People debate the origin of adventure racing. The oldest race people point too is the two-day Karrimor International Mountain Marathon. The Karrimor Marathon was two-person teams who traversed the mountains while carrying their supplies. It was the length of two marathons.
Alpine Ironman was held in New Zealand. Athletes ran, paddled and skied. The Alpine Ironman’s creator, Robin Judkins, launched the Coast to Coast race the same year. This race used many of the same disciplines as todays adventure races.
The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic involved six days of unsupported wilderness racing. The course was 150 miles.
Gerald Fusil’s launched the Raid Gauloises in New Zealand. The race included the staples of today’s adventure racing. It had co-ed teams competing in a multi-day 400+ mile race.
The inaugural Southern Traverse was held in 1991.
Mark Burnett after seeing the Raid wanted to promote the race as a major televised sporting event.
He purchased the rights from Gerald Fusil. He then launched the first “Eco-Challenge” race.
Burnett brought the world adventure racing. He promoted his event with Emmy-award winning films (the last taping was last held in 2002).
Eco-Challenge first coined the term “adventure race”. Many people still hope this ground-breaking race will come back, including myself! It seems with the success of so many other shows, by Mark Burnett, Eco-Challenge will not be back.
Primal Quest is now the Olympics of extreme racing. It is run by Don Mann and a fantastic staff that has taken adventure racing back to the grass roots.
Primal Quest is still the biggest race this year. Watch our team as we take on Primal Quest Montana. I thought Primal Quest was an epic race. I still enjoy watching Primal Quest Utah and Primal Quest San Juan as I train each morning.