Adventure race at Kings Pond
March 18, 2010
- Teams run, cycle, complete skills tests
Mud, briars, and a little rain didn't stop 16 teams from competing Saturday in the first Fort Benning Adventure Race at Kings Pond.
"We didn't know what to expect when we arrived here - what the course was like or what we would have to do," said Sean Reeves, from Fort Rucker, Ala., who has never competed in an adventure race before. "It turned out to be a lot of fun."
Teams of two and three completed two skill tests. One test involved shooting an azimuth across Kings Pond to find different points. In the other test, teams used two wooden boards and a piece of rope to carry a full water cooler around a course - without dropping more than four inches of water. And they couldn't touch the handles or nozzle.
The race included two running treks more than three miles each and a cycling stretch of more than seven miles. Along the way, teams had to find 22 checkpoints hidden in the forest using the maps provided. At each checkpoint, participants had their cards stamped as proof they went to the right checkpoint.
Thomas Sheehan was one of the first-time adventure racers.
Sheehan's team, Brave and the Bold, opted to travel on an off-road route, crossing railroad tracks. The team ended up waist-deep in muddy water and had to carry their bikes the majority of the time instead of riding them during the cycling portion.
"The race was incredible - very challenging," Sheehan said. "There is a lot of science that goes into it, especially the navigation aspect. You can (stay on the path) or you can try and go off -road to save distance, but the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line, so it doesn't always work in your favor."
The most challenging part of the race for Joe Defer was cycling through the mud and running through briars to get to the checkpoints. Because of a downpour Friday, the course remained muddy Saturday.
"Our team just focused on working hard and getting to the finish line," he said.
Drefer, Will Bodie and Ray Plasterer, also known as Team Tres, took first place overall and first place in the three-man team division with a time of 1 hour, 46 minutes and 14 seconds and found all 22 checkpoints. They were awarded Fort Benning cycling shirts.
"It was a good time," Drefer said. "I think this could be a popular event at Fort Benning in the future."
Kelly Pulliam, race director, said she was happy with the turnout and expects more teams to compete next year.
"I think once the word gets out about the race, more people will want to compete in it," she said.
Possible changes for next year's adventure race include extending the race from three hours to six hours, said Ken Wetherill, Fort Benning sports director.