Can I participate in an adventure race, or are adventure races only for super-fit competitive experts? Or is it really a sport that anyone can do?
The Internet is full of advice on how you can run your first marathon. But if for example running is not your only sport, a good challenge for you would be to tackle a multisport event, like an adventure race.
Adventure races might be famous for being really extreme and hardcore, but do not be put off by that! There are many types of races, longer and shorter. And anyone who enjoys being out in nature, paddling, running, orienteering and mountain biking can complete an adventure race.
This post is for you if you are still thinking and wondering if I really can participate in an adventure race. The post is also a good checklist of what are the basic outdoor skills and fitness level requirements to start adventure racing.
Am I fit and skilled enough to complete an adventure race?
Almost all races have a different kind of courses available. There are hard, competitive and long multiday routes as well as beginner-friendly shorter options. If we think about the beginners, and shorter races, the minimum overall requirements are:
- you can swim,
- you have a team partner(s),
- you have navigation skills (at least one person in a team must be able to navigate with a terrain map and a compass)
What are fitness requirements for an adventure race
The course is given in kilometres (km) in an adventure race. But, do not let the number of km scare you off. The route is divided into different stages and disciplines. So in shorter races, you do not need to cycle or run that many kilometres at one go.
The fact is, that the route is easier physically, the more disciplines changes. For instance, paddling means rest from cycling, and cycling feels like rest from running. Also, different quests during the route, like a rope quest, make a break from endurance disciplines.
In an adventure race, it is not important to count the kilometres. The length of the courses is often presented in the duration of hours. The easiest course in a race can be 1-4 hours, depending on an event. The 4 hours will include a short section of every discipline, eg. running, cycling and paddling. In some events, the easiest route can also be marked on the terrain. However, it is still important that the team can navigate with a terrain map.
Specific sport skills required in an adventure race:
- you can do cycling,
- you can run or at least walk fast,
- you are ready to learn new things.
The thing is not only how fit you are
Can you believe, that the physical stress from for example completing a 4-hour adventure race is less than running a marathon? That is why you always do many different disciplines. And the 4 hours includes time spent doing quests like easy abseiling or climbing.
Regular physical exercise background gives a sufficient level of fitness to complete the easiest course. Fitness can be acquired in different ways. You can, for example, cycling to work or do regular jogging.
Adventure races are about new experiences and surprises along the way. The order or duration of the disciplines is not known before the race. And there might be surprise quests along the course. You just need an open mind and a positive attitude make the course feel a lot more fun.
Being outdoors and in nature is an important part of adventure racing. You can get wet, and no matter what the weather is the team must continue to complete the course. You should not be afraid of wet shoes or getting dirty. Take your time to enjoy the outdoors, the scenery and supportive teammates make adventure racing really enjoyable. Some events also have family routes, where you can try the sport with your whole family.
So..Can I participate in an adventure race?
You can participate in an adventure race if:
- You do not have specific medical problems and you can swim.
- You are used to doing regular exercise.
- You can cycle and run or walk, also some trail biking/running.
- You can navigate, or your team-mate can.