Heights of Winter Rogaine

Both New Zealand’s current men’s and women’s rogaine (24-hour) champions showed their class at the 18th Heights of Winter Rogaine on Saturday.
Across the tussock moraine and hills of Hakatere Conservation Park, Chris Forne and Greig Hamilton were well clear of all other teams in the 12-hour event, scoring 3210 out of a total of 4140 points on offer. Forne, was not only a member of last year’s world adventure racing championship winning team Seagate, but also in the winning team in this year’s Godzone.
Womens Open winners Lara Prince and Georgia Whitla at Mystery lake, taken by Selena Metherell.

In the women’s 12-hour race, Lara Prince and Georgia Whitla produced an outstanding performance to place 2nd overall, scoring 2700. That the two top teams were so far off ‘clearing the course’ was a feature of this year’s event, as planner Alister Metherell set the course across 100 sq km of high country terrain. Greig Hamilton from the winning team remarked: ‘'I really liked that it wasn't possible to get all or almost all of the controls and we actually had to work out what areas we weren't going to be able to get.
Both these winning teams are now targeting the World Rogaining Championships to be held near Alice Springs in Australia on 23-24 July.
The top team in the mixed open category (and 9th overall) with 2040 points were Jenni Blyleven and Peter Montgomery.
Credit - Mike Chappell and the New Zealand Rogaine Association
In the 6-hour event the men’s section was won by a veteran (over 40) team while the women’s race was won by a junior team. The men’s winning team, the Christchurch trio of Al Cory-Wright, Matt Scott and former Danish orienteering representative Carsten Joergensen, scored 1640 points. Thus they scored at the same rate per minute as the winning 12-hour team, but of course were only out for half the time and didn’t have to include as much climb into their route. The winning women’s team was the Cashmere High School pairing of Marisol Hunter and Briana Steven, who recently placed 2nd in their grade in the NZ Secondary Schools Rogaine Championships.
The high country setting, with the start/finish at Lake Clearwater, was unique in the history of the Heights of Winter, first held in 1998. The altitude ranged from around 600 metres to 1400 metres, and with near perfect weather throughout the day, the venue received a big thumbs up from the 370 competitors.
This year’s event was organised by Peninsula and Plains Orienteers with some equipment provided by the NZ Rogaining Association. It was only made possible by the support of the landowners/managers, namely Department of Conservation, Mt Possession Station and the Ashburton District Council. Prizes were subsidised by Station Farm Shop Ltd of Staveley and the catering was provided by the Mayfield Play Centre (6-hour) and Mayfield School (12-hour).
Full results will appear on the PAPO website (www.papo.org.nz)