In August this year the UK round of the Adventure Racing World Series will be taking place in Scotland, 5 Days of non-stop adventure racing covering up to 500km will see Stirling as the base. The 10th round of the 11 round series will be a multi-sport race that will include running, mountain biking, canoeing and possibly a variety of other ‘special' stages.
In the warm up to this 5 day expedition style race Open Adventure, organisers of the Open 5 and TERREX Coast to Coast events, decided to stage a 48 hour ‘warm up' event taking in some spectacular scenery in the Yorkshire Dales.
The event is designed to give teams of 4 the opportunity to get ready for the longer event and to give those interested in getting in to expedition style racing the chance to experience what a non-stop adventure race is like without being unrealistic in terms of what can be achieved. As Tom Gibbs of Team adidas TERREX stated, ‘ The adidas TERREX Swift is a mini expedition race, it's for people who are stepping up from shorter races to the longer format.'
The event base was the town of Settle and competitors were transported to Kirkby Lonsdale for the start of the race. It comprised six main stages, the first being a 12km run around Kirkby Lonsdale. Competitors headed down the river Lune to Newton where they portaged canoes on to the river for the 30km paddle through Lancaster to Glasson, after reaching the tidal estuary they then egressed at Glasson sailing club for the next stage - a mountain bike back through Lancaster, over the Forest of Bowland to Gisburn Forest, where a mountain Bike orienteering stage awaited.
On visiting as many checkpoints as possible in the forest, the racers cycled on to Kirkby Malham, after transitioning they took on a run stage to Gordale Scar and down through Malham Cove with many competitors tackling this section of the course at night. Checkpoints were located throughout the course and points given for each one dibbed. Teams who did not reach all checkpoints were automatically grouped in to the short course category.
As the teams completed the run through Malham the wind and rain descended on to what was to be a difficult night of racing for many of the competitors. Conditions would test those on the course and a good number of teams decided to take one or two hours sleep to allow the worst of the weather to pass and for the dawn at around 4.30am.
The faster teams managed what was to be the second special stage through tough conditions in the night whilst many took on the abseil off Kilnsey crag as the sun rose. Kilnsey is known in the climbing community as being a fiercely hard crag to climb due to its severe overhanging profile and it was this that was used to good effect as competitors took on the free hanging abseil.
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