Maybe not just yet, but the sport of Adventure Racing has been growing fast, according to the U.S. Adventure Racing Association (USARA).
Whether it’s because just completing the event is considered a victory, because participants have to handle unusual obstacles, or because if they don’t work as a team they won't succeed, the sport has attracted elite and amateur runners, cyclists and swimmers alike.
The adventure races in the following list, in random order, have been selected based on reviews on MudRunGuide.com, the skill level required to compete, the variety of obstacles in each event, and duration.
You can choose between the a 6-, 12-, and 30-hour event. The latter will test your mountain biking skills on the CAMBA trail system which boasts over 300 miles of routes through a wilderness area of striking beauty and peaceful solitude, according to USARA. “Test your navigation skills with challenging topography […], savor nationally renowned quiet water paddling that won’t disappoint the most discerning paddling enthusiasts on your team.
You are guaranteed to be foamy, muddy and wet by the end of the 5k Foam Fest. “We aim for 22+ obstacles per course, from the Chamber of Foam to the Spider Web Forest. You’ll crawl through Mud Pits, monkey around in the Cargo Climbs, bounce your way through adult sized inflatables and ride the 50 foot Slip n’ Slides,” according to the event’s website.
“Awesome event! It was the perfect blend of challenges for any athletic ability,” one review on MudRunGuide.com reads. “Always a blast to partake in with great obstacles and loads of fun. Very safe and enjoyable,” another one says. The course is physically demanding with 25+ obstacles. Some are the Brick and Morter, Turf and Surf, True North Climb, Top Out and Hole Punch, plus assorted obstacles featuring hard or easy options.
You can do the super or sprint event. There is also a kids course. “I raced in the Pennsylvania super in 2015 and it was brutal. I have always been an active person but this race really pushed my limits. The obsticals were all challanging in their own way and took more than strength to complete,” one person wrote after giving it 5 stars. But the views of the Blue Mountain Ski Area are totally gorgeous and wort your sweat.
“XMAN is an obstacle race over trails of all kinds with some altitude gain,” according to the event’s page. “There will be around 40 different obstacles on an approximate distance of 7 to 8K where you’ll have to run or walk, climb, crawl, jump, throw, climb walls or ropes, get wet or muddy, etc.” Anyone can participate as the main goal is for people to have fun.
This is a 5k race with 12 obstacles that anyone can handle. You will leap over fire and venture through mud-caked backroads. Unlike some other event, you’ll get a medal that is also a bottle opener, a sweet t-shirt, fuzzy Warrior helmet, and ice-cold beer.
“The St. Cloud Police Department ROBO MUD RUN is a thrilling 4-5 mile obstacle course designed to test your limits physically and mentally,” its website reads. It will take place at the City of St. Cloud's picturesque Peghorn Park Nature and Wild Life Habitat. “Be prepared to experience a multitude of extreme obstacles and terrains. While this course may have an extreme design there are different course options available for all fitness levels and everyone who crosses the finish line receives a medal.”
You can choose between a 3.2 miles/17 obstacles race and a 5 miles/25 obstacles competition. The former is ideal for adventure enthusiast of all levels while the latter is recommended for more advanced athletes. There will be mud, of course, but you’ll also have to conquer obstacles like Quads of the Gods, Polar Bear Plunge and the Beast.
There is a Goruck Tough Challenge somewhere in the country almost every week. They are 10-12 hours long. “This is the original Goruck Event, the one where we prove to you that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought possible when you work as a team,” Goruck says. They have published a recommended training schedule for the race.
SOS (Survival of the Shawangunks) Triathlon in New Paltz is so popular; it sold out in about 10 mins this year, according to its website. And no wonder, it’s beautiful out there. So keep the race in mind for next year. The event has eight stages: biking for 30 miles, running for 4.5 miles, swimming for 1.1 miles, then again running for 5.5. miles, go back in the water for half a mile, run 8 more miles, swim another half, then climbing 0.7 miles to Albert K. Smiley Memorial Tower. Congratulations, you’re alive!
The USARA calls the race “a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.” The event is 12 hours and you’re guaranteed to face the unknown. “You will be forced to use your gear. You will be forced to use your intellect and you will be forced to rely on your team mates.” You will be climbing, mountain biking, navigating, running, to name a few. The 50 miles race is in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.