What Is Adventure Racing?

Adventure Racing is an outdoor endurance sport where teams of up to four individuals race to a series of checkpoints while navigating with a map and compass. While there is no standard format, races typically involve the four core disciplines of:

* Orienteering

* Mountain Biking
* Kayaking
* Trekking (Trail Running/Hiking)

Other disciplines that may be found in an adventure race include:

* Ropes (Rapelling/Ascending/Tyrolean Traverse)
* In-Line Skating or Scooters
* Swimming
* Horseback Riding
* Special Team or Mystery Events

Races usually fall under one of the following four categories :

2-4- hour- sprint race:  These races usually consist of 2-5 miles trekking, 5-10 miles biking, and 1-2 miles kayak, and special team events. These races are usually on marked courses so little or no navigation skills are required.  They are a good introduction to the sport.

6-12- hour- race:  These races usually consist of 5-15 miles trekking, 10-20 miles biking, and 5-10 miles kayak

24- hour- race: These races usually consist of 20-30 miles trekking, 40-60 miles biking, and 10-15 miles kayak

Expedition length: These races can be anywhere from 3-10 day races, covering 200-500 miles

The actual race course is usually revealed no more than a day before race, and sometimes not until the race commences.  Teams are typically given topographic maps, checkpoint coordinates, and the order of race disciplines. Teams are then required to accurately plot checkpoints and strategize about route selection.  In order to successfully complete the race, teams must travel to each checkpoint, navigating from one checkpoint to the next.

The keys to finishing an adventure race is teamwork and navigation, it is not all speed and endurance.  Picking the shortest or easiest route and avoiding navigation errors can shave hours off your time .  Small mistakes can easily add many miles to the race (it happens to even the best of teams).  Unlike individual sports, your team must race together, usually no more than 100 yards apart, and finish together.  Therefore, you are only as fast as your slowest teammate so individual performance will effect the whole team.  Working together and keeping up morale are essential to finishing a race.

Many people start adventure racing after competing in one or more of the core disciplines and find that adventure racing spurs them to learn new things that they might not have tried otherwise. Others begin adventure racing even though they have never been competitive at anything before.  Some people find they enjoy supporting events in addition to, or rather than, competing–and really if it wasn’t for them, adventure racing wouldn’t happen at all. It doesn’t matter who you are, you just might become inspired!