Adventure Racing returns to Koh Samui
By Jules Kay
Adventure Racing has been growing in popularity worldwide over the last few years. A dynamic team sport that also draws large crowds of spectators, this multi-disciplinary contest pushes competitors to their limits.
In Asia in particular, Adventure Racing has taken off in a number of countries with exercise fanatics from around the region gathering regularly in various locations to test each other's skills and endurance. The larger events also draw participants from around the world, both at the professional and amateur level, with spectators following the racers as they switch from road to forest, mountains to the ocean.
Teams and Divisions
Adventure Racing teams generally consist of 2 racers and the race is divided into separate categories for men, women and mixed teams. Specific categories also exist for various age groups such as Masters Men (for teams over 80 years combined) and Grand Masters Men (for teams over 100 years combined). Entrants often compete at pro and amateur level at the same time, the major difference being the length and difficulty of each stage in the race and the amount of time taken to complete the entire course.
The main disciplines in an adventure race are:
The competitors hike and run through tropical forest, paddle and swim in the sea and cycle over hills with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. To keep things exciting, the course designers also build in other mystery tests to keep the competitors on their toes.
Experienced teams and athletes generally opt for the longer 'Extreme" courses, while newcomers and weekend enthusiasts compete on a shorter "Adventure' course. Average timings for the completion of a given course depend on the terrain and obstacles that have to be overcome.
The Koh Samui Trophy
The third edition of “The ibis Koh Samui Trophy” takes place this September and will once again bring this new, spectacular and fast growing sport to the South of Thailand. Supported by ibis Hotels Thailand, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Tourism Association of Koh Samui and the Thai Hotel Association of Koh Samui, the Adventure Race is expected to attract 100 teams from around the world. Top Asian teams from China, Hong Kong and Singapore will challenge local racers and last year's winners Saman Gunnan and Seree Ruansiri. The Asia Pacific Adventure team led by Adventure Racing Star Ryan Blair will be the main contenders in the Extreme division, with the Chiru Endurance team from Hong Kong also racing for glory.
As well as the racing itself, The ibis Koh Samui event will also feature 3 days of activities, including an expo for sponsors to promote their products and services, parties and VIP hospitality, a crowd pleasing sprint Adventure Race, a kids fun run through Bophut Fisherman's Village, dance shows and songs from local schools and the final Trophy presentation party.
“We are very excited to bring quality Adventure Racing to Samui again” says Serge Henkens, the Race Director and managing director of Active Management Asia. “We also want to involve local communities and people who are not keen to compete in a strenuous adventure race. Schools will animate the activities throughout the day with dances, show and songs”.
An Eco Race
Adventure Racing is an environmentally-friendly sport with minimal impact on the natural surroundings. The organisers of the Koh Samui Trophy, Active Management Asia, also see the event as a chance to promote better awareness of the environment and to encourage the preservation of nature for future generations.
The competitors in Adventure Racing are usually young, urban professionals from a variety of backgrounds, but all with a common interest in sport, leisure and travel. The Koh Samui Trophy therefore helps promote Koh Samui as a natural, healthy destination, while showcasing the island's natural appeal to people who will then pass on the experience to their friends and colleagues. With strong support from the local government, tourist organisations and the hospitality sector, the annual event is growing every year to become one the region's most popular Adventure Race gatherings.