rogaining 

The first rogaine was run in Australia in 1976 and followed related events that had been held over the previous thirty years. The Victorian Rogaining Association was formed in April, 1976, and remains the world’s largest rogaining association. Rogaining rapidly became established throughout Australia. Annual championship rogaines were held in most states and many smaller events were organized. In 1986, the first rogaine outside Australia was held in Canada and several hundred overseas events have since been held. Rogaining has now spread too many countries including the USA, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Sweden, Ireland and Russia.

The International Rogaining Federation was formed in 1989 and is recognised as the peak international body for the sport, having responsibility for Standards and Rules, the World Rogaining Championships and fostering the sport internationally.


As the sport’s premier event, the World Rogaining Championship has significant drawing power for international entrants, sponsorship, and elite competition.

World Championships are for the benefit of everyone in the sport, for elite and non-elite competitors, for organisers, for administrators, and for the public: they also provide a meeting focus for rogainers. The IRF has a policy of awarding the World Championships to associations and groups rather than running the Championships themselves. However, the World Rogaining Championships remains the championships of the International Rogaining Federation.

The Championships should not be held on a more regular basis than annually. Award of the WRC should be restricted to groups with a track record of organising major rogaines, who actively want to stage the WRC and can nominate a suitably experienced co-ordinator: if these criteria cannot be met for any particular year, the WRC should not be awarded. The IRF does not expect extra facilities or activities beyond those normal to championship rogaines run by the particular host association.

However, this does not exclude any WRC organisers from going “a little further”. The policy is to bring the staging of the WRC within the grasp of all groups who can demonstrate a history of running a series of successful rogaines and who want to stage the WRC. The focus of a World Rogaining Championship is on:

  1. a. enjoyable terrain (typical of local events),
  2. b. an accurately set course, that is fair and challenging,
  3. c. friendly atmosphere of the Hash House,
  4. d. professional organisation,
  5. e. a wide cross section of participants,
  6. f. elite and other levels of competition.

The first four criteria should be met in any rogaining championship, and be established features of rogaines run previously by a group before the WRC are awarded. Significant departure from normal rogaines is not advocated for a World Rogaining Championship. The last two criteria (e and f) can be achieved by careful planning of the event date and location taking into account overseas participants and possible back-to-back activities at the time of the World Rogaining Championships. These activities need not be part of the WRC programme, and may be better organised by separate parties, even outside rogaining. The extra publicity to attract overseas and/or elite participants to a WRC should utilise IRF expertise and should target particular interest groups and countries.

Organisers are expected to provide a profile to describe rogaining in their area, and may include a model rogaine prior to the championship. The WRC will be run according to the IRF Code and Rules, and departure from these will require specific IRF sanction.