2020 was/is obviously a year of new challenges for everyone. In the AR world, it was a year of race cancellations and postponements. A scarce inconvenience certainly, compared to the effects of the pandemic on many people, but so it is that the most recent entry on this blog was also the Wildlands Adventure Challenge, one year ago.
Using some creative ways to prevent the gathering of people, facemask requirements, no-touch checkpoints and other accommodations to minimize or eliminate the possibility of unintentionally staging a super-spreader event, the good folks at Strong Machine AR were actually able to responsibly get a race on the books in 2020.
Demand for race entry was so great, they ran the same race on back-to-back days (Saturday and Sunday). This can be attributed to the eagerness of any adventure racer in the region to do an actual race in 2020, and may also reflect a new interest in AR stemming from the recent resurrection of the Eco-Challenge TV show. The original Eco in the 90's and 00's was a huge reason many of us started AR in the US. Hopefully the modest success of The World's Toughest Race will have a similar effect on a new generation of racers.
Whether due to Kate and Cliff's already established success in attracting new racers or because of the show, there were a lot of new racers, particularly women out on the course. This was great to see. In addition to running the race twice, they were also running a beginners' 3-hour race concurrent with the usual 8-hour affair, both days. My son, Reed (17), and I would be doing the 8-hour race, while my wife and 10-year old daughter were debuting as the NH Trailettes in the 3-hour race!