Primal Quest Adventure Race, the Sprint Series

The Primal Quest brand is synonymous with week-long kill-me-now adventure races through some of the wildest terrain on the planet. (I know: I saw God several times while doing the race in Utah during July of 2006.) But what about applying the Primal Quest structure to shorter races, indeed “sprints” that last just three to five hours.

In a conversation yesterday with Primal Quest CEO Don Mann, I was given some details on a developing new series of races that the company hopes to launch as soon as fall of 2008. The Primal Quest Adventure Race Sprint Series, as Mann preliminarily called it, would involve six to eight races a year spread around the U.S.

Teams of two, yes, two people per team, will race in the 3- to 5-hour events, marching through the common AR disciplines of cycling, trekking/trail running, orienteering, paddling and climbing.

Plus, Mann said he wants to bring back the “mystery challenge,” those hokey team-building activities of AR yore where someone, say, puts an egg in their mouth and runs the 50-yard dash wearing a blindfold. But Mann’s vision of the neo-mystery challenge actually sounds cool: He wants to incorporate military-style field exercises like cargo net climbs and “log drills,” in which a team has to use muscle power and mind to move telephone poles over a wall or through the woods, and so on.

Mann said the Primal Quest Adventure Race Sprint Series will likely kick off with a race in “the Virginia area” in the fall of 2008. There will be 100 people allowed in each event. Up to eight PQ Sprint races could be on the calendar for 2009.

“The sport of adventure racing has taken a hit in the last couple years,” Mann said. “I hope this can replace the void now that sprint race series like the Hi-Tec have gone away.”

Monitor for more details.


1. Stephen Regenold’s feature story on his experience in Primal Quest Utah (2006)

2. Primal Quest Video

3. Photo essay/slideshow on Primal Quest Utah (click on image)

4. Gear Review: Primal Quest Gear, part I: Trekking

5. Gear Review: Primal Quest Gear, part II: Biking

6. Gear Review: Primal Quest Gear, part III: Water Segment


1. Harvard studies Adventure Racing

2. The Adventure Easting Diet

3. Update on AR (Stephen Regenold writes on AR in the New York Times)

4. Gear Review: Mandatory Gear’s Adventure Racing line

5. Gear Review: Salomon S-Lab XA Pro 3 shoes

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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