Rogaining is a type or orienteering sport where the emphasis is on long-distance cross-country navigation. Normally undertaken by teams of two to five people, the required skills involve good route planning and navigation between the check points. In addition, a good understanding of maps is also essential as various type are in use during competitions. The sport demands for participants to have high levels of fitness and endurance, including a good appreciation of the environment. During main competitions, like a Continental or World Championship, rogaines are 24 hours long. For smaller competitions, it can be as short as two hours. The International Rogaining Federation (IRF) is the highest authority and international governing body for the sport of Rogaining. The federation was first established in June 1989 by a planning group of Australian, Canadian, and United States rogainers. The important role for IRF is establishing the international rules and maintaining the standards of competitions across all levels. This includes the World Rogaining Championships. The federation also works continuously towards promoting and developing the sport internationally. At the forefront of the growth the sport is experiencing, is also the global awareness of environmental preservation and the responsibility each member nation and participant have in contributing to that vision. IRF is based in the state of Victoria, Australia.
The Melbourne University Mountaineering Club was instrumental in organising many events that had some of the features of rogaining as early as the 1940s. These events eventually led to the birth of the sport nearly thirty years later in 1976 in Melbourne. Rules were established, the sport was named, and the world’s first rogaining association was formed. It was named the Victorian Rogaining Association and for the next decade the sport experienced a rapid growth. The three founders of the sport, Rod Phillips, Gail Davis, and Neil Phillips also contributed to the name. The first two letters of each founder’s name spell Rogaine, hence the word rogaining is derived. It was in 1992 that a major boost occurred via the first World Rogaining Championships. The flagship competition took place every two years after that until 2012. Since then they had been held annually until 2017, reverting to a biannual tournament. There are also variants of the sport. Metrogaine is held in urban areas and usually lasts up to six hours. Cyclogaine features mountain bikes, while Snogaine is a winter sport where participants use skis or snowshoes to reach control points. Paddlogaine covers wetlands and lakes where any human-powered watercraft is used, while Motoorienteering involves motorcycles. As outdoor equipment is becoming more sophisticated encouraging more outdoor activity, the sport will continue to grow to become a truly worldwide sport.