There is nothing else quite like the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS). It combines travel, adventure, camaraderie and competition in a yearlong sporting competition which seeks out bucket list destinations and on arrival takes the competing teams to hidden locations which tourists, and even the locals, never get to see.
The calendar for the 2019 ARWS offers racers a tempting mix of countries, climates and challenges spanning 10 races across 4 continents, and starts with a new race and location for the series, Expedition India, before heading for South America, the USA, Europe, and concluding at the World Championships in Sri Lanka in December.
First on the 2019 calendar is Expedition India and is one of two races staged by Kinetic Events of South Africa, and they could not be more different. The race will take place in the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh and promises white water rafting, high passes with endless mountain views, rich forests, and an immersion in Indian culture with a finish at the old Raj summer capital of Shimla.
The two races in South America are well established events and Huairasinchi in Ecuador is a former host of the World Championships. The race is renowned for its tough mountain stages and dense equatorial jungle, and teams are advised to arrive at least 3 days before the start to acclimatise to altitude. They fly into Quito at 2850m and the race could climb as high as 4000m on snow capped volcanoes during the race.
Expedicion Guarani takes place in Paraguay with teams flying into Ascension before setting off into the low lying forests and wetlands of this landlocked country. The race is known for its technical navigation and the exceptional welcome and service it provides visiting teams. The teams who have raced there all say not to underestimate the race, the hills may be small, but they are not easy to find a way through!
One of the demonstration races from this year to join the full series is Expedition Oregon in the USA. The race promises the teams the chance to “explore the extraordinary playground that is Central Oregon, with some of the world’s most stunning snow-laden mountains, hidden waterfalls, frosty alpine lakes and ancient lava fields.”
Europe is well represented this year with 4 races. The first is Raid Gallaecia in Northern Spain where the coastal scenery along the Cantabric Sea will be a key feature of the race and teams will explore remote beaches, caves and towering sea stacks. The race is returning to the series after a break last year, and Itera also returns to the ARWS, this time visiting the Highlands of Scotland.
Itera has visited Ireland, England and Wales in the past, and 2019 will be its second time in Scotland. As with all expedition races the course is kept secret, and teams don’t know where the race starts, just that it finishes in Inverness! To get there they will cross the Scottish Highlands, one of Europe’s great wilderness regions, with a mountain and maritime landscape which will surprise and delight them, and push them to their limits.
The Nordic Islands Race last year took teams across the ocean from Sweden to Finland, and this year will venture into the mountains and fjords of Norway. This will be the most northerly race of the series, starting in the ski resort of Are and finishing on the Norwegian coastal port of Alesund, between which lie the Trondheim Mountains. The race asks teams thinking of entering ‘Are you ready to join the Vikings?
Adventure Race Croatia was another successful race launch last year and proved its no holiday to go on this particular trip to the fabulous Dalmatian Coast. The azure waters, picturesque towns and barren but beautiful limestone mountains are popular with tourists, but adventure racers explore them in a very different, and much more hands-on, way. Next year’s race will again take place in the Zadar region and the September date should provide an ideal late summer climate for Mediterranean racing.
Expedition Africa which this year takes place on the small Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, which is only 108 square kilometres in size with a high point of 393m. The race will explore forests, cliffs, offshore islands and coral reefs in a unique way with teams transporting all their equipment, including their bikes, in local boats. They will be independent and isolated, lost in the wonders of their own tropical island adventure.
The winners of all of these series races will gain an automatic place in the 2019 AR World Championships, which will be held on the ‘Teardrop Isle’ of Sri Lanka. In the past series races have hosted the World Champs, but for 2019 some of the most experienced ARWS organisers will come together to create a special course. It will take teams on a 600km journey through the southern beaches and central highlands of a magical and welcoming island.
In all of these races the teams will race non-stop on courses lasting from 3 to 8 days knowing all of the team must work together to reach the finish line. In expedition races of this nature anything can happen but teams will race under comprehensive ARWS rules, with independent referees and the races providing all their logistical support. This ensures that wherever they are in the world they have a fair playing field. Friends and family can also follow their progress through satellite tracking and comprehensive media coverage of each race.
There are also new demonstration races joining the series in 2019 and more information on these events, and the ARWS can be found at https://arworldseries.com
21 – 31 March 2019 | Expedition India | INDIA
30 March – 6 April 2019 | Expedicion Guarani | PARAGUAY
24 – 28 April 2019 | Expedition Oregon | USA
10 – 18 May 2019 | Raid Gallaecia | SPAIN
8 – 13 June 2019 | Huairasinchi | ECUADOR
12 – 21 July 2019 | Nordic Islands AR | SWEDEN
10 – 17 August 2019 | Itera | SCOTLAND
30 August – 8 September 2019 | Expedition Africa Rodrigues | RODRIGUES
10 – 15 September 2019 | Adventure Race Croatia | CROATIA
3-13 December 2019 | AR World Championship 2019 | SRI LANKA