Idiot’s Guide To Adventure Racing

St Francis Today has yet to receive any media, images or information in our various inboxes surrounding the Adventure Racing World Series in our hood and anchored in the Cape St Francis Resort. This is most likely because we aren’t an ‘official media partner’ of this event, leaving us on the outside looking in and wondering if the media area has free drinks and snacks. Only joking. (Does it?)

We found a tranche of images on an old hard drive from a previous year’s media that we have used in this article.

The Flag Parade Today

No, in all seriousness, The Flag Parade, followed by the Opening Ceremony of the Adventure World Series at St Francis Links today, 17 October 2023, at 14:00, and everyone is welcome. No need for any invites. The Links are good like that. 

But what is it all about, apart from not being a spectator sport? We did some extra homework to develop our very own version of An Idiot’s Guide To Adventure Racing.

SFT’s Idiot’s Guide To AR

Adventure Racing, an endurance sport with its roots tracing back to the late ’80s, appears to be the product of a desire to bring us back to the age when intrepid souls sailed the globe on wooden ships. In our contemporary era, however, it has evolved into a somewhat revered pursuit, an athletic equivalent to a video game addiction, exclusively tailored for those who derive pleasure from sweat, heavy breathing, and the profound sensation of exploring in the company of a tightly knit team. 

WTF Is It Though?

 In essence, it embodies the most comprehensive fusion of sports one can envision – encompassing the disciplines of running, biking, hiking, kayaking, rafting, climbing, and perhaps a few other unexpected twists, all neatly bundled into a single, exhaustive package.

Google-Free

Its participants are tasked with navigating various terrains, cultures, and climates. But here’s the kicker – they must accomplish this feat without the crutch of modern technological conveniences like Google Maps to point them in the right direction. The courses resemble pages torn from an unsolved mystery novel: unmarked and bewildering, transforming the entire ordeal into a veritable real-life treasure hunt. 

Idiot's Guide To Adventure Racing

Rest Up, Ladies and Gentlemen

One might assume that competitors would be afforded the luxury of respite amidst these athletic trials. That assumption is so far from reality. Adventure Races come in assorted flavours, and the one under the spotlight here involves a casual 800-kilometre journey spread across the leisurely expanse of nine days. Those made of sterner stuff, who view naps as optional, may choose when to indulge in sleep.

 Yet, many teams opt for the more audacious approach of ceaseless, round-the-clock racing. This choice elevates the experience to a new level of “fun.” 

No ‘I’ in Team, 

Delving further into the core of Adventure Racing, the paramount importance bestowed upon “Teamsmanship” distinguishes this sport. There is no such thing as an individual triumph, only a shared victory. 

Stay Close

The rules of engagement are specific – separation from the team is out of the question. The team that starts together must also finish as a coherent unit, or they risk facing the ignominy of disqualification. 

Idiot's Guide To Adventure Racing

The Squad

Adventure Racing squads comprise four members, an arrangement mandated by the sports authorities. Each quartet includes at least one male and one female racer. Roles within the team are defined with precise clarity and extend beyond mere formality. 

The Navigator assumes the part of the team’s cartographer, proficient in map-reading, compass utilization, and leading the team through uncharted terrains to reach predetermined checkpoints.

Meanwhile, the Captain takes up the mantle of the team’s strategist, shaping race tactics, setting the pace, determining rest stops, and deftly leveraging the strengths and weaknesses of the team members. Other roles may involve a Secondary Navigator, an auxiliary cartographer, or a Packhorse – an individual who is physically sturdy enough to bear the backpacks of the team and willing to tow fellow teammates like a troupe of human sleds. 

It’s Not Who Wins

Remarkably, Adventure Racing is not solely about crossing the finish line as swiftly as possible. The overriding objective, surprisingly, is not always victory. Competing novices often find themselves sharing the same course as seasoned professionals. The primary goal is to challenge one’s limits, cherish the moments of shared endeavour, and reach the finish line without losing one’s sanity. 

But Wait, There’s More!

Here is your way to discover precisely what is happening with Adventure Racing’s Expedition Africa – Kouga 2023.

Start off with the Adventure Racing World Series website here 

that will take you through to the Expedition Africa – Kouga 2023 website here 

From that website, you can click straight through to the Expedition Africa website here 

This page isn’t too exciting, so it is best to click through to the Facebook page here 

The Facebook page leads you to click on the ARWS World Championship Kouga 2023 Facebook group here – and this is where all the good stuff seems to be happening.