The Northern Territory Rogaining Association presents

Metrogaine at Darwin's Northern Suburbs

'The Leanyer Meander'

6-hr Metrogaine at
Darwin's Northern Suburbs

Saturday 24 February 2001, 3:00pm - 9:00pm

Entry Form

Setters Report

Winners Report
Course Setter
        Tony Galliford
        Peter Slade

What's it about ?
Teams of two to five people navigate on foot through Darwin's northern suburbs to as many control points as possible, and return in less than six hours. Teams will answer a multiple-choice question based on things at the control point to gain points - the team with the most points wins!
Where ?
The hash house (administration and start/finish area) will be located at Leanyer Recreation Reserve, Vanderlin Drive, Leanyer. Maps of the area, showing the control locations, will be issued to competitors on the day of the event.
When ?
The event will be conducted from 3:00 to 9:00pm on Saturday February 24th. Maps will be available to competitors for route planning from 2:00pm.
What do I need ?
A recommended list of items is: comfortable walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, rain jacket, watch, water bottle(s), waterproof pen or texta (to record answers, and for route planning), plastic bags (e.g. zip lock), "contact" plastic covering, food (if you want something to eat during the event), money (if you want to visit shops on the way for food or drink), insect repellant, torch, swimming costume. For map preparation, items such as highlighters and coloured pens may be useful.
How do I enter ?
Just fill in the entry form and send it in with the appropriate payment.
What's included ?
For the entry fee you will receive a pre-printed map of Darwin's northern suburbs, showing the control locations. The organisers have expended substantial effort to ensure that the event is of a high standard. A barbeque, with vegetarian options, will be provided after the event, and is included in the event cost.
For more information, email the couse setter, Tony Galliford, or phone 8985 3614.

Leanyer Meander Course Setter/Organiser's Report

Picture the scene: Two blokes sitting in the shade on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon in Darwin. They're glancing through the NT News, but don't seem to be taking too much of an interest. It's more just to pass the time. Eventually one of them picks up a piece of equipment with strange orange and white markings, and takes it to the middle of the nearby lake.
Who are these people? They're METROGAINE ORGANISERS!!! It all started several months ago when I was brave (or foolish) enough to volunteer to set the course for the NTRA's second metrogaine.
There was a map available, used last year, which showed Darwin city and the suburbs as far as Nightcliff and Rapid Creek, but I thought I'd try something different. Around Darwin, the two other obvious metrogaine areas seemed to be Palmerston, or the northern suburbs of Darwin. I figured Palmerston was too far away for me to set the course (I live in Nightcliff), so the northern suburbs it was.
After demolishing several phone books to get the street directory pages, I had a working map to start planning the course. Using the previous year's event as a guide, I figured about how big the map would need to be and started looking for somewhere about the middle as a suitable hash house location.
Fortunately, Leanyer Recreation Park was in just the right place, and there was a lake which gave me the perfect opportunity to use one of NTRA's most unique assets- the famous floating control. So there it was, the middle of November, and I was driving around northern Darwin looking for interesting or unusual things. Actually, anything that would make a good control location.
In a couple of sessions of three or four hours, I had about forty locations selected. When I looked at my map, it wasn't a bad start but there were several gaps. Large areas of a couple of suburbs with no controls at all. So I went back and filled the gaps. At that stage I was less discerning about the control features and clues; I just wanted something in that street or the next one. This is where most of the "what's the number on the PAWA box" questions came from. Yeah, I know they're not very interesting, but they were in the right place to make the course fit together.

Early in December I went away for a week, and on my return I found to my horror that two of my carefully planned control locations just weren't there any more. I was intending to use a sign at Darwin Aero Club ("What colour is the arrow on the sign?"), but the club had moved, and the sign was gone. In another location I had counted the number of white posts on the side of the road, but returned to find that the posts had been knocked out of the ground. The perils of setting the controls too early!

