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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.