Sunday, March 20, 2016

What will they think of next?

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 20, 2016


What will they think of next?

Trail races, Ultras, Mud runs, Spartan runs, Hash runs, Fat tire bikes, Cyclo-cross, Adventure racing -  what’s next?

R.O.G.A.I.N.E.   No, nothing to do with hair products – and they invited that on themselves.  They could have named it Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance.   Oh, I see, they did.

This sounds like an offshoot of the Orienteering events that involves finding your way through a wilderness area notching off checkpoints set up ahead of the event.  The checkpoints must be found in a specific order.  These events typically take between one to three hours.

 Dan Brannen of Morris Township, who provided me with information and links to a video and a website, provided me with information on ROGAINE.

Brannen has been Orienteering for several years now after establishing himself as an outstanding Ultra runner.  Brannen is also the man behind the scenes on courses at such races as the Morristown Verizon Corporate Challenge and the Liberty Waterfront Half Marathon.  

In ROGAINE events, checkpoints are scattered all over the map but competitors can get to them in any order.  Usually they all have different point values. So, the ones farthest away from the Start/Finish, or harder to get to, or harder to find, have the highest point values. The ones closest to and more readily accessible from the Start/Finish area have lower point values.

“In trying to get as many points as possible, different teams will use different routes to go to from checkpoint to checkpoint to try to maximize their point scores within the allotted time frame,” Brannen wrote.

“The Start of a ROGAINE meet looks like the “break” at the start of a game of billiards,” said Brannen.  “The Starting horn sounds and everybody runs off in different directions.”

Brannen said that the ROGAINE events tend to be of a much longer time duration than Orienteering. Typical ROGAINE meet time frames are 6 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours.

Brannen competed in the 2009 ROGAINE national that took place in the Mogollon Rim Plateau of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in central Arizona.  This was no pussy cat of an event.  There were 61 different checkpoints scattered randomly over an area of about 70 square miles.  Basically it was an eight mile wide, nine mile long rectangle. Contestants had 24 hours to try to gather as many points as possible, ranging from 20 points to 90 points.

Brannen and his team-mate Murray Resinski formerly of Morristown,  finished fourth masters team despite Brannen fighting off flu-like symptoms during the entire adventure.

This past October Brannen led a small group from the Paramount Multisport Club in an introductory/tutorial ROGAINE session in Jockey Hollow. Runners might have an interest in the sport, and both orienteering and ROGAINing always have some element of trail running, but much more than 50% of any such event is off-trail explained Brannen.

“Almost all of the checkpoints are not on trails,” he said.  “You have to use your map and compass to take one or more trails to a point where you then break off and leave the trail and “bushwhack” through, under, or over whatever is there (rocks, cliffs, dense woods, streams, rivers, ponds, sticker bushes, etc.) until you get to the checkpoint flag.”

If you have an interest in this sport, there will be a six hour ROGAINE at Ringwood State Park on Saturday, April 2nd.  Google “Fool’s Rogaine in Ringwood Park, NJ” to track down information.


Here is a link to a ROGAINE page within the U.S. Orienteering website:

Here is a brief video from a ROGAINE meet:


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