If you’re looking for a new challenge for 2019, have you thought about adventure racing?
What is adventure racing? Typically it’s a multi-disciplinary sport involving running, biking and kayaking, usually in a team. The races can be any distance, from 5k up to multi-day adventures.
So what are the benefits of doing an adventure race over straight running? Firstly, there’s the obvious advantage of doing a number of different sports together, recruiting additional muscles, not just the usual running ones, helping you become all over strong and fit. Secondly, as well as using your muscles you need to use your brain too. You’ll be required to navigate and use your finest strategy skills to work out which checkpoints to get to. Thirdly, you’ll get to be part of a team, to share the highs and lows. And lastly, it will take you to some incredibly beautiful places!
But don’t just take our word for it. Moire O’Sullivan, top Irish mountain runner who was the first person to complete the Wicklow Round, watched the Quest Adventure Series race in Killarney, Ireland, when it was televised on Channel 4. She says: “They were biking through the stunning Gap of Dunloe, kayaking around the tranquil waters of Muckross lake, running up and down the awe-inspiring Mangerton Mountain. All I could think was, I want to do that too.”
Moire was six months pregnant with her first child at the time and emotionally and physically drained. One reason for her downturn in mood was that she couldn’t continue with her previous pre-pregnancy successes in mountain running and adventure racing. Post-childbirth, Moire quickly returned to training for her next Quest event and credits this with being able to overcome post-natal depression. Fast forward six years and Moire continues to combine being a full-time mum with Quest racing, training while her two young sons Aran and Cahal are at playgroup or school. Signing up for a Quest race provides her with the motivation to train, about which Moire says: “Getting some exercise in daily, whether it is biking or running, gives me time out to be just me and helps me be a better mum once I get back home. My kids see me being active, which means that it is totally natural for them to be active as well.”
Moire believes Quest organise some of the best events within Ireland and the UK. Her experiences competing on their courses are thrilling due to the outstanding outdoor scenery, yet routes are fully marked with clear signage which means participants don’t get lost. Being self-sufficient in adventure racing enables Moire to thrive, which she adds: “There are far more unknowns in adventure racing, which makes the challenge greater, all the more exciting and ultimately rewarding.”
Depending on her fitness levels, Moire can choose various race distances and locations to compete in, such as their impressive event in Snowdonia National Park, Quest Wales. From 5k mini races, to the new Quest24 race that covers 253km, there is a challenge for every individual. The Quest staff and event atmospheres are an additional highlight for Moire:
“The Quest team goes out of their way to make your race as enjoyable as possible. They provide training guides and training days so that newbies are well prepared for the event. They ensure the races run as smoothly as possible, with courses that are expertly marked and marshalled with incredible supporters. They ensure the best photographers are out there to capture you in your finest hour. They provide results that are accurate and quickly online. They also give you cool bling medals that are perfect for post-race selfies.”
She concludes: “You won’t know if you like adventure racing until you try. So, if you’ve even the slightest inkling, sign up. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s no big loss. But if you do, then you’ve entered into a world where new and exciting adventures await.”
Such is Moire’s passion for adventure racing, she was inspired to write a book. ‘Bump, Bike and Baby – Mummy’s Gone Adventure Racing’ details her amazing journey and has been longlisted for the prestigious 2018 William Hill Sports Book of the Year. She’s also the author of the excellent ‘Mud, Sweat and Tears‘ detailing her attempt on the Wicklow Round.
If you’re inspired by Moire’s story and want to trial adventure racing, Quest Wales takes place in the stunning Snowdonia National Park on 8 June 2019. Entries start at £68.00 and you can register at https://www.questadventureseries.com/race/quest-wales/.
If you’re the organiser in your friend group, share your referral link after registration and you can receive £10.00 back from one or more referrals.