Late in January, I made contact with the good people at MapsNT. These kind souls put up with several iterations of trying to get the maps just right. And when I thought I was happy, in stepped the course vetter to find all (or at least most) of my mistakes. And there were a few. And another lot of corrections for the folks at MapsNT to apply. Finally, the maps were finalised about a week before the event, and ended up being printed by Maps NT the day before the event happened.
I mentioned the course vetter. Rogaining tradition states that, after organising an event, the course setter and course vetter will not be on speaking terms, having disagreed violently on every aspect of the planned course. I am pleased to say that in this case, although there were a few places where we disagreed initially on the exact placement of a control circle or the wording of a question, that all disputes were settled amicably to our mutual satisfaction. Something must have been seriously wrong.
The entries began to trickle in. By the week before the event, we were confident that we at least had enough entries to make it worth while. And the entries continued to come in, right up until a few minutes before the start of the event. After spending a couple of hours shuffling paper to and from the participants, it was time to give the final pre-start briefing. And then they were off.
I had never realised just how peaceful it can be at the hash-house only five minutes after the start. And this is where the scene in the first paragraph comes in....
Later that evening, the participants returned to a scrumptious feed, and to the organisers furiously tallying results. In a form reversal from the Manton Dam event, most of the NTRA committee entrants finished towards the head of the field, including the overall winners Jon Potter and David Palmer. Now if we could only get some of the other committee members (John and Annie) to fill in their entry forms correctly we might be able to announce their results in the correct category.
Almost finally, I'd like to say that it was really great from an organiser's perspective that so many people enjoyed the event. Or at least they said they enjoyed it, which is good enough for me.
And really finally, a huge thank you to all of the people who contributed their time or services to make this event happen. I've mentioned most of them before, but here they are again:
  • MapsNT (NT Department of Lands, Planning and Environment) for production and duplication of maps used for the event;
  • NT Parks and Wildlife Commission for use of Leanyer Recreation Park as the Hash House area;
  • Annie Whybourne, Jeff Jackson and Susi Bertei, for preparing/cooking the post-event food, and thanks also to Jane Burford for her offer of help;
  • Top End Orienteers, for the loan of their drinks cooler; and
  • Peter Slade- course vetter - I couldn't have done it without him.
Tony Galliford Course Setter, Leanyer Meander Metrogaine

Leanyer Meander Winning Team's Report

Jon Potter's and David Palmer's World Tour of North-Suburban Darwin

(by Jon, with apologies to Billy Connolly)

Half a team's perspective of the 6 hour Metrogaine. For weeks before the start, my thoughts had been not on the challenge of the event, but on the challenge of trying to keep up with David.
We both agreed on which route to take, and at the gun, sprinted off in a southeasterly direction with Paul and Megan, and Chris and Penny, as the carrot. Overshot the street sign and then chose to find the swings at 34 via back streets. Ran into Paul and Megan again coming the other way.
Found a laneway to Vanderlin Drive then through the bush using rough navigation to the Holmes Jungle car park. Which park is not on the map? OK. Down walking track and into the rainforest to find out who SM loves. Almost ran right over it.
Because of the 30-foot fence around Crocodylus Park, we bypass 43 and go straight to the savage dog. Running, jogging and walking in the hot Berrimah sun- what fun!
Passed the Berrimah substation at the trot then into Wastemaster's yard for a cool drink- and comments from two locals- "you two are not well!!" Down this street to shortcut to 52- no- dead end- next one- fence. Long way round past two dogs with teeth outside their faces.
Along Stuart Highway at a good clip. Then a short break in front of HMAS Coonawarra for me to catch my breath. David not showing any signs yet.
Count the delivery sites at Telstra and push on to look for Dogs and Bitches at the showgrounds. Not too much time wasted here, though I'm sure there could have been.
Cut the corner off Amy Johnson to read a rehab sign on the fence and pass a canoodling Aaron Driver and female parked at the end of the runway- should be competing! A taxing run to 4 culverts and then a red and blue water valve before crossing McMillans Road back into suburbia. Still daylight at the park bench while a friendly local fills our water bottles and we search for a laneway to exit this circuit quickly. Found it and jogged to a PAWA box at 50. 6:00pm.
Rest time again. Energy drink, stretch and rub the feet, then use streets, laneways and parks to the next PAWA box in Malak.
Shortest route possible to Northlakes and around the fairways then through a HTF lane to yet another PAWA box. Still daylight. Short time taken to plan second half of course then off again at a canter for 30.
Decide then to straightline to Lakeside Drive, collecting the highest controls on the way. More stretching on Anula Oval before finding a green bench, and then through pleasant surroundings and across Lee Point road to Casuarina Secondary College and Tae Kwon Do.
Getting dark on the way to book the oval and once there, see a whole gaggle of rogainers, including Marg Phelan. Feet are really hurting now and have to slow down more often. Try to work out how to put a leg rope on the hare right in front of me.
Used parks to get to a swing frame where more foot rubs are needed.
More parks, streets and laneways to another swing frame. (We got this wrong- C sounds like D- or something!) Shuffle painfully- me, not him- through Tiwi School en route to the RDH gates. Time for more stretching, drinks and 2 Nurofen tablets to try and loosen up my left foot.
Cut through Tracy village oval to talk about the bar instead of drinking at it. Clock says 8:42- calves and backs of thighs cramping- good fun.
VRD drive gets us to the office hours before a painful not stop jog back to the Hash House. Not over yet though, as we fight with Paul in eye deep water over the mandatory wet control- and still got it wrong. Hash House scoring table at around 8:57pm and then collapse in a heap. David, However, wouldn't even blow out a match.
100 points to the caterers and cooks- great tucker- many post mortems and eventually get the results. Amazed to find that we won- despite dropping 2 controls and 165 points. Was it worth it? Depends on how competitive you are. For me, definitely, and I think for Mr Palmer also.
Congrats to Tony and Peter for a well organised event. Feedback tells me that all concerned had a great day.
Jon Potter