The SleepMonsters 2014 Adventure Racing Year Review
Rob Howard / 07.01.2015
It’s been another bumper year of endurance and adventure race journalism on SleepMonsters.
Variety is the Spice of Life
There is never a dull moment and often the surprise of a new race, or an exotic new location to report on. (I’d never heard of the North Mariana Islands until we reported on an event there this year!)
Adventures on foot, bike and water keep a welcome variety of news and race reports coming in.
We’ve covered events in 48 different countries this year and these include traditional adventure racing, multisport, Xterra, trail running, rogaining, mountain marathons, ultras, Enduro, MTB Stage races, kayak and canoe marathons, obstacle course racing, Swim-Run, open water swimming and events including some sailing and paragliding too!
The stats are that we published 768 news stories and race reports, plus more features. That’s more than 2 per day so if you not on the site regularly you are missing something!
Out of the Office
Many of these reports came from races, racers and press releases of course, but where possible we like to get out and about ourselves and report from a race ‘live’, which is a lot harder, but a lot more fun!
Among the highlights from travels this past year were the Patagonian International Marathon and ultra run and the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage race – two of the most awesome places on the planet to run. Closer to home (mine anyway) were the ITERA World Series race in Wales and the Beast of Ballyhoura in Ireland, which will be the 2015 European Championships. Both managed to take competitors (and this reporter) to new places in well travelled areas, something all good races should do.
The 2014 European Championships in Turkey and the World Championships in Ecuador took teams through some amazing scenery and left everyone involved wanting to go back there to race again and explore more of these fantastic countries. And not to forget the Merrell Kong Vinter which was our first live race report last year and will be again this year … very soon!
Apart from distracting people from their work during the week one of our aims is to have only a small audience at the weekends, as we hope we’ve encouraged our readers to get out and race, or to travel somewhere new and maybe take on that once-in-a-lifetime challenge. (We should carry a warning that it might be more of lifestyle change than a one-off perhaps!)
Adventure racing and endurance sports are by their nature inspirational to those who find the stories of the athletes and their achievements astonishing. (Though it’s true the majority probably can’t comprehend or understand them.)
Even so some stories stand out more than others. The video of Shane James, who overcomes the debilitating effects of Stiff Person Syndrome through ultra-running was one of the most compelling we’ve posted, and just today our Facebook page features another runner at the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race, Sarah Russell, who completed the race after having an ileostomy and ran with a colostomy bag.
Just recently adventure racing legend Antonio de la Rosa completed his solo row across the Atlantic and earlier in the year 12 year old Hunter Leininger completed a 3 day non-stop expedition race in Florida. And who could forget the courage of Arthur the dog at the AR World Champs, and the compassion of the team he bonded with.
When the news is so often dreary and depressing you can always be assured of some life affirming and uplifting news on SleepMonsters.
We Couldn’t Have Done it Without You
As the Editor I’m the front end of the SleepMonsters pantomime horse, and the back end is Richard Brown our Technical Director who keeps things moving forward so you can read all the AR news.
Yes there are only two of us (we are not a multinational corporation), so we rely on the voluntary help of a few dedicated photojournalists, particularly Anne-Marie Dunhill, Carrick Armer and Adam Rose. They really do go to the ends of the earth to get you the stories.
The support of the racers who send in their reports for publication is vital and first hand race accounts are always welcome – we could do with more. Cory Wallace, Scott Cole and Richard Ussher are among the most regular contributors on their adventures.
We need the support of those races which are professional enough to send out regular news and updates too. (Not many realise that it’s a good idea to actually let someone know about their events!)
And, of course, we couldn’t report live from races without the support and assistance of the race organisers who partner with us for the coverage of their events and help ensure we can do the best job possible.
The obvious way to finish these musings is to look ahead to what is coming up in the year ahead but the truth is there is no master plan and we don’t know what is going to happen from one day to the next!
You’ll just have to keep reading and watching the site and our social media to see what adventures arrive in 2015.