A sport for the old?

Tom Fisher (18)

Lots of people argue that endurance racing in general and more specifically adventure racing are sports for older people.  Experienced people.  Patient people who know a little thing or two about suffering just by proxy of having lived on this planet a while.  People who have been around long enough to get over the foolish notions of youth, accept their limitations, and develop their strengths.  In fact, if you go to any adventure race, this argument will often be supported by the results.... teams comprised of 40 somethings routinely trounce super fit college kids.  But i'm not sure i agree with the reasoning - after all the number of teams of 'mature' individuals is so much higher...experience may help get you to the finish line, but a healthy chunk of change is often required to get you to the start - something most 18-25 year olds simply don't have.

Jaclyn Sand (18)

Logan Smestead (23)

I believe that adventure racing has great potential in offering a transformative experience for 'younger than average' racers, that they can be competitive if nurtured a bit, and that exposure to the sport can translate into a life-long love of adventure based health and wellness.  This is one of the reasons ENDracing is working so hard to introduce more youth from our region to it, and hopes to form a youth team, team END-FAST, in 2012.  Already we've been exploring the idea in 2011 and in fact there was an END-FAST team at our recent 24 hour race up in the Pembina Gorge at the end of August.  The team was comprised of Logan Smestead (age 23), a cross country skier, climber, and runner; Tom Fisher (age 18), a runner and triathlete who is a senior at Central HS in Grand Forks, and Jaclyn Sand (age 18), also a runner.   While both Logan and Tom had tried adventure racing earlier this year at END-SPAR, it was to be Jaclyn's first adventure race (and race over 2 hours, period).  In fact, Jaclyn had never even mountain biked...

END-FAST was fourth place in their category, and fifth place overall out of 18 teams and had the youngest combined age of any of the teams by more than 10 years.  Logan was kind enough to write up a race report from their experience that is both hilarious and quite descriptive of what they went through. Enjoy the read.  END-FAST RACE REPORT

ENDracing/Ground UP adventures hopes to be able to financially support END-FAST in 2012 and help send them to races outside of our organization.  We endeavor to build a team so that each year we can bring new, keen young people into the group, allow the experienced youth to mentor them as through a race season or two, and then repeat the process, gradually building a positive youth culture around adventuring and adventure racing in our community and region.  Click HERE For information about the team and how to donate to its cause.



Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/30/2011 - 09:56

I have to agree with you that young people can Adventure Race with the big boys. My son and I just finished the Swamp Donkey up here in Manitoba and we finished 3rd in the Mens category. He's 15 years old!

I highly recommend the sport of Orienteering for aspiring Adventure Racers. We've been doing it for 3 years and the experience is priceless.

ENDracing's picture
Submitted by ENDracing (not verified) on Sun, 10/02/2011 - 10:08

Right! i remember seeing you guys when you were brought to the stage at swamp donkey! What is your son's name? feel free to check out our non-profit's website, www.groundupadventures.com - one of the things we're doing is putting together a youth AR team for 2012 - if he's interested, it sounds like your son might be an asset to the team. Cheers, and thanks for the comment!

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