Seven Outdoor Adventure Races to Unleash Your Inner-Warrior
Want to lay down a challenge for yourself that will live with you for the rest of your life? Adventure racing provides just that kind of challenge! Not only do you get to enjoy an experience you’ll never forget, but also take in some great scenery, build relationships, and push your body and brain to the limits on an awesomely audacious outdoor mission like no other.
Think you’re warrior material? Good…so do we! Below, we give you the need-to-know on seven of the world’s greatest adventure races so you can find one in your neck of the woods and let that inner-warrior loose!
1. Warrior Dash – USA
i. What to expect: A thorough, fun-filled examination of your mental and physical fortitude. The 5k race track boasts 12 world-class obstacles that will have you crawling through muddy trenches, leaping over the flames of a fire pit, wading through wooded lakes, and a sliding down a two-story chute after a slippery sprint to the top!
ii. Race Difficulty: As the organizers say themselves, “anyone can start and anyone can finish”. Although this is certainly no cake-walk, given that it’s only 5k the Warrior Dash is a far more “accessible” adventure race than some of the long-distance events detailed below.
iii. Cost: $75
iv. Find A Warrior Dash Event: https://warriordash.com/locations/
2. Spartan Race – Worldwide
i. What to expect: Though the obstacles vary from race to race (and the organizers keep them very close to their chest!), past tests of competitors’ mettle have included a fire jump, spear throw, Tyrolean traverse, tire flips, the Slippery Wall and the Herculean Hoist (lifting 150-lb sandbags 20 feet into the air with a rope)!
ii. Race Difficulty: Competitors can choose between the Sprint, Super and Beast. For kids, the half-mile to two-mile course with 15 obstacles offers a serious but fun and very doable adventure. At the other end of the scale, the aptly named ‘Beast’ is run over 12-14 miles and includes 30-35 obstacles. For those looking for a happy medium between the Beast and the 3-mile sprint, the 8-mile ‘Super’ offers 24-29 obstacles and a serious enough challenge for most!
iii. Cost: $120-$299
iv. Find An Spartan Race Event: https://www.spartan.com/en/race/find-race
3. Cotopaxi Questival – USA
i. What to expect: Fun…lots of it! This 24-hour adventure race gives you the chance to do a ton of cool things you may have on your bucket list or just haven’t had time to do until now. Your challenge list will be emailed to you 24 hours before the race. You and your team can rack up points by completing challenges such as: ‘Hike to the nearest waterfall – 9 points’, ‘Catch a fish with a fly rod – 12 points’, ‘Donate blood while wearing Dracula teeth – 6 points’, or ‘Donate clothing to a nonprofit serving those in need – 3 points’.
ii. Race Difficulty: Maybe the most inclusive of events and easily doable for anyone and everyone. Even if you can’t manage the big 12-pointers, there are sure to be a few 3-pointers easily within your capabilities and comfort zone!
iii. Cost: $45
iv. Find A Questival Event: https://www.cotopaxi.com/pages/events-questival-home
4. Tough Mudder – Worldwide
i. What to expect: Mud, obstacles, teamwork, more mud, more obstacles, more teamwork, then a little bit more mud, just for the hell of it! Various race type offer a different variety of obstacles, but some of the most notable are ‘Everest 2.0’ (which involves climbing a 15-foot greasy pole), Arctic Extreme (sliding down a chute into ten tonnes of ice!), and Kiss of Mud (a 50-ft mud-crawl under barbed wire)!
ii. Race Difficulty: As easy as the 5-mile, 15-obstacle Half Mudder or as grueling as the 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder, during which you’ll take on up to 20 obstacles on a 5-mile lap for one full turn of the little hand on the clock!
iii. Cost: $20 (Mini Mudder), $215 (Tough Mudder), $550 (World’s Toughest Mudder)
v. Find A Toughmudder Event: https://toughmudder.com/events/find-an-event
5. Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra – Arctic Tundra
i. What to expect: Frigid temperatures, lonely snow-covered landscapes and a true test of your stamina, no matter who you are! The race takes place over the trail of the toughest sled dog race in the world, only you won’t have any dogs to pull you along! Whichever race length you chose, you’ll encounter snow, ice, breaking trail, frozen river crossings and temperatures as low as -40! It isn’t called “the world’s coldest and toughest adventure race” for no reason!
ii. Race Difficulty: Undoubtedly the most extreme adventure on our list. Even the 26-mile and 100-mile events will expose you to the wildest terrain and conditions the Yukon has to offer and only the toughest competitors are likely to reach the finish. The longest race varies annually from 300 miles to 430 miles long…wow!
iii. Cost: $3000 (300-430-mile race)
iv. Find A Yukon Arctic Ultra Event: https://www.runultra.co.uk/Events/Yukon-Arctic-Ultra
6. Untamed New England Adventure Race –
i. What to expect: Over 250 miles of wilderness covered on foot, bike and canoe. The Untamed will test your navigational skills to the max and you’ll be on your own for bike repairs, finding water and food, orienteering and all other necessities and eventualities. Teams have four days to complete the course.
ii. Race Difficulty: Deemed “more adventure than race” by the organizers, the Untamed will undoubtedly test your endurance. It covers over 250 miles of wilderness and teams have up to four days to complete the circuit. With no ‘set’ route, however, the greatest difficulty lies in finding your way and being completely self-reliant. For participants who don’t like the idea of 4 days in the wild without assistance, a ‘buddy’ can be arranged and will meet you at checkpoints along the way.
iii. Cost: $3,850 (4-person team)
iv. Find A New England Adventure Race: http://www.untamedne.com/Register.aspx
7. Island Quest Adventure Race – Washington
i. What to expect: A tough test of navigational skills and your warrior’s backbone in a glorious environment. Hunt down checkpoints on your team’s ‘passport’ and pass ‘transition points’ (from hiking to kayaking or cycling, for example) while making your way through or around one of the San Juan chain’s 175 islands with a map and compass only.
ii. Race Difficulty: Moderate – as long as you’re in reasonable physical shape, have great navigational skills and a keen sense of adventure, you’re good to go!
iii. Cost: $140-280 (3-hour race), $260-520 (12-hour race), plus $50 for Kayak rental and $40 for lodging if required.
iv. Register For Island Quest Adventure Race: https://www.recreationnorthwest.org/quest-adventure-races/san-juan-island-quest/sign/
Whichever of the above adventure races you decide take on, your inner warrior will thank you for it, we’re sure…sign up, and unleash that inner warrior!