We both love adventure racing and are often asked, “what is adventure racing?” So we have tried to give you an idea what adventure racing is right here:
Adventure racing is one of the only sports in which you actually have to have your team mates with you, doing exactly what you’re doing, glued to your side at all times.
Adventure races typically include the following 3 disciplines:
- mountain biking
- trekking / cross country hiking / running
Apart form that they often include other disciplines as diverse as climbing, rollerblading, abseiling, sailing, snorkeling, ride-and-tie, puzzles, rogaines, etc. Part of the appeal of adventure racing is expecting the unexpected…
The difference between an adventure race and a multisport race is that before you enter a multisport race you know which disciplines are involved and how many km’s each section is, there is usually little or no navigating required. Adventure races however, usually only advertise the main activities and they might give you the total distance you will cover. Navigating skills are more important (very important in some races) and there are usually some unknown challenges involved. Also with longer races it is up to the team when and how long you sleep, adding some strategic decisions to be made on top of the physical and mental challenges. Adventure races usually have a meeting either the night before or the morning of the race. At this meeting the course will be revealed for the first time and / or maps are handed out.
Virtually all adventure races feature mandatory gear that must be carried during part or all of the race and races will often include mandatory gear checks.
Multisport races are a great way to get started with adventure racing and a lot of them allow you to participate as a relay team, making it easier if you are not as fit as you want to be yet. In Western Australia there are a lot of multisport races to get started, for example:
- Collie marathon
- Blackwood marathon
- Donnybrook marathon
- Nanga Challenge
Types of adventure races
There are three types of adventure races:
- sprint – lasting a few hours to eight
- adventure – lasting eight to 48 hours
- expedition – lasting two days or longer
Sprint adventure races are great fun, but unfortunately we don’t really have any in Western Australia (yet). If you are planning to go over east try to coincide your trip with for example an AROC race.
Someone who runs or hikes two or three times a week (with a pack), bikes once or twice each week and gets in some paddling should be able to finish these races!
Adventure races include races like Red Yeti, Hells Bells, RAID and Geoquest. Australia has quite a lot of races, but they require dedication and quite a bit of money as you will not only need to pay entry fees, but also plane tickets to get to your race… They are however much more achievable then most people would think! You don’t need to be an elite athlete to participate and have fun in these races!! General skills in the 3 major disciplines, dedication and a bit of money will get you there!! (with dedication needed most – some also call it stubourness, pig-headedness, etc…;-)
Expedition-style races are for the experienced adventure racer. They last multiple days and take place in some of the most amazing mountain or jungle areas in the world. The most famous example is probably Eco-Challenge (no longer held) and XPD in Australia. There are many more races internationally, but as with adventure races you will need to spend a lot of time, effort and money and you need to train nearly full-time!