Choose Your Adventure:
Cincinnati Urban Adventure Race
April 28, 2012
Not every adventure race needs to take place out in the hills where big foot roams. This four-hour urban trekking adventure takes place in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. You can sign up on your own or as part of a team of up to four urban explorers. Once it begins, you're given a map as well as a series of objectives that need to be completed as quickly as possible. Part of the race needs to be done on foot, but other parts include a fair bit of cycling. Just don't get in a taxi because that's totally cheating. The race dips into northern Kentucky and the route does its best to really show off what the area has to offer. Plus, because everything is well-labeled and there's no real orienteering required, the amount of home field advantage for the Cincinnati locals isn't that substantial. It requires minimum gear and is a great way to see the city, just be ready for the most serious obstacle, which will be resisting the urge to stop for a kielbasa before the race is over.
Get more information at Topoadventuresports.org
High Profiles Adventures 12 & 24 Hour Race
Mt. Carroll, IL
August 25, 2012
Obstacle races are fun, but if you want a taste of old school adventure racing, then this is the way to do it. There are two courses, a 12-hour and a 24-hour. Teams of 2 or 3 will have to navigate 50 miles or 100 miles depending on which course they choose. And when we say navigate, we're not using it colloquially. Getting from the starting line to the finish line will require some serious skills, including orienteering, coasteering, and even some caving. You'll need a full assortment of gear including a good compass and the appropriate maps to help you get where you're going. Just leave the GPS at home. Like many other one-day races, there are also elements of kayaking and mountain biking, so you'll be challenged plenty physically as well as mentally. It really is adventure racing the way it was meant to be, especially if you want to get all Bear Grylls about it. Though, you're allowed to bring as many supplies as you like so hopefully you won't have to resort to drinking your own, um, liquids.
Get more information at Thethunderrolls.org
The actual length of each Spartan race varies depending on which location you pick to participate. But, they mostly hover in the 4-5 mile range which means they're meant do be done as an all-out sprint rather than a long, drawn-out slog. The Spartan organizers manage to pack a lot of pain into those few miles, though, relying on the element of surprise and not disclosing the course map before you run the race. If you enjoy the torture that the Spartan Race offers, they also provide increasing levels of difficulty that you can subject yourself to. Tougher events include the Super Spartan, the Spartan Beast and ultimately the Spartan Death Race, which is held in Vermont and might actually kill you. Don't forget to sign the waiver.
Get more information at Spartanrace.com
If you find yourself participating in a Tough Mudder event, be sure not to call it a "race" around the officials. This military-style obstacle course was designed by special forces soldiers and represents a personal challenge. Sure, they declare winners and they keep track of your time, but it's all in an effort to encourage people to push themselves. The events are longer than some of the other of their kind, often including thousands of feet of climbing and descending over the course of 10-12 miles. The obstacles are where the real fun comes in, though. Greased monkey bars, full-on blasts from fire hoses, hikes up steep grades while carrying a log, and a run through a gauntlet of live electrical wires are all part of the experience. Oh, and then there's the mud. If you cross the finish line, officials will hand you an orange headband and a beer. It's one of the fastest growing events in the country, so sign up early if you want to get a spot in the one closest to you. Oh, and throw a couple extra towels in your car for the drive home.
Get more information at Toughmudder.com
Flying Squirrel Unbridled Adventure Race
General Butler State Resort Park, Kentucky
Flying Squirrel Adventures set up a series of adventure races of increasing difficulty as a sort of on-ramp program for would-be racers. The first in the series is this one, held at scenic General Butler State Park. It's a four-hour race that includes paddling, mountain biking and a fair bit of trail running. The courses are designed to be challenging, but also to ensure that beginners can finish, even if their navigation skills have been hindered by reliance on GPS systems. The races are open to teams of 1-4 and they even provide the boat for you for the first three races in the series so you don't have to invest in a ride if you're not totally sure you're the adventure racing type. If you work your way through the first three races, you can do the 12-hour adventure race in the fall at Natural Bridge State Resort Park. it's much tougher and a lot longer, but it's a serious accomplishment to finish it.
Get more information at Flyingsquirreladventures.com