Taking it to the limit
mental strengths in Adventure Races
hiking, ropes work,
orienteering part of challenges
(May 2009) Debora Swinford-Hutcheson leads
a busy life as a counselor, fitness instructor and mother of two. But
in her spare time, she manages to hike, bike, swim, paddle
and train with weights one to three hours each day. As if that is not
enough, during the summer months, she teaches high ropes skills to students
at Indiana State University and can often be found running marathons
or competing in triathlons.
Swinford-Hutcheson, 52, is just one of the dedicated athletes who will
be competing in the seventh annual DINO Series Mission Adventure Race
on May 16 at Carrollton, Ky.s Gen. Butler State Park. Previously,
the race was held at Versailles State Park in Versailles, Ind., but
it moves every two years so competitors will not become familiar with
the course, said Brian Holzhausen, owner of the DINO Series.
is one of the challenges
teams must complete in the
Mission Adventure Races.
We like to keep things challenging, he said.
I used to camp at Gen. Butler State Park every year as a kid,
and I think this park will be a great experience for the racers.
His DINO Series, headquartered in Indianapolis, offers racing events
in mountain biking, trail running, off-road triathlons and adventure
During the 18-hour Mission Adventure race, participants travel by foot,
bicycle, and canoe in teams, using map and compass to find checkpoints.
Each team must stay together the entire race. Along the way, they will
encounter various natural and manmade challenges that test physical
and mental ability and creativity.
The disciplines of the race include navigation throughout the entire
event and plotting with Universal Transverse Mercator coordinates; cycling
on and off-road; trekking; paddling; ropes and climbing tests; and a
few special challenges and surprises.
A shorter, four-hour version of the race, Mission Lite, will also challenge
competitors who may not feel ready for the longer race.
After competing in marathons, triathlons and other races for more than
30 years, Swinford-Hutcheson, of Carbon, Ind., was ready for something
more. A friend of hers that had competed in adventure races invited
her to a seminar about them, and she realized it was something she would
love to do.
Once my friend started describing the disciplines involved, I
was hooked, she said.
She won her first race in October 2008 during an all-womens race
called No Skirts Allowed. My partner and I, Kim McNealy,
were lucky enough to win and that was a total thrill, she said.
I have placed several times, but that was my first win.
Some of the adventure races she has competed in are 24-hour races. She
said the hardest part is about 3 a.m. when ones body and mind
shut down, but there is still a long way to go. It takes a lot
of push to keep moving, and good teammates make all the difference.
She said she has met many wonderful people of all ages, sizes and professions
in adventure racing. I have made some wonderful friends, and we
all love dong these crazy things, together.
Tina Blakely of Bright, Ind., has been an adventure racer for seven
years. She competes on a co-ed team. She said several years ago, she
was watching the Eco Challenge on TV and saw a team that consisted of
Playboy Bunnies. I thought to myself, if those girls can do an
expedition race, I know I can, she said. I participated
in my first race the following year, and I was bit by the endurance
race bug and fell in love with the sport immediately.
a short break during a race.
She is a mother to two small children and works for an
insurance firm and is an assistant cross country and track coach for
the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. She is also a group fitness
instructor and a personal trainer.
Blakely, 38, trains in several different ways. Once she decides on a
race a year in advance, she then bases her cardio workouts and strength
training programs on when the races are scheduled, the distance-duration
of the race and the location. Its challenging to fit it
all in, but the end results are rewarding, she said.
She said the hardest part of an adventure race for her is the navigation-orienteering
aspect. I am very novice at this skill, and to be quite honest,
its probably the most important skill to master, she said.
All of the teams I have been on have had people who are far more
skilled in that area.
She said she has been attending orienteering meets and is working to
learn more about navigation.
Lincoln Crum, of Charlestown, Ind., is one of a group of six friends
who decided to compete in adventure racing as a way to build camaraderie
and create great memories. Five years ago, the group competed at a five-hour
adventure sprint race at Carter Caves in Ashland, Ky.
Finishing that race and with just four minutes to spare was something
weve never forgotten, said Crum, an auctioneer and motivational
speaker for the real-estate industry. We want to create the same
lasting memories in this upcoming race.
He and his friends, who range in age from 30-42, will compete as two
teams in the four-hour Mission Lite race. For the race, they have all
been training on their own, whether it is biking a couple of days a
week, trail running or hitting the gym for some cardio work. It
will be interesting on race day to see how prepared we are, he
said. There will be people more trained and ready for the race
than we are, but we are looking forward to it.
For more information about the DINO Series
Mission Adventure 18-hour race and Mission Lite, visit: www.DINOseries.com.
Back to May 2009 Articles.