Do you avoid organised events? Too many rules, too many crowds! These epic adventure races may change your mind. See you on the start line!
#1 Rogaining Races
Haven’t heard of ‘rogaining’? Invented by a bunch of Aussies in the sixties, it’s a mixture of cross country navigation and orienteering, where teams have to travel on foot across wilderness terrain, using only a typographic map and compass to hit check points (the World Championships in Alice Springs has 89!) An average race is 24-hours long, although there are shorter 6 or 8 hour events for newbies. A central base camp (the ‘Hash House’) provides competitors with mid-race essentials (burgers, soup…and Milo).
#2 The Hurt Locker
Modelled on the selection process for SAS applicants, the Hurt Locker course, organised by the adventure company Unleashed-Unlimited, is run by Special Forces Operators. Translation: it’s not for the faint-hearted. As the website says, “You can expect to be cold, wet, hungry and both physically and mentally exhausted.” Participants may be expected to trail run, swim, hike, abseil, mountain bike and navigate caves – plus a few nasty surprises. There is a “lighter” version, the Adventure Enduro, which still includes high-intensity activities but is designed for people with moderate fitness.
#3 Paddy Palin Adventure Series
Think of this as a triathlon – with a difference. During these non-stop events (which take between two and six hours) you switch between three disciplines – mountain biking, running or trekking and kayaking. The Classic Course is longer (25km of biking, 10km of running and 4km of kayaking) but there is a Novice Version to ease you into it. The selling point is location, location, location – choose between the Blue Mountains, The Royal National Park and Wild Horse Mountain. Or, why not enter them all!
#4 The Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge
This is a race for people who don’t take themselves too seriously. As the name suggests, the ROC involves mastering a series of ridiculous obstacles modelled on game shows – the ‘Sweeper’, the World’s Largest Water Slide and the infamous Wrecking Ball. Okay, it’s not much of an athletic undertaking (it’s only 5km long) but it will give you an adrenaline boost, and a lot of hilarious photos. Held in seven cities across Australia, enter with a group of friends, dress up in fancy dress and prepare to face-plant.
#5 The GODzone Adventure Race
Add this challenge to your Adventure Race Bucketlist! Held in Queenstown, New Zealand, this punishing course draws adventure-junkies from around the world, with unsupported teams travelling 500km across New Zealand’s wilderness for up to seven days (the winning team usually completes it in three or four). Involving trekking, kayaking, and fixed-rope climbing, it’s not cheap ($8,500 for a team of four of more) but you’ll have bragging rights for life – if you finish.