A new type of athlete is coming to western North Dakota.
They call themselves adventure racers - for good reason.
On Saturday, fifteen teams, including more than 45 participants, are signed up to compete in a 36-hour competition that will test the competitors’ strength, endurance and navigation abilities.
The adventure race is being hosted by ENDracing - Extreme North Dakota Racing - as part of the North American Adventure Racing Series. ENDracing is an organization focused on bringing adventure racing to the Great Plains of North Dakota.
The race headquarters will be in Killdeer, but racers will cover hundreds of miles of western North Dakota.
Adventure racing is a multi-sport event that usually involves canoeing or kayaking, along with off-road biking and running events. But unlike triathlons or other endurance sports, adventure races do not include marked courses, said race director Andy Magness.
“There is no specific route,” he said.
Instead, competitors are given checkpoints that they must reach, and are only allowed to be guided by a map and compass.
While ENDracing has been hosting adventure races in North Dakota since 2009, this is the first time an adventure race will be held in western North Dakota, Magness said.
“It’s just grown organically since 2009,” he said.
The entry fee ranges from $200 for a single person to $800 for a team of four.
Magness is an adventure race athlete himself, and has competed in competitions across the United States and around the world.
“It’s a pretty challenging event,” he said. “There’s a small subset of people who can do it and actually enjoy themselves.”
Magness said there are several participants from North Dakota. Other competitors are coming from as far away as the East Coast and Colorado, he said.
The athletes aren’t the only ones excited about the event.
“I believe these types of events are important,” Carie Boster, the Dunn County economic development director. “It shows that we can utilize and interact with this beautiful landscape.
He added: “I’m excited for this. This is how we get people excited about moving here. It shows we’re more than just oil.”
Brown is a regional reporter for The Dickinson Press. Contact him at 701-456-1206 and follow him on Twitter at Andy_Ed_Brown.