I read a blog from a friend of mine, GearJunkie.com editor Stephen Regenold, about the future of adventure racing. In it he outlines 15 ideas to improve the sport and increase participation (read it here). Although i don't necessarily agree with all of his thoughts, it did get me thinking about what, as a race director, i think is important. I thought i'd share some of my thoughts.
To begin with I'll address the points Stephen brings up in his letter -
|Me vetting the course for the END-AR 2010|
- The name is fine. Maybe a better name exists, but who cares. If you do a good race and like it you'll keep coming back, whatever it's called.
- I'm indifferent on allowing GPS, though because it's a race, consistency is of course important. There's lots of comments on Stephen's post about this - i agree with many of the folks responding that map and compass navigation is a skill that is far more useful in 'real world' adventuring than GPS use, and as such think that an AR director that pushes teams to learn the skill is preparing them for 'real adventure'.
- An absolute must. All ENDracing's courses are thoroughly vetted by myself as race director and also other members of the ENDracing team.
- Yes, simplify the race as much as possible, but keep in mind that the whole concept is fairly arbitrary. If rules and complexity add to the fun for a particular race, then by all means, keep them there, after all, fun is one of the reasons people are racing in the first place (though maybe it's type II or III fun....)
- ENDracing has started including UTM plotting in some of our races because it's an important skill required for many longer races, and we like to think that our races will prepare teams for these events. Otherwise I'd be happy to omit them - and try to design a race course where plotting is only necessary for optional CP's.
- We already do this, but it's out of necessity and to keep race costs as low as we can, not necessarily for any philosophical reason. I do feel that at upper level races, having the same boats for everyone is a nice idea, but then it does drive the cost up substantially.
- I agree. Somehow we managed to offer a spot of whitewater even up here in Grand Forks, ND.
- Our maps are good, I promise. This also has to do with vetting the course - i.e. having a third party run the entire course using the actual maps pre-race and making any necessary changes.
- Agree. Absolutely crucial. Good volunteers will make or break a race. Lack of them will ruin even a spectacular course.
- Racing as a mixed gender team presents unique challenges, and as such i think that the coed category should remain in place. If you didn't have the coed rule, i think that competitive teams would be less inclined to try to find a female to race with and the entire sport would have a different feel. It's cool in AR (my opinion) that the elite teams have that multi-gender dynamic. Team-work is a huge part of AR. The trials and tribulations of AR are a great crucible in which to learn good relationship skills anyway - so think of it as an opportunity, not a requirement!
- Ropes. I agree that i like it when a ropes section has a purpose. In our races in this flat state that's often accomplished simply by putting a CP 40 feet up a tree where a climb is. When possible, though, having the climb or rappel, etc part of the 'flow' of the course is ideal. I don't like ascending though - it goes against my philosophy on the sport. More later.
- Whatever. Just do a race and you'll figure it out.
|We start 'em early here at ENDracing|