Standard Rules and Regulations

This document puts the standard rules and regulations of adventure racing in writing. These have been added to and adapted from Zirk Botha’s original adventure racing rules, which were originally created in 1999.

  1. Team Format
  2. Team Skills & Certifications
  3. Equipment
    1. Compulsory Competitor Equipment
    2. Compulsory Team Equipment
    3. Compulsory Equipment Defined
    4. Restricted Equipment
    5. Support Crew Equipment
  4. Event Rules and Regulations
    1. Team
    2. Support Crew
    3. General Rules
    4. Medical Assistance
    5. Complaints & Appeals
    6. Disqualification/Time Penalties
    7. Spirit of the Event
    8. Event Specific Rules
  5. Eco Awareness
  6. Prizes/Awards


1. Team Format
Teams must consist of 4 members, with at least one member being of the opposite sex to qualify for any prizes and points allocation – unless otherwise indicated in the Event Specific Rules.

In addition, each team must have support members, unless otherwise indicated in the Event Specific Rules. The support members’ function will be to provide support to the team at designated transition areas and to transport the teams’ equipment during, and on completion of the event.

2. Team Skills & Certifications
At least one member of the team must be capable of navigating by compass and map during the day and night.

At least one member of the team must hold a minimum qualification of Level One First Aid. A current certificate or certified copy thereof must be presented on request.

Rope certification may be required – will be indicated in the Event Specific Rules.

All team members must be suitably competent in all discipline included in the event as specified by the race organiser and be able to complete the event without any assistance from any person other than own team members.

3.     Equipment

3.1 Compulsory Competitor Equipment
The equipment rules are not enforced to inconvenience competitors.

Competitors must each be equipped with the following minimum equipment:

  • Mountain bike and ANSI approved cycling helmet
  • Backpack/rucksack (min 20-litre). No hip-packs will be allowed as a substitute
  • Torch, spare batteries
  • Knife
  • 2-litre hydration system
  • Cold and wet weather gear

Paddling helmet and Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s) and any additional compulsory equipment will be indicated in the Event Specific Rules.

3.2 Compulsory Team Equipment
Each team must be equipped with the following minimum equipment:

  • 1x Compass
  • 1x First aid kit (racing)
  • 10 m continuous safety rope (diameter >7mm)
  • A shelter – will be indicated in the Event Specific Rules
  • Sleeping bag and/or Bivvy Bags – will be specified in the Event Specific Rules
  • 4 x Safety/Space blankets
  • 1 x emergency flare/light – will be specified in the Event Specific Rules
  • Sufficient food and water for 24hours
  • 4 x Whistles
  • 2 x carabiners

Watercraft and additional team equipment will be specified in the Event Specific Rules.

3.3 Compulsory Equipment Defined 

  • Backpack – any form of backpack capable of containing the equipment and provisions required by the team. Minimum capacity of 20-liters
  • Sleeping Bag/Bivvy Bag – a bag, capable of containing a human body, designed to keep the body warm whilst sleeping during the normal practice of outdoor activities. The organisers will take into consideration the modern developments in sleeping bag technology as well as the trends followed in adventure racing.
  • First Aid Kit – the ‘race’ first aid kit should contain the necessary equipment to cope with injuries while far from assistance e.g. gauze, muscle-rub (arnica oil, Voltaren/Reparil Gel), anti-inflammatory tablets, painkillers, headache tablets, antiseptic solution (Dettol/Savlon), triangular bandage, plasters, rehydration powder (Rehidrate), strapping tape, latex gloves, roller bandage, 5ml syringe and needles (for draining blisters), scissors/knife and personal medication (asthma pump, anti-histamines).
  • Shelter – a sheet of waterproof material large enough to cover the entire team (4 people). This shelter should have guy ropes on each corner and 4 tent pegs. Walking sticks may be used as ‘tent poles’.
  • Tent – complete with guy ropes, tent pegs, tent-poles and flysheet, capable of housing the entire team.

3.4 Restricted Equipment

  • Any firearm or weapon
  • Satellite navigation equipment i.e. GPS – unless indicated in the Event Specific Rules
  • GPS wristwatches i.e. Timex Ironman, Garmin 405 and the Suunto X9

3.5 Support Crew Equipment

  • A vehicle capable of transporting the teams food and equipment. 4×4 vehicles may be necessary. Will be specified in the Event Specific Rules.
  • Appropriate recovery ropes, spare wheel (also for trailer) and tools required to change the wheel. In keeping with off-road etiquette the vehicle that is being recovered should supply the recovery equipment.
  • Appropriate camping equipment e.g. shelter/tent, ground sheets, gas cookers etc
  • Sufficient water containers capable of carrying 75l.
  • Comprehensive first aid kit
  • A spade

Support members must be prepared to camp en-route without any facilities whatsoever.

