Adventure racing is the sport of running, mountain biking , paddling and any other challenges the race directors can dream up. These disciplines can come in any order and there is often multiple legs of the same discipline throughout the adventure race.
Traditionally comprising of a four person mixed gender team, adventure racing now offers mixed, men’s and women’s categories with teams of two to four people; some races even have a solo category.
A Little History
The sport originated in 1989 with the Raid Gaulioses in New Zealand. However, it was brought to prominence in 1995 by Mark Burnett with Eco Challenge which was filmed for television and went through to 2002. Mark then went on to bring us the popular reality television program Survivor.
There were other adventure based events around a lot earlier, like the New Zealand Coast to Coast but with no navigation required its classed as a multisport race.
Adventure racing first came to Australia with Mark Burnetts Eco Challenge Cairns. This was the races only visit to Australia. The first adventure race in Australia as an annual event was GeoQuest, a 48hr adventure race in the Batemans Bay area back in 2002.
Adventure Racing Core
Events only list a general location with the exact start point divulged only days before the race kick off.
Allocation of maps occurs with a little course planning time allowed before the start. Many decisions are made on course due to limited planning time, mother nature and the use of out dated maps.
While Adventure racing has some elements of Rogaining and Orienteering, the maps aren’t as up to date with old tracks being reclaimed by the bush and new tracks appearing from forestry staff and motor bikers: this all adding to the challenge.
Essentially you are taking on the unknown and working as a team to manage any situation that arises. Achieving your goal to finish can become more of a competition against the course than the other teams.
Adventure races vary in length, generally from 3 hours to 10 days. The shorter adventure races usually focus on fun and it being a race. Whereas the longer multi-day format adventure races can quite quickly change into an expedition rather than a race.
All you need to get started to experience adventure racing is a pair of joggers, mountain bike and helmet, compass and a sense of adventure.
You don’t need any special skills! If you can read a road map you should be able to find an adventure race to get you started.
Any first timers and inexperienced adventure racing teams will be able to get some basic instruction from experienced adventure racers before the start of any of our adventure races to help get them through.
Gary Sutherland & Dave Schloss have over 20 years experience competing in adventure races globally. Their passion for adventure racing is now being directed into filling the gaps in the adventure racing calender with courses to deliver all participants with a challenging adventure within their endurance and skill level.