2014 Expedition Africa race gets underway in South Africa. This year's event will feature 40 coed teams of four, from 17 different countries, competing against one another in what has become the premiere adventure race on the continent. It also serves as a qualifier for the AR World Series, which will hold its championship in Ecuador in November.
This year's edition of Expedition Africa will feature a 500 km (310 mile) course that runs through the Kwa-Zulu Natal region, along South Africa's wild and beautiful South Coast. Once underway, the teams will race non-stop on foot, mountain bike, and kayak. As is typical with the sport, teams will have to navigate between checkpoints using only a compass and a map, a surprise disciplines such as climbing, rappelling, orienteering, and swimming, are likely to be a part of the race as well. The top teams are expected to complete the course in as few as four days, while the rest of the competitors will have up to eight days to reach the finish line.
The race has once again attracted some of the top teams in the world, with defending champs Haglofs Silva of Sweden returning to see if they can defend their title from last year. American squad Tecnu should also be a strong contender, as will the very experienced team of Seagate from New Zealand. Merrell Adventure Addicts and Team Cyanosis, both from South Africa, have raced in the past two Expedition Africa events as well, and are hoping to bring home the win for the host country.
The race is scheduled to begin on Sunday, which is when the live tracking of team locations will launch as well. You'll be able to get updates from the Expedition Africa Facebook page and Twitter feed throughout the race too. Additionally, my friend Lisa de Speville, a veteran adventure racing journalist, will be posting updates and race analysis at www.AR.co.za.
It should be a fun and exciting race to follow. The setting alone should give this race a feel like no other. It is also just the second AR World Series qualifier of the year, after the GODZone Adventure Race that took place in New Zealand in March.
Good luck to all the teams! Have fun and race smart.