Updated: Nov 24
India successfully hosts the last race of the calendar year with the Adventure Racing Championship, and Chikkamagalur did it with a bang. This race was special on many fronts. Asia is a developing region and every race under ASIA Series is a stepping stone towards building the sport as well as the community in the region.
On day 1 Admin Day, there were drums, dance, music, and lamp lighting on opening day. Teams were welcomed with a local dance form called “Dollu Kunitha” performed by local artists. The vibe was lit, and we couldn’t be prouder when the District Commissioner of Chikkmagaluru Mr. K.N. Ramesh arrived at the opening ceremony.
The teams also received a message from Ms. Heidi Muller, the CEO of ARWS on this special day. Followed by group photos with the delegates and some wise words and Race Briefing before we head to the mountains to experience Chikkamagaluru like never before. Remember the Start location was completely secret till Day 1.
The start was in a secret location and participants had no clue when they boarded the bus at 4 AM until they got down in the ever beautiful and surrounded by gigantic mountains of the western ghats filled with mist and drizzles - the Kemmangundi, and the monsoon edition of Adventure Racing Championships India race flagged off from the elevation of 1434 Meters above sea level. The race location Kemmangundi has a beautiful botanical garden as the history says the place was a summer retreat of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and as a mark of respect to the king, it is also known as Sri Krishnarajendra Hill Station.
Race Flag off Day
In the presence of Mr. Nagaraj, the Tourism Officer from the Department of Tourism Race was flagged off on the 2nd of July at 8:30 AM with Leg 1 - 24KM Hiking and trail running through the western ghats, slushy and some steep technical terrain. Teams could experience the thrill of the wildest western ghats in Monsoon. Big support from Bhadra Tiger Reserve authorities for sharing their expertise to make sure teams take home an experience like no other and at the same time without disturbing the wildlife.
Plogging During Leg 1 & 2
On this leg, there was an activity as part of the race called “Plogging”. Each team was allocated a trash bag and gloves and was to pick up as much trash as possible and drop it at TA1. Every Team took this additional responsibility and made sure they do their bit to set examples right. Be it tourist or Adventure Racer keep mountains clean and plastic free.
Leg 2: This was an interesting leg “Off-Roading” segment where teams transported in Jeep for the next 13KM till TA 1. Considering the location of this race and wildlife activity around us the decision was to include this restricted section as part of the experience and give teams time to refuel, and relax before the big MTB Challenge. Teams traveled in a closed Jeep for the next 13 Kms in the untamed wilderness. Teams got their next set of maps at TA 1 which is the start of Mountain Biking.
Tree Planting by Teams at one of the Check Point
Under this leg to get one of the CPs teams had another activity to complete, “Planting a sapling”. Each team was allocated one sapling and from digging a pit to planting the sapling following set instructions before you get the next checkpoint. The sapling was planted under the supervision of the forest authorities and our teams made a difference by planting these trees.
Leg 3: This was a trail running segment through the dense coffee estates. Rain and clouds brought the end of sunlight much earlier than expected. This 8KM of multiple curvy routes and terrain made it difficult for navigation choices. Teams spent more time looking for 2 checkpoints than estimated on this leg. Top teams arrived in daylight but completed the leg at the night and took almost 2 hours for 8 km which they are proud of as the orienteering section was made more challenging by the weather gods.
Leg 4: In this segment, water tubing was supposed to happen in a picturesque lake, however, due to heavy rain the lake was above the danger level. For safety reasons this section of the race was canceled for all the teams and teams headed towards the next challenge which was a mammoth uphill toward Karnataka state’s highest mountain.
Chikkamagaluru and western ghat is beautiful and at the same time tricky during monsoons. The weather and winds were constantly changing every hour of the race. Each hour we were losing visibility due to heavy mist, and it was making it super challenging for everyone. We were constantly trying to receive information from our Media, and volunteers who are spread across the course waiting for teams in the chilling and pouring night. Everyone knew this race is going to be challenging and up the game for everyone.
