For a while now, I’ve thought of OCR as a gateway sporting activity. Your interest is initially piqued by some cool Tough Mudder profile pictures cropping up, so you do a 5k Major Series (RIP). Then, you might start to flex your muscles with a Survival of the Fittest or similar 10k. After that, the OCR world is your oyster, and you begin to enjoy the benefits of your newfound strength and fitness. You start to relish being outside and pushing your limits. You’re also in a community of people with very diverse interests; orienteering, ultra-running, triathlon, open water swimming, parkour, so you’re exposed to so many different ways to get outside and get active.
When your thirst for adventure isn’t quite quenched by a road or trail race, or even an OCR, things can start to get a little stale. You might want to start embarking on bigger challenges, but the question remains… Are you fit enough? Enter Quest Adventures.
Quest began as the Killarney Adventure Race, back in 2011. 500 people took part, but since then they have grown from a little Irish endeavour, to a multi-venue adventure racing outfit, accommodating up to 10, 000 participants a year. Whilst they are, first and foremost, events that require you to run, bike and kayak, for example, they aren’t aimed at the most hardened of tough nuts – people of any fitness level can give them a go. And let me tell you now, they look INCREDIBLE.
Most Quest events offer three different distances, and though they are multidisciplinary, they don’t require you to swim. Therefore, this is emphatically not a triathlon, and you don’t have to be excommunicated from the Bad Boy Running group on participation. Quest adventures seem like the perfect way to dip your toe into the world of adventure racing without having to cobble together an extortionate kit list or break yourself in training. They provide the kayaks - all you need is a bike, some trainers and a sense of adventure
Though their imminent events are starting to sell out, there are still many races over the coming year – all in picturesque areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The next event takes place in Glendalough on 21st April, then, if you don’t fancy Dirty Weekend, there’s another in Snowdonia (Quest Wales) on May 12th. Other dates and venues can be found here. If you're feeling up to a more gruelling task, there’s even an inaugural ultra-event (Quest 12/24) on August 25th, which will take you 146 or 253km, depending on how much of an adventure bug you have caught.
If entry-level adventure racing in beautiful places might just tickle your fancy, have a look at www.questadventureseries.com. These events look genuinely brilliant - the perfect way to hop the gate into adventuring.