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Can a YouTuber Inspire the Next Generation of Adventure Racers?

xtrail-josh

Josh is an exuberant 23 year old “YouTuber” with over 1.5 million subscribers to his channel “Exploring with Josh” and he is now showing his audience Adventure Racing – as he sees it.

“I didn’t know what to expect of the people – when I met them they all seemed really cool and nice but determined and want to always push themselves and explore.  I mean what they are doing is intense, it requires a lot of inspiration and motivation.”

Conducting somewhat of a social and marketing experiment, the ARWS brought Josh to a recent race in remote China for him to see first hand what adventure racing is and share this with his viewers.

YouTubers make a living creating videos and sharing them with their audience.  Josh films his experiences while travelling and exploring.  In his community Josh is ‘big time’ – he is in the top 3% of YouTubers worldwide and the majority of his 1.5 million subscribers are between 18 and 25. https://www.youtube.com/user/theartofrealitycrew

Anecdotally some people say adventure racing has an ageing population.  Is this really true, and if it is, what can we do about it? AR World Series Executive Producer Erik Nachtrieb said “Through Josh we wanted to show an entirely new audience and demographic what adventure racing is and why it is the most amazing lifestyle on the planet.”

There is no question that Adventure Racing is a sport that is dominated by people in their thirties and forties but why is this?  The ready responses tend to suggest this age bracket is mentally tougher, can handle sleep deprivation better and has more disposable income for travel and equipment.  Are these factors really what skews the average age of adventure racers towards the higher end?

AR World Series Director Craig Bycroft said “The average age of participants at the AR World Championship has climbed from 36 to 38 in the last five years.  We need to look closely at this trend and see if we are still getting young people into the sport.”

Josh said “I definitely think a group of my viewers will try out adventure racing.  A lot of my people see how far I push myself to make my videos and these videos will open their minds to what is possible. I’m inspired by these racers!”

The AR World Series has now introduced a Youth Category for teams with a sum of ages of 110 or less (average age slightly less than 28), with the hope of stimulating this age group.  However there is only one team at the 2016 AR World Championship meeting these requirements.

Conversely there is a strong Masters Category at the Championship this year containing ten teams which is almost 10% of the field.  Masters teams must have a sum of ages of 190 years or more (average age just over 47)

Regardless of age, there are many things that make adventure racing so appealing.  Josh said “One thing that blew my mind was when the winning team came to the finish line together, they literally held each others hands and walked together through it, and I felt so motivated, it gave me shivers, I felt their vibe!”

Josh will release 14 videos of his China trip including adventures in the lead up and the race itself.  If you want to jump straight to the action of the race, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrHQMv7pipY

Can Josh inspire a new generation of athletes to enter our sport?  It is early days yet but there are already enquiries from other YouTubers wanting to come and experience the AR World Championship in Australia in November.

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