One of the precursors to obstacle course racing, adventure racing, boomed in the late 1990s and early 2000s when big international events like the Raid Gauloises, Eco Challenge and Primal Quest sent coed teams of athletes on long, mostly unsupported, multi-discipline races through remote places. Those events combined running, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming and rappelling with map-reading and navigation over undetermined courses that might take several hours or even days to finish.
Although still gear-intensive, most adventure races in the U.S. nowadays have a duration of 6 to 24 hours. Here are four great races to consider in 2016, while other events and more information can be found online at Usara.com.
AXS Moab 50-Mile Adventure Race
April 9, Moab, Utah
One of the premier adventure races in the U.S., this event includes 30 miles of mountain biking, 6 miles of singletrack trail running, 8 miles of paddling on the Colorado River and a spectacular 300-foot rappel amid the amazing scenery of red rock canyon country.
Rev3 Shenandoah Adventure Races
April 16–17, Bentonville, Va.
Racers will maneuver their way to the finish by trekking, mountain biking and paddling through the spectacular terrain of the George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah River State Park. Four distances range from about 10 miles to more than 100 miles.
Solstice Multisport Challenge
June 18–19, Bend, Ore.
Explore the spectacular terrain in and around Bend, Ore., in this 12-hour multisport adventure. Soloists and teams of up to four will run, ride, navigate, paddle and trek through the night among thick forest, volcanic rocks and a plethora of sparkling lakes.
Never Summer Adventure Race
Aug. 5-7, Grand Lake, Colo.
The Never Summer Adventure Race is a 24-hour race through some of the toughest terrain in Colorado. The race will include paved, gravel and singletrack mountain biking, bushwhacking, trekking, strategic navigation and flat water and river paddling.