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Adventure Race challenges with five-hour course

Blood, sweat, cut-up shins, five hours of biking, canoeing, jogging and a walk through a prop minefield all made up the 2011 Fort Benning Adventure Race at Kings Pond Saturday.

The Adventure Race consisted of four legs: long jog, short jog, a mountain bike trail and a canoeing portion.In the event’s second year, the race consisted of 39 teams, an increase from the 17 which participated in last year’s race.

Members of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports Department designed this year’s course, which circled around Kings Pond and was estimated to cover between 30 and 35 miles.

“This year’s course is substantially more difficult than last year’s course,” race coordinator Joanne Cain said. “Last year’s course was like a pilot.”

Teams were composed mostly of two or three persons, although there were two individuals who also competed. The event coordinators recognized an overall winner as well as the top three finishers in the two- and three-person team categories.

Daniel Wooline, one of two members of the Striker team, which won first place in the two-person team category, said the race presented several challenges, including some surprises he was not prepared for. Wooline and his teammate, Peter McCrea, finished the race with a time of four hours, 36 minutes and 13 seconds.

For Team Striker, canoeing proved to be the most difficult leg because of a lack of experience.

Cain said the length of the race last year was designed to be three hours and did not have a canoeing portion.

However, once Team Striker got past the canoeing leg and the long jog, it was able to make up time through the mountain bike leg, which Wooline said was a strength.

“We plotted our route to where we would hit the most downhills to make up some time,” Wooline said.

The most challenging new aspect of the race may have been the locations of the checkpoints. Teams had to get to the checkpoints, which were marked by white and orange bags, in order to gain points. Each team was given a map with marked checkpoints and a card, which had to be stamped to prove the team went to the correct checkpoint.

“Last year, a lot of the points were blatantly obvious,” Cain said. “They were orange and white bags in the middle of green. It just adds a little more adventure to adventure racing. You’ve got to keep your eyes open, scout out your area and look around for the bag.”

While the checkpoints of the canoeing leg were easily spotted on the edges of Kings Pond, the checkpoints of the jogging and mountain biking legs were nestled in the woods just off the course trails. Reaching some of the checkpoints required trips through briar patches, which caused participants numerous cuts and scrapes.

“It wasn’t that bad at first, but three hours after you got cut it started hurting,” McCrea said.

The Adventure Race also threw participants off tempo with short “special skills” challenges, which required teamwork and communication and very little physical activity. In one challenge, a teammate had to be blindfolded and walk through a gimmick minefield, listening to the directions of another teammate to guide him.

“It’s part of the Adventure Race; come prepared for everything,” Cain said.

Adventure Race results

Overall Winner: Big Dog Racing (72 points, 4:47:57)

Three-person teams: 1. Fire and EMS (68 points, 4:53:50); 2. Lost Tourists (60 points, 4:57:49); 3. Day of Rage (58 points, 4:57:30)

Two-person teams: 1. Team Striker (62 points, 4:46:13); 2. Chabalko/Nash (60 points, 4:47:30); 3. Blue Spaders (59 points, 4:37: 50)

Individuals: 1. Jeff Killian (71 points, 4:47:58), 2. Donald Randall (58 points, 5:10:06)