4.  Event Rules & Regulations

4.1   Team

  • The event must be started and completed by the entire team.
  • All members of the team must be within visual and hearing distance of all other members of their team at all times i.e. spread over no more than 100m.
  • No substitutions will be allowed.
  • The team is to complete the entire event without any assistance, excepting in official transition areas.
  • Teams receiving any form of assistance, including medical assistance, whilst not in a transition area, will be penalised.
  • Teams are required to pass through all transitions, orienteering points and checkpoints in the order designated by the Organiser.
  • All team members are required to pass through all transitions, orienteering points and checkpoints together. At these check points the team captain is to clearly mark his/her own team passport. The marshal may request the passport for inspection. Failure to mark any transition, orienteering point or checkpoint on the passport will result in disqualification, unless the team returns to the missed transition/orienteering point/checkpoint and the team in full compliment, re-does the route from the missed point on
  • Where teams are required to comply with time restrictions during an event, this will be for safety or logistical considerations. Failure to meet a designated cut-off will require the team to lay-up (camp) overnight; will result in them being removed from the event; or being re-routed on a shortened course, as stipulated by the Organisers. The elapsed time in the case of a safety/logistical cut-off is included in race time, unless otherwise stipulated by the Organisers.
  • While organisers do try to avoid bottlenecks, delays may cause teams to wait their turn to complete a discipline. If the delay time is to be ‘returned’ to the team the marshal will record their time of arrival at the discipline and time of start of the discipline. Clarification on this point should be indicated in the Event Specific Rules.
  • Kit inspection may take place at any point in the race. Teams will have to report to an official for kit inspection on request.

4.2   Support Crew

  • Team support members will be required to transport mountain bikes, watercrafts and all equipment not used for a current leg to transition areas.
  • Team support members may provide assistance in transition areas designated by the organisers. These transitions will be specified in the race information booklet and at the event briefing prior to the start of the race.
  • Team support members may provide moral support in any transition area.
  • Any team support members leaving the transition area for any reason will make their team liable for a time penalty irrespective of reason. The transition area will be demarcated with bunting and restricted areas will be indicated.
  • No second may lay any complaint to the Organisers unless through their team captain, irrespective of his/her ability, experience or skills.
  • No second will converse with any of the Organisational personnel regarding the event or question any decision made by the Organisers except through the team captain.

All team members and support crew are to have read these Standard Rules and Regulations as well as the Event Specific Rules. Any other supporting members accompanying the team are also to be made aware of the Rules and Regulations.

Team and support members will be required to sign indemnity forms at the event registration. No team may compete should they not have signed the indemnity form.

4.3  General Rules

  • Any team and/or individual who tests positive for illegal substances will be barred from all events for a minimum period of two (2) years. (See for illegal substance details.)
  • Any individual, male or female, will be barred from all events for life if found to have used physical violence during the course of the event.
  • Abusive language will not be tolerated. Persons wishing to express outrage will do so in a controlled manner through their team captain only. Any person using abusive language undermines the integrity of the sponsors and Organisers and have own their integrity at stake.
  • Teams crossing the finish will be given a “line finish position”. This is pending the outcome of illegal substance test results, complaints and/or any further information coming to the Organisers’ knowledge.
  • The first team to complete the event, having complied with all rules and regulations and time penalties taken into consideration, will be considered the winning team.
  • Any abuse of or disregard for instructions given by race marshals by any team member, including the seconding team will result in immediate disqualification and a disciplinarily hearing at the end of the race. The disciplinarily hearing may result in additional penalties.

