Who Wants To Join An Adventure Race? (Part 1 Of 2)

Having never gone on a real adventure race in my entire life, I find it so exciting to explore the beauty of nature that many may not be able to see in their entire life. That once-in-a-lifetime opportunity makes the journey a bit more special. I see it as a way to enjoy what nature has to offer that we often take for granted. Adventure races do just that by identifying beautiful places and creating a pathway for adventure enthusiasts to view AND compete through each different location. Finding these places tucked away in the mountains and jungles can be difficult. But these races plan everything to the tee making sure the competitors have the time of their lives, yet stretchy enough for that extra thrills. Interested yet? Let’s explore what exactly an adventure race is and what to expect if you were interested in joining one.

Six men hiking on top of a rock mountain with gears.
Hikers atop McKenzie Bridge, Oregon in the United States of America conquering a steep trail, surrounded by amazing landscapes everywhere they look.
Photo by Eric Sanman from Pexels

What Is An Adventure Race?

The definition is in the name. It is an adventurous race of multi-sports classically consisting of trekking, swimming, kayaking, mountaineering, and cycling. More recently, The Adventure Racing World Series – Malaysia launched in 2019 has its very own specialty discipline: tree climbing. Yes, climbing a tree with just a harness and rope. How much more exciting can that be? Well, unless you’re afraid of heights, but we’re all about conquering our fears here.

A man looking down from a cliff to a layer of clouds.
An explorer arriving at the top of Central Bosnia Canton in Bosnia and Herzegovina greeted by a bed of clouds as far as the eyes can see.
Photo by mirsad mujanovic from Pexels

The most popular and well-known adventure race internationally is The Amazing Race. There’s one for the United States, Canada, and of course Asia. There are four racers in a team, usually with at least a racer from each gender. The duration can last as long as hours to days. In extreme races like the Eco-Challenge, it can go as long as a week. How wild!

A women scaling a rock which is a common adventure race sport.
Scaling up high rocks and cliffs may look terrifying and dangerous, but to adventure seekers, this is an adrenaline rush they’d do a million times over again.
Photo by Min An from Pexels

With that in mind, the people who compete in these races have to be very well prepared and experienced. They go through at least six months of rigorous training prior to their race date, focusing on endurance and nutrition. So, you must be thinking, why does a person like me, who has never gone on a single adventure race, WRITE about adventure races? Well to me, this is my way of declaring to the world that I too am ready to take my adventure to the next step.

The True Meaning Of Adventure Race

The closest I’ve ever been to an adventurous race were an obstacle course, extreme parks, and adventure clubs. It never occurred to me how much I craved quests. I loved going to airports because travelling unravels so many new experiences. And the free-falling experiences during wall climbing, when I was a member of my secondary school’s wall climbing club, was still fresh in my memory. To be honest, adventure racing is always something I’ve always wanted to compete in. There’s thrill in trying new things even when they’re unpleasant. Being with people who would become your support system on these journeys and to also share your memories with, just seem like the right thing to do in life. Who’s with me?

Two boys sitting looking out to a view of mountains and rocks after hiking.
Having a friend that you PURPOSELY bring with you to spend hours or days together ALONE is a big deal. Strengthen your bond by exploring together the true meaning of life on earth.
Photo by Marco from Pexels

There Is No Criteria To Become Adventurers

I always feel like a part of me is missing and waiting for someone, anyone to bring me on their adventure. When I see others compete, I never thought I could ever be like them. So free and determined. The only map I know how to read is a shopping centre map, and there is no one around me who shares the same dream. But recently, I realised that waiting is just a fear of thinking you’re not good enough to achieve an adventure on your own.

A man looking out to a green landscape of cliffs and mountains filled with waterfalls.
A beautiful lush green landscape on Faroe Islands, Denmark is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to adventure travelling and racing. You’ll be amazed at every single spot, no doubt.
Photo by S Migaj from Pexels

Adventures are spontaneous, imperfect in all its glory, and exhausting. It’s an adventure because you never know what to expect. It’s an adventure because you do it for yourself, and you only. They don’t have to be grand. You can be taking a walk in a park and get lost whilst trying to walk back home. Leading you to places that you’ve never seen before, putting a smile on your face. You’ve just got to let your feet lead the way and look onwards.

