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Steve Wagner / Forum Communications Co., Published April 29 2012

Wagner: Adventure race an enduring experience

Bemidji, Minn.

We stood beneath a gray sky as the wind hurled gusts of 25 mph at us.

Months of planning and anticipation had led to this moment, and we still didn’t really know what was in store for us.

Earlier in the morning, my teammates, Tim and Denise, met me at a Grand Forks restaurant, where we discussed logistics and strategy. It had been an early start for me, too, as I made the trek from Bemidji for our first adventure race.

Regardless of what happened on the course, there was one thing certain: we would look good, in our matching atomic orange vests emblazoned with our own logo.

Tim handled most of the planning up to that point, and made sure we were organized, so Denise and I tapped him as our captain. While we are all experienced athletes, Tim would be the one to have final say on any decisions in the field.

Part of the allure of the Extreme North Dakota Spring Primer Adventure Race this past Saturday at Turtle River State Park, 22 miles west of Grand Forks, was the mixed disciplines required to complete it: running, biking, orienteering and other optional outdoor-related tasks and activities. And teams, even experienced adventure racers, don’t know the routes, distances or where checkpoints will be placed in advance.

An adventure race requires you to figure out and complete tasks on the run. Or while biking, rafting, walking the river, hanging out on a tree limb or climbing through thicket.

For Team STD – taken from the first letter of each of our first names – the main goal was to complete the course and learn a bit more about ourselves and each other.

While we accomplished each of those missions, there were more lasting achievements.

We had trouble finding some of the optional checkpoints to garner extra points. We struggled through and over some of the obstacles. We improvised and accomplished some things I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own. But, most importantly, we shared a lot of laughter along the way and walked away better friends than when we started.

Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@bemidjipioneer.com.