Torrential rain and unpredictable weather forced the Inward Bound (IB) Race Directors to cancel the race nearly 24 hours before the intended date of the 7th of October. This cancellation is not the first time for the highly anticipated race, and the new date has frustrated some students.
Historically, IB is the biggest interhall competition held once a year in the beginning of October. If you have not yet had an IB runner explain it to you, it is a competition where teams of runners start at an unknown location and using their intuition, a map, and compass, race to another unknown location, called End Point. These locations are often outside of the ACT and far into the countryside, with obstacles including mountains, rivers, lakes and scrubland.
Each hall submits one team per division based on their athletic ability, previous participation in the sport, and team dynamics. Each team has two navigators and two scouts, and there are 7 divisions overall. A volunteer committee helps run the event and spectators can participate by attending End Point to cheer on the runners.
2020 was the first year in recent memory that the ANU cancelled IB due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some halls and colleges attempted to keep the spirit of IB alive in smaller versions such as Burton and Garran’s Redback Bound (RB).
In 2021, students were optimistic IB would go ahead after COVID-19 settled down, however, the major lockdown in mid-August forced the IB Committee to announce yet another cancellation. It was thought that with the easing of lockdown and restrictions more generally this year that IB would go ahead albeit with some restrictions.
However, on the 6th of October, the day before the race, participating students received a letter from the Race Directors, stating that “due to the current and upcoming severe and unpredictable weather events occurring,” the “2022 Inward Bound event is not able to go ahead as planned”. The Race Directors emphasised that they “refuse[d] to jeopardise the safety of Inward Bound’s participants”.
After days of speculation, the organisers announced the new date will be the 29th and 30th of October. Runners and spectators have raised concerns of clashes with the new date, such as Griffin Hall Valedictory being the night before IB and the race occuring the weekend just before exam period. Enthusiasm has dampened as students feel the pressure of assessments.
In another updated letter to the IB community, the Race Directors warned that “there remains the possibility that the forecast turns for the worse for these dates”. And yet, the latest message from the Race Directors was a simple “We. Are. On.” released on the official Facebook page.
In an attempt to persuade busy students to still attend the race, students can “hotspot to their personal devices and study for exams or complete assignments” where there will be a “dedicated study area” at the event. According to the Race Directors, End Point will have reception available.
Organisers recommended that students take the dedicated IB spectator buses to the event, however the bus departs the ANU at 6am on Sunday morning. The bus will not leave End Point until at least the majority of teams have returned, creating uncertainty around when the event finishes.
More information for participants is available on the Inward Bound Facebook page, including sign up forms if you would like to attend this weekend. Any further updates will be sent via this page. Stay turned to Woroni for IB updates, including coverage of the event itself.
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