Adventure Racing Is A Unique Sport

The popular sport of adventure racing is unique in a number of ways. It has not any set rules regarding the number of participants in a team; nor does it impose any limits on the age or sex of the racers. During the race, various adventurous and often challenging activities are included like mountaineering, swimming, riding and biking etc., which add to the enjoyment of adventure racing.
Adventure racing is a very popular sport today. It is essentially a race run through adventurous places and usually involves crossing difficult barriers besides outracing other competitors. By definition, adventure racing involves at least two of the disciplines that include: orienteering and navigation, cross-country running, mountain biking, paddling, climbing and other rope skills of the kind. What distinguishes adventure racing from other types of races and sports is the fact that in adventure racing there are no set rules regarding the size of the racing team and the ages or sex of a team member.

The exact origin of adventure racing is not unequivocally known; though the modern form of adventure racing is not older than 40 years. The Karrimor International Mountain Marathon of 1968 is often referred to as the parent of modern adventure racing. It required teams, each consisting of two persons, to traverse a mountainous area while each team carried its own supplies to keep them going through the course of the race. Gerald Fusil (in New Zealand) and Mark Burnett (in the United States) played a key role in making adventure racing a major sporting genre.

Depending on the duration of the race, adveture racing is of 5 main types: Sprint Race (lasting 2 to 6 hours), 12-Hour Race (lasting 6 to 12 hours), 24-Hour Race (actually lasting anywhere from 18 to 30 hours), Multi-Day Race (lasting 36 to 48 hours or more), Expedition Race (lasting between 3 to 11 days or more). The activities of adventure racing include diverse athletic and adventurous skills like running, paddling, traveling on wheels, animal riding, swimming, gliding, and climbing with ropes etc.

While the rules of adventure racing vary from one racing event to another, all races have three common rules. First, motorized travel is not allowed. Secondly, assistance from participants in the race (belonging to any team) is allowed but any assistance from outside is against the rules. Thirdly, teams are supposed to carry the necessary gear. Variable rules of different adventure races specify other things like conduct of the participants, handling of race equipment, level of skills of the participants and so on. To help the participants with supplies, most adventure races allow the teams to replenish their supplies at one or more transitional areas.

Formerly, members of medical and paramedical staff were positioned at checkpoints along the course of the race to provide necessary medical aid to the participants. Since the past four years or so, the task of giving medical aid is being assigned in many races to highly qualified individuals who are trained in racing techniques also, like biking, racing, or swimming. These medical-aid staff members are athletically sound and provide onsite first-aid before the nearest medical checkpoint arrives. Thus, adventure racing is less painful today than it used to be in the past. However, due to the death of some adventure racers and hospitalization of others in the past 5 to 6 years, the safety of adventure racing is still debatable.
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