Push your limits in the rugged landscapes of the adventure races in USA


There are plenty of options at this event. The Father’s Day Adventure Race, typically held near Orlando, Florida, boasts a one-hour family race, a three-hour sport race, and an elite six-hour race for teams of two or three people.
The family course includes mountain biking, about a mile of paddling, and two miles of hiking. There’s also a pre-race clinic on how to read a map and use a compass, and proper canoe paddling techniques.
For those with more experience, the three-hour course includes more prolonged biking, paddling, and overland hiking. The elite race spices things up with more demanding tasks—two hours of each discipline, often involving more challenging terrain and upstream paddling.
If you’re the type to take on a big challenge immediately, the Island Quest Adventure Race might be up your alley. The three or 12-hour adventure race in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest challenges teams of two, three, or four to hike, bike, and kayak (12-hour race only) through the chain of islands between Washington and Vancouver.

Explore the depths and heights of majestic canyons.

If you choose the 12-hour event, you’ll want to make sure you and your teammates have had plenty of time to practice navigation, paddling, mountain biking, and hiking so you’re ready for the challenge. Make sure you plan how to get there, too—you’ll need to catch a ferry to Race HQ on Orcas Island.
For a mix of land and water navigation right in the middle of the Heartland, look no further than Stubborn Mule. This multi-race event has a five-hour race perfect for beginners, but you’ll also be rubbing shoulders with grizzled veterans competing in the 30-hour race. They might even teach you a thing or two!
Solo competitors can compete, as can teams of two, three, or four people. The course involves road biking, mountain biking, hiking, and paddling, albeit on lakes, not down a raging river. If you don’t have your boat, no worries; the race provides canoes for teams and kayaks for solo racers.
As the name suggests, this race is not designed for beginners but is suitable for first-time adventure racers. Don’t think it’ll be a cakewalk, though—the event covers 10-15 miles of trekking, 12 miles of paddling, and about 15-20 miles of mountain biking in Virginia’s Shenandoah River State Park.

Test your skills in the heart of lush woodlands.

The gear requirements and rulebook are more relaxed, so if you want to work out the nuts and bolts of doing an adventure race before getting bogged down in rules and regulations, this is a great choice.
The Wildlands Adventure Challenge will take location for the first time in October and offers fun for the whole family. The race provides a one to three and an eight-hour variant; the shorter version is perfect for a newcomer, including hiking and canoeing in equipped boats. The 8-Hour race will be an adventure by foot, bike, and kayak through the diverse land in the Wildlands.
When my boyfriend asked if I wanted to do Tough Mudder Tahoe with him and some friends, all I could think about was getting shocked by a live wire right in the eye before getting to the finish line of this “fun run.”
“The camaraderie will keep you going!”
“You get dirty, but it’s the fun kind of dirty!”
“You don’t know what you’re capable of until you climb up a wall of humans like a ninja and pull a guy three times your size up behind you!”
I have run a few races and spent some time outdoors, but 10 miles of walls, mud and electric shocks seemed like the type of “fun” that usually equates to a suffering fest. Still unwilling to be outdone by the guys, I donned the cheapest shoes I could wreck, pulled my hair into braids, and jumped into the world of adventure races feet (ok, face) first.

Let’s start with the gateway race, which will get you hooked on adventure races. With courses worldwide, Tough Mudder is an excellent entry-level event with an option for a half (5-mile) or a full (10-mile) route. You will get muddy and wet, and the live wires at the finish line are actual, but the post-race beer and the new friends you make while slogging through mud pits and other crazy obstacles together will make up for being shocked.
The Hood to Coast Relay, which has been running since 1982, is the world’s largest relay race. It’s such a classic and epic race that there’s even a movie about it. Teams of eight to 12 runners race 199 miles from the base of Mt. Hood to the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon. Split into 36 legs, each team member takes on at least three legs of the race, averaging 3.5 to 8 miles per stretch throughout 24 to 36 hours. You may have to run through the night, but with 1,000+ other teams on the same gruelling journey, the race shenanigans and party atmosphere (don’t forget your costume!) will keep you going.

About the author

Olivia Wilson

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