The second edition of Untamed's semi-urban, all-running, 6-hour winter adventure race in Dover was a fun way to distract oneself from a miserable day of weather. This year's race format was similar to the 2012 edition. There was a short bus ride away from Dover, followed by a pretty linear section through forested areas and then a cluster of CPs in and around the town of Dover. 47 total CPs. This year the race started in southern Rochester on the Gonic trails. The course ran pretty slow because of the surface conditions: 1-6 inches of slush. Add some light rain for most of the day and, even though running, you could expect to be chilly at some point since you were always wet and temps were 35-42F. The vocabulary word and theme for this race was "riparian;" there were a lot of CPs on the Isinglass and Cocheco rivers. Since there was wet snow on the ground, there was an obvious track through the first half of the race, until you got into town. Then you had to come up with a plan to get as many of the urban CPs as possible before the time cutoff. We had a very good first half, running with the leaders for most of it, and had a pretty good but not great second half. Our route choice for that section was a little half-baked, but we ended up with 42/47 CPs which was good for 7th overall and the 4th ranked team. We ran 22 mi total. Since this race is all on foot, it attracts the more adventurous local orienteers, making a nice common ground for the local O and AR communities. Solo orienteers filled 3 of the top 6 spots.
Points of interest included:
- a long snowy log crossing over the Cocheco which seemed to be a major mental obstacle for lots of racers
- running the cloverleaf interchange over the Spaulding Turnpike
- having a big fence ruin an otherwise nice route plan
- being able to wring water from your gloves by making a tight fist at any time
- hidden mud under slush
Race HQ and the finish line was Cara pub - a great place to grab a tasty brew and some grub (we did both). Award prizes were generously supplied by Mad Athlete Mike. Untamed's Grant Killian did most of the heavy lifting in planning the event, assisted on race day by helpful volunteers. Big thanks to all involved!
Results (and link to winner's route choice)
WHAT IS ADVENTURE RACING?
WHAT IS ADVENTURE RACING?
Adventure racing is an endurance sport which involves travel on foot (trekking or running), mountain bike and by water (canoe, kayak, raft, occasionally swimming).
What differentiates AR from other racing sports is the inclusion of wilderness navigation using a map, compass and common sense. There is no set race course; participants must find their own route from one checkpoint to the next. The checkpoints (CPs) are marked on maps which the racers receive shortly prior to or at the start of the race. AR also differs from other sports in that racers are part of a team of 2-4 people who travel together the entire time.
The races can last from several hours to many days and are unsupported, for the most part, which means that the racers carry what they will need (food, water, gear) in backpacks for the duration of the race.
To succeed, racers will need athletic endurance, navigation skills, mental toughness, good pre-race planning, strategic decision making as well as a strong and supportive "team" mentality.
Sound intimidating? While it's true that longer races can test even the toughest outdoor athletes, AR is a very open and inclusive sport. Beginning racers will feel welcome at nearly every event. Most races are organized so that anyone at any level of experience and fitness can participate. You can find a race near you on the calendar at the USARA website.