Events are no longer few and far between. On any given weekend there are many adventure races to choose from – and even more events once you include the separate sporting disciplines that are incorporated into adventure races like paddling, running, mountain biking and orienteering.
The first distance event of the year, the ‘UGE Salomon 150/220 in Harrismith at the end of January, was revealing. Post-race a novice team commented how “we’re not quite ready for anything longer than 100 km” and that they thought they should be sticking to sprint races.
Comrades champ Bruce Fordyce and actor David Vlok recently took part in Southern Africa’s most gruelling 200km adventure race, Swazi Xtreme. Lucky for them, neither had to do much in the way of planning and preparation for this event, with the exception of assembling specified items of clothing and equipment.
In reading this, you’ve taken your first leap into the realm of adventure racing and are no doubt asking the following questions… Where do I start? How do I get involved? How do I find a team? First, take a look at the AR calendar. Squizz through the coming events and select an event suitable to your fitness level.
While multi-sport races had been in existence for over 30 years, it was only in the early 80’s that multi-day, multi-discipline competitions evolved. It is no surprise that adventure racing, an infant sport, matured in New Zealand, a country well known for its adventure activities and mountainous, rugged terrain.
You’ve seen it on tv – popularised by the dramatic Eco Challenge shows. You’ve been reading the adventure racing calendar comment and listings in Runner’s World. Procrastinate no longer. Welcome to the realm of adventure racing, a dynamic multi-discipline off-road sport.
Popularised by television coverage of Mark Burnett’s Eco Challenge events, adventure racing is no longer an obscure extreme sport. In a classical sense, adventure racing is a multi-discipline multi-day endurance sport where competitiors compete in teams of four, navigating from checkpoint to checkpoint to cover vast areas in a number of disciplines. Sprint and short course categories now exist, luring those hesitant adventurers out for a morning or day of gloriously dirty, off-road fun.