With just over two weeks remaining until the start of the 2013 Adventure Racing World Championships (ARWC), the Merrell Adventure Addicts have entered their final phase after an intense two months of training.
Adventure Racing, a sport like no other, has mixed gender teams of 4 persons, navigating via compass and map: on foot, mountain bike or kayak, to collect specified checkpoints. Teams travel unassisted and non-stop from start to finish, refueling and restocking at designated transition areas from pre packed boxes.
Over the past 8 years, the Merrell Adventure Addicts have been regular competitors on the Adventure Racing World Series across the globe and have established themselves in the top tier of World Adventure Racing teams. After finishing seventh at the 2011 World Championships in Australia, the team chose to skip the 2012 World Champs, but is now hungry to get back onto the international stage and mix it up with the top teams in the World. Due to a variety of factors, the Addicts suffered a number of setbacks over the past year and have not lived up to their own high standards, and are eager to get racing again with their regular team members.
Having sat the first part of this year out due to injury, Graham Bird returns to captain the team together with team stalwarts Hanno Smit and Donovan Sims. Team newcomer, Susan Carter-Brown joins for her first international race. After a massive training camp at the beginning of October, the team showed great form at the 150km Merrell Eden Duo at the end of October and now begin winding down their training for the final two weeks before race day. “We are all going well and have had a great build up”, stated Graham Bird. “We are raring to go and excited to be getting back on the World Stage”.
The Merrell Adventure Addicts will be one of the 65 teams (representing 25 nations) traveling to the Central American country of Costa Rica for the 2013 World Champs. “I’ve invested all my ground knowledge from the past 30 years in making a race course that will have nothing to envy any of the ecos or raids in the past”, said Race Director, Pongo Baker. “This will be the last time in Costa Rica’s history that someone will be allowed on the national parks areas that we will race on. The Costa Rican President has issued a letter to us, asking all government and public services to help unconditionally with us, allowing us to traverse across sections of the park and Indian reserves closed to all public.”
In the pre race information the teams have been warned that the “race has gone back to the old school of expedition adventure racing days”. With a tagline of “Coast to Coast…..Border to Border”, the race is set to cover over 800km and is expected to take the winning team over 120hrs to complete. “Racers will be tortured by mother nature elements and most teams will take 9 days to finish, so plan your strategy and food well, as there won’t be many places to reload food on the way … this is the toughest sport in the world and it’s the Adventure Race World Championship Costa Rica 2013”, says Pongo Baker.
“An Adventure Race is as much about beating he conditions and terrain as it is about beating your opposition,” stated Team Captain, Graham Bird. “This race looks like it is going to be epic. It is going to be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Something our team thrives on. Bring it on!”