END-AR will be a traditional style Adventure Race - and as such, many of the details are kept purposefully vague until the day of the race. The course is designed to allow novices to finish in under 10 hours (or in the case of the May race [END-SPAR] 4-6 hours). Although no race of this length should be take lightly, adventure racing's unique format tends to cater to a broader range of athletic talent than some types of races, for several reasons.
- First off, as a team event, there will undoubtedly be more periods of rest for everyone - as the team will stop together every time one member needs to (to eat, to pee, to retie their shoes, etc).
- Secondly, because of the orienteering involved, slower and more methodical teams can often do as well or better than careless and quick teams that while super fast, might find themselves overshooting checkpoints or making navigational errors.
- Third - the variety of disciplines allows someone with a good basic fitness but broad range of skills to be as much of an asset (or more so) than someone who might, for example, be a top notch mountain biker but a poor paddler.
- Fourth, and most importantly, is the role that teamwork plays. I've seen teams of super-athletes crumble as bickering ensued for some reason or another. A team that works well together and stays positive throughout can often finish a race than would have been almost impossible for each of the members to do on their own.
This being said, there are a few things that ought to be considered prerequisites for taking on such a race. Competitors need at least basic mountain biking as a significant portion of the biking sections will not be on paved roads. In addition, participants should be comfortable in a canoe (although most - not all - of the paddling will be downstream). Lastly, at least one team member needs to understand the basics of map and compass navigation. Mandatory checkpoints will be pre-plotted by race staff, but all navigation is the responsibility of each team.
All aspects of the course will have been tested and pre-run, and - we promise you - fantastic. Be ready for some serious adventure.
If you’ve never done a race, all I can say is sign up and do one...this one or any other...but get out there and see what you are made of. And when things start to seem too hard, remember your teammates and work together. For that is where the real reward of adventure racing comes - a reward that is notably absent from triathlons, marathons, bike racing, etc. You are not alone! Good teams never forget this!