Remember the good ol days of running around the local park and pretending to find “buried treasure” or the anticipation and excitement of the annual Easter egg hunt? Boiling it down, that’s the idea behind the sport of Adventure Racing (also referred to as AR). Participants are tasked with finding as many checkpoints as possible in the shortest amount of time. Whoever collects the most, wins.
The checkpoints mentioned above are generally spread throughout an area that requires participants to run, paddle, bike, trek or any other form of human powered activity. There is no set course, so developing a strategy and efficient way to navigate to those checkpoints is key … and part of the fun of the sport!
In the same way that “running” events include 5Ks, Ultramarathons and beyond, Adventure Races come in all different shapes and sizes. Below is a quick outline of the sport and a few reasons why you might want to give AR a try.
Find what works for you - All AR events are different
- Each AR event features different time limits, formats, and athletic abilities so you can pick an event that is best suited to your skills. Some events are as short as a few hours and can range up to multi-day (even week-long) expedition style events. Some events have a heavier emphasis on water sports, mountaineering or cycling. Some events are aimed at simply getting you outside and exploring a new area in a new way.
Adventure Racing is a team sport!
Team Recover participating in the 2022 South Fork Sampler. Photo: Wesley Maxwell
Getting the team on the same page is critical in Adventure Racing. Photo: Deb Dandro
- Although some events offer solo divisions, the vast majority of AR events are created with teamwork in mind. This is very different from a typical individual endurance sport and can provide a great opportunity for friends and family members to participate in the sport together. As a team, Recover participated in the South Fork Sampler last year and had a blast! Pro Tip: Defining roles for each of the team members before the race is helpful.
Learn a new skill … Using a map and compass
Adventure Racing includes both mental and physical effort. Photo: Wesley Maxwell
- Let’s be honest, we’ve all fallen into the trap of relying on our phones to get us from point A to point B. Not the case with AR as orienteering is a huge part of competition. Participants are given a map and coordinates of the checkpoints at the start of the race. Everyone is tasked with “plotting” the checkpoints on their own map before heading out to find the actual location!
There is no set or pre-defined course.
Creating an efficient route from checkpoint to checkpoint is crucial. Photo: Wesley Maxwell
- Unlike a 5K race where you must follow the course arrows, you get to make up your own route during adventure races. This allows for participants to work as a team and strategize their next move together creating a truly interactive experience. This also allows for a more engaged experience. Instead of just flipping the mind to auto-pilot and following whoever is in front of you, Adventure Races test both the mind and the body throughout.
The perfect excuse to break out your gear!
Run, Bike, Paddle, Hike … Adventure Racing includes it all! Photo: Wesley Maxwell
- Since this type of event includes various sports, that means it’s the perfect opportunity to use that pack, boat, bike, and compass that has been collecting dust in the garage. Pro-Tip: You will get wet, but you don’t want to be wet the whole race. Light, breathable, and quick drying apparel is critical during adventure races. Our line of Sport Elite Sun Hoodies, Longsleeves, Shortsleeves, and Tanks are a perfect piece of gear for AR events.
Change up your typical routing
Multisport and multi-disciplined is the name of the game in Adventure Racing. Photo: Wesley Maxwell
- We all know the feeling of falling into a slump in our workout routines. Adventure Races are a great way to break up the monotony of that routine and add a little spice to our lives! Both the build up to event day and the race itself both provide great opportunities to change up your workout routine … running, biking and paddling all use different muscle groups for a more well balanced training plan.
Gain a greater appreciation for nature
With new perspective, comes new appreciation. Photo: Wesley Maxwell
- Since most Adventure Races are hosted in wilderness areas, state parks, and/or green spaces, these events often showcase our environment in new and exciting perspectives where we can gain a greater appreciation for the world around us. As a longtime 1% For The Planet member, Recover has been committed to supporting our environment since day one.
Recover has partnered with Human Powered Movement for a yearlong series of “Recreation 101” topics to provide adventurers with tools, information, and knowledge to get outside more often and appreciate our natural environment in new ways. If you want to learn more about the sport of adventure racing, check out the “Intro to Adventure Racing?” session Recap Video below and check out Human Powered Movement’s upcoming South Fork Sampler Adventure Race where participants all receive a Recover shirt.
Recap Video = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWKXqlXOldU
Stay up to date on the next session of the Recreation 101 series presented by Recover by clicking below. (link HERE)