INDIA Successfully Hosts its First AR National Championship

India has successfully hosted their first Adventure Racing Championship, and the host venue at Chikkamagalur did it with a bang, and a splash! This race was special on many fronts. Asia is a developing region and every race under the ARWS ASIA Regional Series is a stepping stone towards building the sport, as well as the AR community in the region. 

Day 1 was the Admin Day.  There were drums, dance, music and lamp lighting on opening day. Teams were welcomed with a local dance form called “DolluKunitha” performed by local artists and witnessed by an honoured guest, The District Commissioner of Chikkmagaluru, Mr. K.N.

The teams also received a video message from Heidi Muller, the CEO of ARWS on this special day.  There were group photos with the delegates and some wise words at the race briefing before teams headed into the mountains to experience Chikkamagaluru like never before.  

The start was in a secret location and participants had no clue to their destination when they boarded the bus at 4am.  They set down in the beautiful Western Ghats at Kemmangundi, location for the monsoon edition of Adventure Racing Championships India.

The race flagged off from an elevation of 1434m above sea level in the presence of Mr. Nagaraj, Tourism Officer from the Department of Tourism.

The race began on 2nd July at 8:30am with Leg 1 – 24km of hiking and trail running through the Western Ghats, in slushy conditions and some steep technical terrain. Teams experienced the thrill of the wildest Western Ghats in the monsoon. The race had support from the Bhadra Tiger Reserve authorities who shared their expertise to make sure teams took home an experience like no other without disturbing the wildlife.

On this leg, there was an activity as part of the race called “Plogging”.  Each team were allocated a trash bag and gloves and were to pick as much trash possible and drop it at TA1. Every team took this additional responsibility seriously, and made sure they did their bit to set a good example and keep the mountains clean and plastic free.

Leg 2 began with some “Off-Roading”, where teams were transported in Jeeps for 13km to TA 1. Considering the location of this race, and wildlife activity, the decision was made to include this restricted section as part of the race experience and give teams time to refuel and relax, before the big MTB Challenge. Teams travelled in a closed Jeep for the next 13 kms in the untamed wilderness and got their next set of maps at TA 1, which was the start of mountain biking stage.

In this leg, to get one of the CPs, teams had another activity to complete, “Planting a sapling”.  Each team was allocated one sapling and from digging a pit to planting the sapling followed set instructions under the supervision of the forest authorities. Our teams made a difference by planting these trees.

Leg 3: This was a trail running segment through the dense coffee estates. Rain and clouds brought the end of sunlight much earlier than expected. This 8km of multiple curvy routes and terrain made navigation difficult. Teams spent more time looking for 2 checkpoints than estimated on this leg. The top teams arrived in daylight but completed the leg at night and took almost 2 hours for 8km, which they are proud of, as the orienteering section was made more challenging by the weather gods.

Leg 4: In this segment water tubing was supposed to happen in a picturesque lake, however due to the heavy rain the lake was above the danger level. For the safety reasons this section of the race was cancelled for all the teams and teams headed towards the next challenge which was mammoth uphill towards Karnataka state’s highest mountain.

Chikkamagaluru and Western Ghat is beautiful and at the same time tricky during monsoons. The weather and winds were constantly changing every hour of the race. Each hour there was less visibility due to heavy mist, and it was making it super challenging for everyone.

Currently the race operates without trackers and manually tracks the team’s progress. We had moments that we have lost the teams and sent search teams, only to realize they took a detour to fill their tummy.

As race get onto night Race Director, core media team and volunteers get onto stealth mode with the teams to see they are safe and moving forward and keep us updated.

In the mountain terrain and continuous rains, teams faced multiple landslides, and tree falls which were beyond anyone’s estimation. No one can ever predict what may happen during a race. But we are proud of our teams and their decisions, route choices and attempting a race which was challenging and set a standard for a Championship Adventure Race in India.

Due to the landslides and extreme weather on the last leg in the mountains the course was cut short. 

Based on the maximum distance covered team “The Skyrunners” took the win at India’s First “Adventure Racing Championship 2022”in 20 hours 38 Minutes closely followed by Team “Veera Kannadigaru” in 19 hours 15 minutes. These were the only full-course team left on the course, unfortunately all the others had to drop out.

With this win “The Skyrunners” become the first team from India to race at international platform at Asia Regional Championship. This team of ultra-runners and have been racing with NthAdventure for many years. They are still growing and learning, as are other Asian teams and now our focus is to prepare them better and support them in every possible way.

There was also a 70KM Category and half of the course was same for them. They were the only category who could visit the Highest point of Karnataka “Mullayanagiri Peak”. “Team Stairs” took the win in 13 Hours 16 minutes and team “Lastmile Runners” were second in 15 hours and 18 minutes. And we are sure they are coming back for the bigger challenge next time.

We had a mix of participants, a team full of IFS Officers, Doctors, Professors, and IT professionals. Team S3G is another competitive team who is preparing for such races, and they had to drop out due to medical issues. These teams have come a long way to test their team spirit and support this growing sport.

We would like to thank our teams, volunteers, media and our sponsors in making this event a grand success. Our Main Partners were:

  • Department of Tourism – Chikkamagaluru: @chikkamagaluru_tourism
  • Chikkamagaluru Resort Owners Association: @Chikamagalurresortsassociation
  • Global Village Resort (Opening Ceremony): @global_village_luxury_resort_
  • Siri Nature Roost (Closing Ceremony): @sirinatureroost
  • Simba Beers: @roarwithsimba
  • Sao Foods: @sao_foods

Department of Tourism – Chikkamagalur, Department of Forest and Chikkamagalur

The Resort Owner’s Association played a significant role in hosting Adventure Racing Championship, and are working towards boosting tourism as well as safeguarding the wilderness. They were involved from Day 1 of planning and made sure every participant coming to Chikkamagalur took home memories, hospitality, and adventure stories.

Chikkamagalur is known for its diverse flora and fauna, mighty Western Ghats, home for wildlife, rich in history, hospitality, culture, cuisines, and amazing history of coffee. The versatile landscapes are perfectly suited for adventures as well as Tourism around the year. This location is a watch out for sure and perfectly suited for Expedition Style Racing.

It was an absolute pleasure to showcase the hospitality of this wonderful Coffee city to the world through this sport. Also, thank you to our sponsors and partners from around the region who are constantly supporting the AR community. We are all in this together with a goal to make India an Adventure Racing destination.

NthAdventure ends the India calendar of ARWS ASIA Region with this race and are now moving on to new races and new destinations for 2023, and hoping to invite other Asian countries to our ‘Incredible India’. Support us and follow our journey on our Instagram page @nthadventure.

It’s time to follow and support the growing Asia Region.

About NthAdventure:

NthAdventure is a Bangalore based Adventure and Outdoor sports company and is the only licensed organization in India to host Adventure Racing from the Adventure Racing World Series.

NthAdventure’s prime focus is to grow and build the Adventure Racing and Orienteering community in India. Both the Race Directors have been part of multiple Expedition Races like Expedition Africa, GODZone, and Expedition India. They have been conducting workshops, training sessions, webinars, and multiple sprint races since 2015 to help make Indian teams race ready for international racing.

For more information about NthAdventure and upcoming races visit https://www.nthadventure.com/

Check Also

Asia Adventure Racing Gets Going with ARWS Regional Series

The AR World Series (ARWS) announces the launch of its regional series of adventure races …