The CheNarr consists of two events – a 12 hour Adventure Race featuring mountain biking, paddling, and trekking, hunting down checkpoints in the woods using only a map and compass as navigational guides. The second event is a 6 hour rogaine. The rogaine will have the same feel as the adventure race, but the event will be shorter and will be entirely foot travel to the various checkpoints.
The CheNarr gets its name from the two principal areas where the race is being held. The first of these is the Cheatham Wildlife Management Area. The Cheatham is over 20,000 acres of very lightly used state land administered by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. What is most unique about the Cheatham isn’t necessarily how large and beautiful the park is, but rather that a tract of undeveloped land this large can sit so close to a major metropolitan area. Racers will never be more than 30 km (20 miles) from the center of downtown Nashville while inside of the Cheatham but will feel as if they are in a remote and untamed forest.
The second area racers will experience is the Narrows of the Harpeth State Park. In this area, the racers will experience an unusual paddle – an 8 km (5 mile) downstream river paddle that ends where it started! At the narrowest point of the Narrows, the Harpeth River is a mere 80 meters from itself even though it’s 8 km downstream! Separating the river sections is a high cliff line with scenic views. It’s this combination of the Cheatham and the Narrows or ‘CheNarr’ that named the race.
The race is being put on by HardWin Adventures. HardWin Adventures has been hosting races of many different types in Middle TN for over a decade. In fact, many of the trails utilized during the CheNarr ware trails constructed by Hardwin Adventures and utilized during the 11 annual editions of the Music City Trail Ultra – a HardWin ultramarathon event that is held in the Cheatham each March.
Much of the CheNarr’s origin can be viewed through the friendship of the two race directors – John Hardin and Paul Steele. Paul is an experienced adventure racer who wanted to see more races take place locally. John is the owner of HardWin Adventures, an experienced event promotor and an endurance athlete himself. “I’ve wanted for years to see more adventuring racing in the Southeast US. In years past, there have only been 3 or 4 adventure races in a given year close enough to drive to fromNashville” said co-race director Paul Steele.
“I’m hoping to take knowledge I’ve gained through being a racer at both large ARWS events like Expedition Canada and smaller local races to create high-quality maps and interesting routes featuring lots of choices. That AR experience, combined with John’s decade-plus experience of running endurance events, should enable us to put on a successful inaugural AR and rogaine. We’re excited about it.”
The inaugural CheNarr race has joined the Adventure Racing World Series North America calendar, a collection of the best middle-distance adventure races in North America. Co-ed teams taking part in the adventure race will receive ARWS ranking points and go into the end of season grand prize draw where they could win gear prizes and free race entries, including one to the Adventure Racing World Championships in Ecuador next year!