Endless Mountains Adventure Race

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This is Adventure Racing - Together in the Endless Mountains

Abby Perkiss & Brent Freedland (Rootstock Racing) / 23.06.2022See All Event Posts Follow Event
/ © Vlad Bukalo / Endless Mountains

It is a rare expedition race when all teams are on the same stage as they near the halfway mark, but that was exactly the case at the 2022 Endless Mountains Adventure Race as racers took on the Stage E 50-mile/80-km rogaine.

Top to bottom, teams spent the day in the Quehanna Wild Area, contending with high humidity, local wildlife, and challenging and technical navigation. Cousins Val and Russ Nordquist reported dancing with a rattler that lay across the trail, seemingly uninterested in moving despite their persistent efforts to spook it. The pair, with more than a decade of experience in northeastern expedition races – and even more in the Pennsylvania woods – have donned sequined tutus since the start of the event, putting smiles on the faces of other racers who encounter them on the course.

The Endless Mountains welcomes teams of 2-4 racers across gender divisions, and the diversity in composition was on display as the field took on the Wilds. Characteristic of life in 2022, Jason Glenn, Jason Maday, and Mike Kuschner of Rival Racing came together via – what else? – the Adventure Racing Teammate Finder on Facebook.

The threesome spent the spring racing together in various iterations in preparation for this week. At the last minute, Danny Collins, a member of the staff putting on the new ARWS demo race Expedition Ozark, joined them, and they have spent the first half of the race transitioning from four individuals to a coordinated and connected team.

On the other end of the spectrum is Electric Mayhem, comprised of siblings Clay and Kate Ballantine and Kate’s husband Jason Andras. They have been racing together since 2018 but they have been adventuring together for decades, and it shows in their on-course personality. They finish each other’s sentences, laugh easily, problem solve collaboratively, and swap snacks along the way. Clay’s movie trivia compliments Kate’s memory for showtunes, and the threesome shares the same philosophy of training and performance ambitions. Their biggest challenge, Jason reflects, is that sometimes they’re chatting so much that they miss a turn or lose track of their spot on the map. When it happens, they troubleshoot easily.

And then there are the teams who have been racing against and alongside each other for years, who fall into step and journey on together. They find their people.

This is what has stood out to Nic Wynia, a Philadelphia-based documentarian who has traveled to the PA Wilds as a member of the event’s media team. Wynia has spent the first three days embedding himself in the field and capturing racers in his striking black-and-white photography. This is his first introduction to adventure racing, and he has been struck by the way teams care for each other. Even as they compete in the standings, they look out for one another. They share snacks. Swap strategies for navigation and route choice. Hug. Laugh. Cry. They hold each other and lift each other.

This is adventure racing.

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