La Routa is the longest established adventure race in The Philippines, and ran continuously from 2000 to 2010. It was revived in 2019, and now returns as the ARWS Asia Championship, the first time an ARWS race has been held in the Philippines.
Teams from the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, India, New Zealand and Poland will be on start line and the winners will claim a free place at the Adventure Racing World Championships in Ecuador in November 2024, hosted by the Huairasinchi race.
The Race Director and organiser of La Routa is Jason Garrido, the owner of Bukid Outdoor Shop. Mr Garrido was Race Director at all previous editions of La Routa and also organised the 4-day non-stop adventure race, Carrera Habagat from 2000 to 2010. In addition he has worked with many national outdoor sports and recreation organisations (for caving and climbing), and has organised numerous international events.
Speaking ahead of the arrival of international teams Mr. Garrido said, “Adventure Racing has a strong history in our region and we are pleased to be part of the Adventure Racing World Series and to welcome international competitors to explore this beautiful area. The race will be held on the small island province of Biliran, which is a perfect location for adventure activities.”
He added, “Eastern Visayas, with its vast wilderness areas, pristine beaches, and numerous islets, has been an ideal location for adventure racing since the Elf Authentic Adventure race was held in Samar and Biliran Islands in 1999.
“Biliran was chosen as the venue due to its safety features and scenic locations and teams will have the opportunity to explore the province's picturesque landscapes; including waterfalls and rice terraces, dense forests, rugged mountains, small islands and sandy beaches.”
The race takes place over 4 days of non-stop competition from November 20-24th on a 350km course and includes trekking mountain biking, paddling, navigation, an ocean swim, rappelling and ropes, and a mystery challenge. The waters will be warm, the highest elevation is 1000m and the maps and navigation will be challenging.
The race will have cut-offs along the course to separate teams onto Aspirant, Candidates and Elite categories, and only the Elite teams will complete the full course. Each of the teams will carry a GPS tracker and their progress can be followed online.
Sixteen teams will be taking part and these include Nonstop Adventure of Poland, FEAR Youth from New Zealand, Team Chomolungma from Japan, KBS Adventure Race Team, Team Skomad ADV, and Kamikaze AR Team from Malaysia, and SkyRunners and Team Shershah from India.
Nonstop Adventure were this year’s winners of Rajd Beskidy, the ARWS expedition race in Poland, and both Indian teams are winners in the ARWS India National AR series. That series is organised by NthAdventure and Race Director Ajita Madan, who is also the ARWS Asia Regional Manager, will travel with the Indian teams.
“Adventure racing in Asia is still a developing sport,” she said, “and in India we have been growing participation and the experience of our teams in recent years. It has been our ambition for Indian teams to participate in international AR competitions, and to travel to the Philippines for the ARWS Asia Championship is a dream come true. We know our teams will have an amazing experience.”
FEAR Youth recently announced their presence in the top tier of adventure racing with a 9th place finish at the Adventure Racing World Championship in South Africa. This was an unprecedented result for a team of 18-21 year old racers in their first international competition. That race was only a few weeks ago and there has barely been time to recover from such an epic competition (their finish time was over 150 hours), however one of the World Champs team is racing again.
Dean Stewart will lead the team with his World Champs experience and races with Josiah Murphy and Flynn Goodger, who have both completed the GODZone expedition race, and with Sophie Shallard, who is in her first adventure race. Flynn is 23 and the others are all 20.
There is a strong entry from Malaysia, a country which hosts ARWS Asia Series races, with 3 teams competing. Team KBS Adventure team (the abbreviation for the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Malay) was the champion team in the AR Rompin race in 2023 and is made up of Azrin Ashraf, who works for the Youth and Sport Ministry, two members of the armed forces and a teacher.
The two other Malaysian teams, Team Skomad and Team Kamikaze, were also participants in the ARWS Demonstration race in 2019 and are among the best adventure race athletes in Malaysia.
Eight local teams will be racing against this strong international competition, including Team Old’s Cool, Team APLOT, and Dirt Adventure Racing who come from Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas. The team has been fundraising to support their training and race entry to “achieve our dream of racing toe to toe with the elite racing teams of the world; to be able to show what a grassroots all-Filipino adventure racing team is able to achieve when given enough support and backing.”
The local teams will have the advantage of familiarity with the maps, climate and terrain, and are keen to show what they can do against international teams who are all proven and experienced in ARWS competitions around the world.
ARWS CEO Heidi Muller will be present at the race and said, “It is always exciting to hold an ARWS race in a new country and the Philippines, Eastern Visayas and Biliran have been so welcoming and supportive. It’s heartening too, to see races like La Routa coming back and adventure racing growing in Asia.
“Thank you to Jason, his sponsors and organising team for their enthusiasm and hard work to make this race possible and give teams from around the world the opportunity to explore this lovely part of the Philippines.”
The race is supported by the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT), the Province of Biliran and Bukid Outdoor Sports. Their objective is to promote nature and adventure tourism in Eastern Visayas and the Philippines, show Biliran province as a premier adventure destination and to establish Eastern Visayas as the top adventure racing venue in the country.
During the race launch Karina Rosa S. Tiopes, the DOT-8 Regional Director urged the Biliranons to show their unique brand of hospitality and service excellence to visitors.
Teams are now arriving in the Philippines and can expect a warm welcome and an exciting race as they explore Biliran and compete for the Adventure Racing World Series Asia title.
For more information and to follow the live satellite tracking visit the website at: https://www.larouta.racing
There will be regular race coverage which you can follow on the race and ARWS social media pages; @larouta.racing @arworldseries @arwsasia