Adventure racing is a dynamic and exciting outdoor sport that can be undertaken as an individual in some races or in teams of 2,3 and 4. Adventure races usually involve a number of disciplines that are undertaken during the course of a race including cycling ( both road and MTB ), trekking/ trail running, kayaking and sometimes orienteering and other disciplines. Solo adventure races are usually run on pre-defined and marked courses and are usually shorter in length (Typically between 2 and 15 hours) while team based adventure races are usually longer in length (Typically 5 hours to sometimes several days) and typically involve the whole team moving as a single unit using map reading and navigation to defined control point locations during the race.
The best way of getting into adventure racing is to jump right in and sign up for any one of the solo adventure races that are now being organised around the country. Ideally join up with a friend or family member and you can then train together and prepare for the event. You will need to get yourself a road bike or mountain bike ( depending on the event ), a pair of trail running shoes and some other basic kit like a watheproof jacket, small 1st aid kit, etc. Then just get out and do as much cycling, trail running and paddling as you can before your race. Once you do one race, you will be hooked!
For solo day races such as Quest Glendalough and similar races, the basic equipment is a bike (helmet + puncture repair kit), trail running gear ( shoes, good lightweight jacket ) and small waist / back-pack. You will also need a basic first aid kit, whistle and emergency foil blanket. For the majority of adventure races in Ireland, the kayak and equipment for the paddling section of the course will be provided by the event organisers. There will usually be a mandatory kit list up on all race promotion websites for participants, so it is important to always check that.
For team based adventure races, you will usually require a mountain bike and most of the same outdoor gear. Race map, compass and map case and map board is also usually required for the navigator(s) on the team. As team based races are usually longer, there is often a need to have some extra clothing, lights and food. Again, all race websites will have detailed lists of mandatory and other race specific kit requirements.
The basic skills required to do a solo / day race are being able to jog/run ( Mainly off road ), being able to cycle for a reasonable distance and being able to paddle a kayak. If you are not familiar with a kayak and want to get a taste of what AR is about then many of the Solo AR events offer ‘challenge’ and ‘taster’ events which include a short kayak session and the kayaks in SAR are generally sit-on 2 person kayaks so you can be paired up with someone who has kayaked before…or a friend of course!
For team based races, you will need to be able to mountain bike, trek/run off road and on rough mountain terrain and again paddle. It helps to be comfortable with the core skills of mountain biking for these events. Some map reading and navigation skills are also necessary, for at least one member on every team.
Participating in events organised by the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) is a great way to improve your off road running fitness and techniques and to meet similar minded individuals with who to train and possible form teams.
Typically this is not needed for solo / day races, as you will be following a pre-defined and marked route. For team races, at least one member of each team will need to be able to map read and navigate.
There are many reputable kayaking companies around the country that provide excellent introductory and approved training courses. Research the companies in your area and see what introductory and improver training they offer.
Canoeing Ireland is the National Governing Body for paddle sports in Ireland and provide a range of training courses and information on local kayak clubs. Further information here and here.
Many of the AR events offer basic kayak training on the actual race day route – check out the event website or Facebook for specific details if applicable. ARI can also recommend a number of training providers that offer training specifically tailored for adventure racers. Please contact us with details on your level of kayaking experience ( if any) and preferred location for training and we can forward you some details.
The best way to develop skills for map reading, navigation and other safety skills for trekking and trail running in upland areas is to do a Mountain Skills training course with a qualified and experienced training provider. Mountaineering Ireland is the National Governing Body for Mountaineering in Ireland and lists all training courses on its website here.
Taking part in orienteering events (where many different standards of course are available) is also recommended – See Orienteering Ireland’s website for more details.
ARI can also recommend a number of training providers that offer training specifically tailored for adventure racers. Please contact us and we can forward details.
Unfortunately there are no AR clubs formally established as yet in Ireland but there are informal training groups and teams coming together for training in different parts of the country. ARI aims to support the set up of more AR clubs around the country, and if this is something that interests you, please get in touch
The National Adventure Race Series ( NARS ) is a collection of high quality and exciting one day adventure races for solo participants that are organised independently in different parts of the country each year. The Series is sponsored by Continental Tyres. Further information on www.msai.ie and www.kayathlon.ie
It is expected that in 2021 these events will be formally endorsed by ARI who will oversee the Series administration
The best way is to join up with people you know that might be interested in doing a race and together forming a team. You may know a few people from doing solo races or from clubs / groups in your local area ( bike, tri clubs, trail running groups). You can also make contact with race organisers to let them know you are looking to join a team.
Yes, adventure racing is an international sport, happening in most countries. Most international AR races are team based and range in length from 2 to 10 days. There is a European Adventure Race series which includes races happening in a number of EU countries. There is also a World Adventure Race series which coordinates a series of races around the world with the season finale at the Adventure Racing World Championship where teams compete for the title of World Champion. Check out SleepMonsters calendar for events happening on the international racing scene.
- To become part of the adventure racing community in Ireland ( ROI and NI) and support the development and promotion of the sport
- To receive discounts to races, training events and retail outlet partners
- To meet and get to know other adventure racing enthusiasts in your county/region and around the country and support club development.
- To get access to ARI led training events
- To access the wealth of knowledge of experienced ARI members at online training seminars
- To support the hosting of more adventure races in Ireland.
- To hear about events and things happening in the sport nationally and internationally through ARI website, social media and other communication channels.
- To support the hosting of national and internationally recognised races in Ireland and hopefully provide some support to Irish teams competing internationally.