Over 100 take part in Shawnee Mission Park ‘Adventure Race’ Sunday

SHAWNEE, Kan. — It’s not your standard 5K, 10k, triathlon or even Iron Man race. Have you ever heard of ‘adventure racing?’

Well, on Sunday morning, over 100 people proved this race is growing in popularity and anyone can do it, as long as they are willing to face the challenge.

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Dozens of people showed up in waves at Shawnee Mission Park with water packs strapped to their backs and real maps they in hand so they could study the trails before starting on their long journey.

The goal of the adventure race is to swim, bike or paddle to more than 35 hidden checkpoints scattered around the park. The person or team who finds the most checkpoints in less than six hours wins. However, no GPS or phones are allowed.

It’s a rigorous and stressful challenge, but sometimes it’s not the most fit people who win. It’s the best navigators.

“I’ve been a runner since forever. I’m not as fast as I used to be but I also taught map reading skills when I was in the military, and I taught primary non-commissioned officer training school for the U.S. army,” said 67-year-old Adventure Racer Howard Ward.

“I taught a lot of map reading and stuff there, so map reading has always been one of my strong points.”

Another participant, Adventure Racer Seth Peterson, said, “Typically I’m just constantly looking at the map and tracking where I am in relation to different [topographic] features and trails. It is pretty hard yeah.”

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Teams who signed up for the Adventure Race got to name themselves. Some of the the fan favorites include, “Hot Mess Express”, “Over Confident and Under Trained” and “The Lost Boys.”

Some racers at Shawnee Mission Park took the two-hour-long trek, while many others committed to the six-hour race. However, this is not their first rodeo.

Many of these athletes have already done similar races in different states and terrains and over the span of multiple days.

For example, one of the participants raced for 72 hours in the alligator-infested waters of Florida. They raced day-in-and-day-out, sleeping along roadsides, ditches and even their canoes.

Although the Adventure Race in Shawnee was not as extreme, it doesn’t take away from the impressiveness, dedication and hard work these racers have put into this challenge.

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If you are interested in participating in next year’s adventure race, more information is available on the Johnson County Parks and Recreation District website.

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