Just what is Adventure Racing? And how challenging is it?
Heather Hart is an exercise physiologist and running coach. She’s been running the last 15 years, focusing on ultramarthons for the last 5 and jumping into Adventure Racing for the last two. She knows the mind is stronger than the body because she has pushed her body to the breaking point. Right now she’s getting ready for the Long Haul 100.
Adventure Racing is multi sport. It might include trekking (running), mountain biking, paddling a kayak or canoe or even horseback riding or rock climbing. The course is NOT marked. You have to find your way and GPS is not allowed. Teams must find checkpoints. Sometimes the mode of travel is set and sometimes you can determine what makes the most sense.
There is a time limit. You have to get to as many checkpoints as you can in the time limit. Strategy is key. Some checkpoints are worth more than others and there is a penalty for checkpoints not reached.
The challenge of Adventure Racing is facing the unknown. You know where to start, and what equipment you need, but you don’t see a map of the course until the night before or morning of the race. You have to plot the course using a map and compass. No pedometers. You have to count paces to judge distance. To naviate, you learn to plot your course and sometimes find the locations to plot on the map using coordinates provided by the race director.