|By: Rob Howard|
Endurance Quest is a new entrant in the ARWS calendar this year. I met up with course designer and long time successful adventure racer Pete Forsman to discuss the upcoming race and to get some hints about what we can expect to see in Finland at the of July.
Tell us about the history of Endurance Quest.
After racing in different adventure races around the world since the year 2000 or so, I started thinking about organizing a longer nonstop adventure race in Finland that would meet international standards. From the beginning, the idea was to organize the toughest sports race in Finland. That’s how we began. There has been a few years’ break but now we are back tougher than ever!
EQ was last organized in 2005. Why the comeback?
It seems we left a big hole in many people’s hearts, because during the last years, people have been asking for it many times. Also, after the first years we had a feeling we didn’t accomplish everything, because we didn’t attract as many international teams as we wanted. This year we had a chance to be part of the ARWS series and make Endurance Quest better known internationally. In the future, we want to make EQ the world championship race, perhaps in 2014.
It seems you have succeeded in attracting international teams this year.
Yes, we will see well over 20 teams from eight different countries at the starting line, which is a lot more than we thought. The teams are mainly from Europe, but we are excited to welcome one team from far as Argentina.
There are many different disciplines in EQ. Is that how you started to plan the course?
Yes, that’s an important part of it and that’s how we want to differ from other adventure races. In addition, another big theme of the race is the Finnish sea and archipelago. My idea was to design a course I would like to race myself. And I can honestly say we have a fantastic course, both at the sea and on solid ground.
What kind of races do you like and is that what we’ll see in EQ?
Personally, I don’t like races that concentrate on including as many uphill sections to the race as possible. The EQ course will be relatively even, compared to races organized in mountain areas. I also like races that have shorter sections and more discipline changes, and provide wonderful views on the way. And yes, that’s what you’ll see in EQ as well.
Can you give us a hint what to expect or how to prepare for EQ?
As I said earlier, the sea and different water elements play a big role in EQ. I would advise the competitors to spend enough time practicing their kayaking skills. Those who think they can manage with practicing once a week, will either let their team down or underestimate the about 20 hours of kayaking that await them. Also, the competitors might want to think about what they need to wear if they get wet in the chilly early morning hours.
What is the most difficult part of organizing a race like EQ?
There will be both fast and experienced teams and those who are trying proper adventure racing for the first time. This brings many challenges to the organizers. We estimate that the time difference between the first and the last team can be at least 24 hours after just two days of racing. This will bring challenges especially to the race logistics. But we will have a plan B, C, and even plan D so that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.
What will the weather be like in Finland at the end of July?
Warm and sunny I hope! In a long race like EQ you can expect sun, rain, wind and everything in between. Typically the temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius during the day. The nights can be chilly, especially in the early morning hours.
EQ is now less than two months away. How is the EQ organizing team going to spend it?
We are finishing the race course bit by bit every week. Things will get busier and busier during the summer, but I can gladly say we have everything under control. See you in Finland in July!