Adventure Racing started with Raid Gauloises, a multi-day outdoor epic in extreme environments. Most sports start small and get bigger, longer, faster and harder over the years, but not adventure racing, that started with expedition racing, which is still the pinnacle of the sport.
They are the races that get the most budget, attention and media, primarily through the Adventure Racing World Series and Championships, which has established standards, rules (and their application through referees), and rankings, making the races a priority for teams around the world.
However, the path into expedition adventure racing isn’t an easy one, especially for those new to the sport and keen to start racing – it’s a big jump to leap straight into an expedition race! Many teams need to step up through smaller races to gain experience and to help make this transition the AR World Series has announced plans today for ARWS Regional races and circuits.
ARWS Director Craig Bycroft explained, “We want to provide a clearer pathway into adventure racing, and to see more sports men and women racing, competing more regularly, and regarding adventure racing as “their sport”.
“Providing shorter, more accessible and affordable races within the ARWS structure will help achieve this. It will be a long term project, but so was establishing standards, rules and rankings for ARWS, and we can now apply these to the regional races so teams can be assured of a good standard when they enter.
“The Regional Circuits will start with ARWS Oceania next year under the leadership of Chris Dixon who is Race Director of two of the biggest adventure races in Australia at that distance. The ARWS South America circuit will also launch next year and we are currently speaking to several races as we put this in place. We are appointing Regional Directors like Chris to manage each region as we expand.”
The races to be included will be non-stop, covering between 125-250km over a weekend or long weekend, with a minimum of 12 hours of racing and a maximum of 48 hours. Unlike international ARWS events this will mean sleep strategy is not a factor, but teams will get to race in both day and night conditions.
The races could be linear or rogaine format, and open to various team combinations depending on the region (pairs, three or four), with mixed, all male and all female categories.
They will be held under standard ARWS Rules of Competition, using standard Mandatory Equipment Lists and be adjudicated by ARWS referees. There will be regional rankings (separate from the AR World Series World ranking), so a team could be ranked #1 in Oceania for example, and these will only be open to mixed teams of 4. There will also be regional championships each year, for example ‘the ARWS South America Championship’.
These Regional Rounds races are not intended to be ‘destination events’ or require extensive travel or exotic destinations. Generally, they will be within driving distance of large population areas and not require air travel for most of the competing teams. More accessible and achievable events, ranking points and an established structure are all intended to encourage teams to compete regularly and gain experience to move up to longer races in time.
For Dixon the chance to be the Regional Director of ARWS Oceania was not one he wanted to miss.
“The opportunity to add the world class ARWS event management and safety systems to our local Oceania races is too good an opportunity to let go,” he said.
“For me, the ARWS Oceania Series represent an exciting opportunity to create better pathways for teams from around the region to compete on the world stage.
“One of the best things about organising adventure races is helping people achieve something that for most people would appear un-achievable. ARWS Oceania is an exciting opportunity to grow the sport through better exposure and stronger media coverage opportunities, and to have more consistency between races across the region.”
Further information on the Regional Circuits can be found at https://arworldseries.com
More specific details of the ARWS Oceania series, including the announcement of races that will be making up the Regional Circuit can be found at https://oceania.arworldseries.com/ If you are interested in the latest social media for Oceania check out https://www.facebook.com/arwsoceania/
ARWS South America links and further information will be released shortly.