The Adventure Racing (AR) World Series championship got underway with a Prologue today in Ulladulla. 97 teams from 20 different countries and every continent have arrived in the small coastal town, which is 230km south of Sydney, Australia.
The AR World Series Championship is a gruelling nonstop course, that will see competitors trekking, mountain biking, ocean and river kayaking, pack rafting, navigating and caving for 600 kilometres around the Shoalhaven and surrounds for up to 8 days.
To start the Prologue, the teams assembled at Race Headquarters ready to battle in activities that contained a distinct Aussie flavour.
As the teams walked 2km around the coastal headlands with their national flag, there were four unique Australian challenges that were to be completed. These included eating vegemite sandwiches, kicking a goal with an Aussie Rules football, a beach shuttle run wearing thongs whilst holding an esky and a beach flags competition. Winning teams had their faces marked with gold lines of zinc and others green.
Although the results from the Prologue did not count towards the official race, some racers were still fiercely competitive.
To complete the Prologue, each team member received their own personal air lounge to relax in on the beach awaiting the official opening ceremony of the AR World Series Championships of 2016.
Competitors also enjoyed a traditional Aussie bar-b-que post event.
“The prologue was designed to give international competitors a fun introduction to Australian culture,” says Race Director Craig Bycroft. “It’s also a good opportunity for teams to mix and get to know each other.”
The formalities of the Opening Ceremony included a ‘Welcome to Country’ and a smoking ceremony from the local Aboriginal Elder. Local dignitaries also welcomed competitors to the Shoalhaven.
Teams joined together with their flag, in a parade of nations to conclude the night’s celebration.
Now as the teams approach their final stages of preparation and receive their maps, they will go into lock down until the official race start on the10th November.