Currently, we work without a tracker and manually track the team’s progress. We had moments when we lost the teams and sent search & rescue to realize they took a detour to fill their tummy.
As the race gets onto night Race Director, core media team and volunteers get onto stealth mode with the teams to see they are safe and moving forward and keep us updated. As a mountain terrain and continuous rains, teams faced multiple landslides, and tree falls which are beyond anyone’s estimation. No one can ever predict what may happen during the race. But we are proud of our teams and their decision, route choices, and attempting a race that was challenging and of course, set the standard for a Championship Adventure Race in India.
Due to landslides and extreme weather variation on the last leg on the mountains, the course was short coursed and based on the maximum course covered team “The Skyrunners” took the win of India’s First “Adventure Racing Championship 2022” in 20 hours 38 Minutes closely followed by Team “Veera Kannadigaru” in 19 hours 15 minutes. These were the only full-course team left on the course, unfortunately, others had to drop out.
With this win “The Skyrunners” becomes the first team from India to race on the international platform at Asia Regional Championship. This team is a mix of ultra-runners and has been racing with NthAdventure for many years. This team is still growing, learning so like other Asia Teams and now our focus is to prepare them better and support them in every possible way.
In addition to this, we had a 70KM Category, and half of the course was the same for them. They were the only category that could visit the Highest point of Karnataka “Mullayanagiri Peak”. “Team Stairs” took the win in 13 Hours 16 Minutes and team “Lastmile Runners” stood second in 15 hours and 18 minutes. And we are sure they are capable of the bigger challenge next time.
We had mixed participation, a team full of IFS Officers, Doctors, Professors, and IT professionals. Team S3G is another competitive team who is preparing for such races, and they had to drop out due to medical issues. These teams have come a long way to build their team.
We would like to thank our teams, volunteers, media and our sponsors in making this event a grand success.
Our Main Partners were:
Department of Tourism - Chikkamagaluru: @chikkamagaluru_tourism
Chikkamagaluru Resort Owners Association: @Chikamagalurresortsassociation
Global Village Resort (Opening Ceremony): @global_village_luxury_resort_
Siri Nature Roost (Closing Ceremony): @sirinatureroost
Simba Beers: @roarwithsimba
Sao Foods: @sao_foods
Department of Tourism - Chikkamagalur, Department of Forest, and Chikkamagalur Resort Owner’s association played a significant role in hosting Adventure Racing Championship and is working towards boosting tourism as well as safeguarding the wilderness. They were involved from Day 1 of planning and made sure every participant coming to Chikkamagalur take home the memories, hospitality, and adventure stories. Chikkamagalur is known for its diverse flora and fauna, mighty western ghats, home for wildlife, rich in history, hospitality, culture, cuisines, and amazing history of coffee. The versatile landscapes are perfectly suited for adventures as well as Tourism around the year. This location is a watch-out for sure and perfectly suited for Expedition Style Racing. It was an absolute pleasure to showcase the hospitality of this wonderful Coffee city to the world through this sport. Also, our sponsors and partners from around the region who constantly supporting the community. We are all in this together with a goal to make India an Adventure Racing destination.”
NthAdventure ends the India calendar of ARWS ASIA Region with this race and now moving on to the new races and new destinations for 2023 hoping to invite other Asian Countries to our Incredible India. Support us and follow our journey on our Instagram page @nthadventure.
It’s time to follow and support the growing Asia Region.
NthAdventure is a Bangalore-based Adventure and Outdoor sports company and is the only licensed organization in India to host Adventure Racing from Adventure Racing World Series - Australia. NthAdventure’s prime focus is to grow and build Adventure Racing and Orienteering community in India. Both the Race Directors have been part of multiple Expedition Races like Expedition Africa, GODZone, and Expedition India. They have been conducting workshops, training sessions, webinars, and multiple sprint races since 2015 to help make Indian teams race ready at global stages.
For more information about NthAdventure and upcoming races do visit https://www.nthadventure.com/
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