4.4  Medical Assistance

  • Medical crews will be available for non-emergency medical treatment and consultation within transition areas when available. Any team receiving any form of medical treatment outside a transition area or a medical support area as specified in the race instructions will be disqualified.
  • Medical treatment will be provided to race seconds and staff regardless of their location and at no risk of disqualification to any teams concerned.
  • Medical treatment within transition areas is limited to basic first aid and advice. Should a racer require advanced life support, active fluid replacement therapy (IV), the administration of any oral or intravenous drug, then that racer, subject to the race directors final decision, will be prevented from continuing with the event.
  • The medical crew has the authority, on confirmation with the race director, to withdraw a racer from an event should the racers further participation in the event result in permanent injury, disability or death to the racer or his/her teammates.
  • Racers are obliged to carry the team’s personal medications in the team first aid kit or on the person concerned. The medical crew will not be on hand to supply personal medication should the team concerned have failed to supply their own.
  • The medical crew will provide immediate, emergency treatment and stabilisation. Should a racer require transport by road or air ambulance, the cost of any transport out of the race environment will be carried by the patient
  • Racers are strongly advised to take appropriate insurance against the costs of emergency evacuations and repatriation.

4.5  Complaints & Appeals

  • All complaints and/or queries are to be directed through the team captain. Only the captain is allowed to direct questions, objections and complaints to the Organisers and/or their Management team and this is to be done in writing.
  • In the event of there being discrepancies in finishing positions resulting from such reports and/or complaints, only line finishing positions will be announced at prize giving and the relevant prizes will be given after a verdict has been reached. The length of this window period will be determined at the event by the Organisers.
  • Positions announced at prize giving are subject to the results of illegal substance tests and any further findings brought to the attention of the Organisers within the window period.
  • No correspondence will be entered into after the window period and/or once official finishing positions have been announced.
  • Any team wishing to appeal or complain any aspect of the event is to do so in writing. Complaints are to be received by the Race Director or his/her co-director within half an hour of the team crossing the finish line. Complaints may only be made with first hand knowledge. No secondhand reports will be accepted or considered. Should an appeal result the complainant must be prepared to give evidence at the Appeal Hearing at a date, time and venue specified by the Organisers. Appeals regarding decisions are to be received in writing by the Race Director or his/her co-director within 24 hours of the team completing the event.
  • The event Organiser, as advised by senior marshals will consider appeals.
  • Any individual or team not adhering to any of the above rules and is found guilty and forbidden from the event, will forfeit their team entry fee.

4.6  Disqualification/Time Penalties

  • Any team transgressing the 100meter, visual and hearing distance rule will be penalised or disqualified.
  • Any team found not to be equipped with the minimum safety equipment, as specified, during a kit inspection will not be allowed to start the event.
  • Any team found not to be equipped with the minimum safety equipment during the race will be disqualified and pulled from the course.
  • Any team found to have transgressed the rules and regulations of the event and/or acting contrary to the spirit of the event will be liable for disqualification.
  • The race director may impose a disqualification or penalty taking into consideration the spirit of the event. He/She will request a statement from the applicable team captain should they wish to explain or justify the team’s actions.
  • Any team and/or individual refusing to undergo testing for illegal substances will be disqualified.

4.7  Spirit of the Event

  • Not cheating with regard to the rules and regulations of this event and the sport.
  • Where one team finds another in need of medical attention – they must stop to assist.
  • Abiding by the rules and regulations of this event and sport.
  • Being eco-friendly, polite and prepared to assist a fellow man in need.
  • Not misleading Organisers and/or marshals with inaccurate/incomplete information.
  • Not removing checkpoint punches, their illuminating devices or signage of any sort.

4.8   Event Specific Rules
This document details Standard Adventure Racing Rules and Regulations. Individual events may have specific equipment requirements and/or rules. The Organiser for each event will specify additions and/or alterations to these Standard Rules and Regulations in their event information.

9. Eco Awareness
Teams and their seconds are to adhere to the following stipulations at all times:

  • All waste is to be carried to the closest transition or checkpoint for disposal.
  • Human waste is to be buried between 20 and 25cm below the soil surface.
  • Picking of flowers, cutting of walking sticks and/or any damage to the natural vegetation (even though they might appear to be dead) is prohibited.
  • The making of fires, whatever the circumstances and no matter how small, are prohibited along the entire route (butane gas stoves will be allowed).
  • No tree, rock etc may be defaced in any manner.
  • Be polite and courteous to local inhabitants. Pass quietly through settlements, especially at night.

The transgression of any of the above will render the entire team liable to prosecution.

10.  Prizes/Awards

  • Prizes and/or points awarded to a team that is subsequently disqualified due to the outcome of illegal substance test results, complaints etc will be forfeited. Organisers may request prizes to be returned.
  • Monetary prizes will be awarded at the prize giving or will be transferred to the account of the team captain/manager within a week following the event.