A man and a woman looking out to the forest on an adventure race of their own, throwing their hiking poles up in joy.
We humans are curious beings. We can’t help ourselves in learning more about the planet we live in. Let’s be kids again and raise our hands in the air to revel in mother nature.
Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev from Pexels

There’s An Adventure Race Waiting Just For You!

That’s right, it’s waiting for you because you haven’t realised that an adventure is what you need. To get to your final destination at the top of a mountain or finish line and scream, “MUM, WE MADE IT!” or something of that sort… And to collapse from the oncoming exhaustion. These are all memories that will make us think back and realise that we at least did something right. A memory that erases almost all regrets. So, look outside around you to the beauty that’s in the world you live in and run to the first thing that grabs your attention. It’s an adventure waiting to be explored.

A man carrying his young daughter in a back harness on a hike around a mountain and river to venture in their own adventure race.
A father and his daughter hiking together may be the cutest thing I’ve seen today. But if that doesn’t inspire me to plan my next hike, I don’t know what will.
Photo by Josh Willink from Pexels

Novice Adventure Racers: Easy Come, Easy Go

We would all love to jump into a REAL AUTHENTIC adventure race that we’ve been eyeing for some time now, together with our desired DREAM TEAM. But to enjoy the race without being bothered with the technicalities, we must learn and train how to navigate, apply first aid, and endure the harsh environments. This is important because even before you can apply for a race, adventure races make sure you know what you’re signing up for by requiring the teams to take a competency test. You have to be COMPETENT in the race activities because safety is a priority.

A woman teaching a girl how to work a harness and rope in an adventure park.
A girl learning how to properly handle her harness to participate in obstacle courses safely. Experiencing extreme sports is the window to adventure racing, so have fun and bring along your family and friends. Who knows, they could become a part of your DREAM TEAM if you’re lucky.
Photo by Nishant Aneja from Pexels

Slow And Steady Wins The Race!

Waiting to become adventurous enough to be qualified for an official race might take some time, so use it to gain the lessons that only experience can give you. Join all the adventures that are available to (or near) you to find the equilibrium between fun and risk-taking. Sink your itching ‘feet’ into thrilling adventure parks, where people come to unleash their adventurous side. My favourite park is the Escape Theme Park in Penang, Malaysia where I frequent with my family every year on our heritage road trip.

A man zip-lining into the forest in an adventure park.
Adventure parks usually include activities like zip-lining as shown above, obstacle courses, wall climbing, and much more. It’s an adventure haven and perfect for people just starting out.
Image by AaronHM from Pixabay

Let’s Be Proud Malaysian, Locals!

Better yet, why not start with your country’s adventure getaways before you expand your search overseas? TourHQ allows explorers willing to take this chance by providing tour itineraries around the world ranging from classical sightseeing to physical activities like snorkelling and hiking. The tours are unique to their localities as they use local tour guides to aid travellers in their adventure experience. For Malaysia, they include hikes to Mount Kinabalu, snorkelling in Little Dinawan Island in Kota Kinabalu, City Tours in Malacca, and much more you can find here. Not to worry for those staying at home in quarantine from COVID-19, because they even provide online tours so you can learn from home the history and culture of different places. To prepare you for that one day when you get to go outdoor to live your adventures.

A big golden statue of a Hindu idol and colourful stairs of a place called Batu Caves.
This is a famous Hindu shrine located in Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia, a popular tourist attraction. I am a Malaysian myself, and the closest I got was driving past it on my way home.
Photo by Niko Cezar from Pexels

However, locals can also use this platform to explore their country as ‘foreigners’. To see their country as to how foreigners would. It’s sad to hear that many locals have not yet visited their own country’s famous tourist attractions. Or never even heard of the amazing places many foreigners have travellled to. So take this chance to KNOW your country so we can be PROUD locals. Remember, this is your adventure race. Are you ready to take on the next adventure? Stay tuned for my upcoming episode if you want to know how to transition from a novice to a world-renowned adventurer.

Which of these adventures have you conquered already?

About Dina GHAZALI

Raised abroad almost her entire life, Dina is well exposed to the multi-cultural world around her. Penned her innermost thoughts on paper as a child, and eventually fell in love with writing. Aims to be a successful writer one day.

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