So what exactly is the Spring Challenge?
noun. a contest in which teams compete in a race which involves two or more sporting disciplines, often running, mountain biking, rafting (or kayaking) and elements of navigation and orienteering
Who is the event for? who can do it?
The fact you're on this page and reading this, then you can do it. It's that simple! Welcome.
The Spring Challenge is an adventure race for women which began in New Zealand in 2007. It is a team event where 3-women do the entire course together, traveling through the stages as a unit - meaning - it is not a relay team where different team mates do different stages, in adventure racing, the whole team does everything.
Because navigation is a factor, each year the event has a brand new course in a different location, so even for the regular participants, it's always refreshed and exciting, plus there's not a big advantage over teams who are new comers to the sport.
The first step of doing an adventure race is having an appetite for adventure and a desire to embark on a challenge. There are 3-main options for the event, 3, 6 and 9-hour options, plus categories within. Decide what suits your ability and taste best, then build a team of 3-women with a shared goal and ideally, similar ability.
Check the gear list and make sure you have or can source to equipment required for the event. Some years you also need a support crew, 1-2 people who can drive a vehicle around the course area meeting you at various points to resupply and change equipment - but this depends on the course design and location, some years the event is 'self-supported', where you don't require a support crew.
If you're keen to participate, entries open on April 1st each year and the spots can sell very fast.
Okay, you've entered, great!
It's time to get into some training and plan your event. It pays to book accommodation and sort your logistics sooner than later, it's school holidays so things book up fast. Sign up a support crew and get into some adventures. For most of the Spring Challenge women the road to the event is in fact more beneficial and significant than the event itself, so make sure you enjoy the journey.
the event ...
There is a bunch of newsletters that participants receive building up to the event that get everyone excited and prepared. You can also email questions to the staff team if you're unsure about aspects of the event. Because every course is different, the event can change quite a lot from year to year.
For example, some years there maybe 3-stages (1 x raft, 1 x bike, 1 x hike), but other years there can be a total of 8-stages, or more. It all depends on how the course is stitched together. The courses are designed to meet predicted winning times, so distances are not as relevant.
The course itself is kept a secret until the eve of the event. Once you get the map and course instructions, you have the evening to prepare and plan. When the event is underway, staying together as a team, you need to navigate your way around the course visiting checkpoints in numerical order. At the end of the stage you reach a transition area where you meet your support crew, to change from one discipline to the next. Then away you go again!
There will likely be 150-teams on course so chances are you're not alone!