Adventure Racing: The Ultimate Exercise?
Do you think an Ironman triathlon is the ultimate form of exercise? Think again, it's not even close. Adventure
racing is even more challenging and grueling than one of those triathlon sissy events.
Many claim that adventure racing began with the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon that was conceived and
organized by the skilled mountaineer, Gerry Charnley.
The KIMM was designed as a test of mountaineering and orienteering skills under the most extreme conditions and
is held every year in some part of the United Kingdom.
The precursor to modern day adventure racing was the 1980 Alpine Triathlon, held in New Zealand. In this event
the contestants paddled a kayak, ran and skied to a distant finish line.
The creator, Robin Judkins, later organized a Coast-to-Coast event that involves all the elements of present day
adventure racing: trail-running, cycling and paddling.
The Alaskan Mountain Wilderness Classic debuted in 1982 featuring six days of wilderness racing, with no support
teams, over a 150 mile course. The contestants must carry everything they need and they have to be skilled
Not to be outdone, New Zealander, Gerald Fusil launched his "Raid Gauloises" as a 400 mile
expedition race with mixed gender teams.
The participants had to use their strength and skills to traverse the course over several days, carrying
everything they needed on their backs.
In the United States, Primal Quest is a filmed and televised event that has brought adventure racing to national
Modern day adventure racing consists of a number of types of events:
* Sprints - a two to six hour race that tests agility and cunning (there are games being played,too).
* Twelve Hour - a longer event featuring some navigation and orienteering.
* Twenty Four Hour - an event involving extensive navigation and orienteering, some rope related
traversing and requiring support teams.
* Multi-Day Events - forty-eight hours of advanced navigation and sleep deprivation.
* Expeditions - long events of up to eleven days that involve extensive navigation and orienteering. Also
included are unusual paddling events, horseback riding and extensive mountaineering.
* Most of the events feature trail-running, biking and paddling. Added disciplines are horseback riding, beasts
of burden (camels), hang-gliding, mountaineering (climbing, rappelling, traversing) and swimming.
The rules are very basic: No motorized travel, no global positioning systems (GPS) and no outside assistance.
Also, the teams must carry all of their own gear.
Some of the events have specific rules involving rescue and lifesaving skills.
In some longer adventure racing events, there are transition points where the competitors may replenish
supplies. There also may be check points where the team has to check through together or be penalized.
If you are the sort of person who liked Marine Corps boot camp, or volunteered for the Special Forces training,
or completed Navy Seals School or were a Commando and longed for more action, then adventure racing is probably for
For the hardy participants in these events, an Ironman would be just a warm-up. Adventure racing is certainly a
way to test your limits and challenge yourself to the ultimate degree.
It is also a test of teamwork, leadership, navigation and
Although these skills may not be needed by us for our everyday living (unless we are a Commando, Green Beret,
Navy Seal, USMC Force Recon or an international assassin) the accomplishment of completing one of these events is a
Why else do we compete in athletics, lift weights, body-build, run, hunt
and fish or keep up activities not needed to survive in the business world, if not to test ourselves. Adventure
racing is the ultimate test.
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