If you like the idea of adventure racing but have been put off by its hard core reputation, there are ways you can get a taste of the challenge without taking on the full event.
Adventure racing is not the domain of the revved-up-tough as formula one driver, hardcore adventure racer, and all round fitty Mark Webber will tell you about his own 350km five-day event.
The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge (like most adventure races) involves multi-disciplines such as mountain biking, kayaking and trekking or trail running. It has a reputation of being one of Australia’s toughest, but that shouldn’t deter you says Webber:
The challenge isn’t all about elite athletes; we’ve had people turn up to compete who have never done anything like it before and they’ve amazed themselves by getting through the whole event – for many of them it’s been a life-changing experience and it’s great to see them having a go.
The mantra of the non-elitists in adventure racing is “in it to complete it” and even the seasoned competitors will tell you the adventure is first.
It’s about taking on the unexpected and overcoming unknown challenges. It’s you against the course and it really is the taking part that counts.
The achievement, the elation, the team spirit, camaraderie and friendship all more than make up for the hours of painful grind and any team tantrums are forgotten as soon as the finish line is crossed with arms wearily waving in the air.
One event offering an option for new starters is the Mountain Designs Adventure Race Australia, which has a full “Hardcore” course and the shorter “Raw” course for novice racers.
Kathmandu also encourages novices to have a go in their Adventure Series which is for anyone and everyone game enough to see what the sport of adventure racing is really all about. All you need is a pair of trainers, a mountain bike and a sense of adventure, they say.
Oh… and if the creepy stuff still bothers you, here’s my favourite adventure race tip I picked up from a safety briefing:
The fast teams will take out the spider webs and any snakes will move off the trail once they feel the vibrations of the front-runners.
That’s a good enough reason to hang back in anyone’s hard core book, but with events having something for everyone, it shouldn’t stop you from having a go.
Have you had a go at adventure racing? How did you get on?
For a full off road adventure sports calendar visit AdventureRace.com.au
Still too lame? Oh boy, you must be a real Tough Mudder. New in Australia.