Friday, August 21, 2015

Primal Quest Adventure Race Underway in Tahoe

A legendary adventure race has risen from the ashes, and is currently underway near Lake Tahoe in California. The 2015 edition of Primal Quest began yesterday, with 11 coed teams of four setting off on a 400+ mile (643 km) expedition-length course that is expected to take up to seven days to complete. The start of the race marks the return of one of the truly epic brands in the sport.

If there are two races that have epitomized adventure racing in the past, it is the Eco-Challenge and Primal Quest. Both were considered the toughest, most grueling races on the planet back in the day. Eco-Challenge – which was created by TV mogul Mark Burnett – was the event that brought adventure racing to a world stage, making a much larger audience aware of the sport for the very first time. It drew millions of viewers who mesmerized by the amazing athletes who spent days racing through some of the most challenging environments on the planet. But the race folded up shop back in 2002 and passed the torch on to its spiritual successor – Primal Quest. That even ran from 2002 to 2009 with some truly epic courses of its own. 

Despite a few rumblings of a possible return over the years, PQ remained off the AR schedule for a long time. It has returned at last however, with a new race management team that hopes to rebuild the brand back to its original status. 

Right now, the teams taking part in the race are into the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where over the next few days they'll be running, mountain biking, paddling, and climbing their way along the route. As I write this, the lead teams are through the early checkpoints and are well into the competition. Team Bones from the U.S. is running in first place through CP 8, while Team GodZone of New Zealand is currently in second through CP 6. They're being chased by the Team Too Much Fun Club, who are in third through CP 6 as well. Considering there are 31 total checkpoints in the event however, there is a lot of racing yet to come. 

As someone who served on the staff of the previous two Primal Quest races, I'm glad to see PQ back on the schedule. Hopefully it continues to be a successful event in years to come. Good luck to all the teams racing this week as well. Have fun and stay safe. 

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