You wouldn’t expect to find marshmallows, climbing rope, and spaghetti strands in the same place at an outdoorsy race except that is exactly what you found at Krell’s Adventure Games. Last weekend a friend and I competed as partners at this race next to a farm in the middle of the Hudson Valley area in New York and we did not have any idea of what to expect. Having competed in a multitude of racing events this year involving climbing ropes, being electrocuted by hanging wires, crawling under barbed wire, and carrying 100 pound sandbags, I had the impression that this was going to be an easy race as it is not your normally promoted obstacle race that makes you sign a death warrant. Boy was I wrong!
The Johnny Sileno Wishes for Wellness Foundation is the charity that receives raised funds for pediatric cancer research. The event alone raised over $1,500 dollars for the charity and we had approximately 135 participants and 4 divisions to compete in: All Male, All Female, Co-Ed, and Family.
In developing the Krell Adventure Games, the goal was to create the next step in obstacle racing, and something that could appeal to everyone. As opposed to having a set course, you can choose the order in which you do the challenges, how much of the course you want to do, how fast you want to go and how hard you want to push yourself (and your teammate). It’s kind of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book where you are the main characters. Unlike some races, it will not put you through electric shocks, but it will challenge you both physically and mentally. The team that wins will possess a combination of fitness, problem solving ability and the ability to work together. You can expect some of the traditional obstacles like walls and ropes, but that’s about it. There are plenty of new and different physical and mental challenges that will require good strategy and teamwork added to every race.
Not only was it challenging from a physical standpoint, it was taxing mentally as well. A lot of the obstacles looked easy from reading what they were on the map you are given when you start out or looking at the pictures on the website from previous years but when it came to actually getting to the obstacle location and figuring out what to do and how to do it, it took some time to figure out the best strategy and trust in your partner. Some obstacles were even prerequisites to get to others further along the course. Here are a few that I thought were among the hardest and most tactical in where they were placed.
The first challenge my partner and I faced was called the Lego Challenge. It involved one partner waiting on the other to run to a location on the map and find a structure that they could only describe with words to the other partner waiting back at the obstacle area and who had to build it out of a few Legos laid out, exactly how the structure was laid out on the course.
The next challenge was about a mile away and made one partner wander blindly in a roped off area while your partner gave you directions. As a reward for completing the obstacle, you received a bag of spaghetti strands to be used later in the race at another obstacle. I will not say what obstacle it was used for to keep up the mystery.
Next we tackled some rope climbs and descents that felt like it was a page out of Bear Grills survival guide.
We had to get into a paddleboat and get across a lake and back to find the places to click our trackers into.
Trivia and riddles were among the hardest to solve.
One obstacle had you handcuffed to your partner and walk a tightrope from tree to tree. You can say balance was key but for my team, having a guy around 6’2 and another 5’7 was not exactly easy to do.
There were many others including a bean bag launcher and slingshot as well as solving a problem involving a 5 liter and 3 liter water jug. Again, I don’t want to give too much away if you are interested in signing up for a future race.
If you signed up for the competitive wave, you were ranked based on the number of challenges completed as well as the time they were completed. Both partners had to make it to the finish line and also had to make it before three hours were up. Otherwise you would start losing points.
Overall, it was a very rewarding experience. It makes you take a break from these races with electric shocks, barbed, wire, and 20 foot rope climbs and instead challenges you with many challenges that change from tactical to mental to physical. It kind of reminded me of a more intense camping trip with boy scouts considering you have to know where to go when all around you is forest and trees and how to rely on your team mate to complete the challenge. It is a new way of looking at obstacle racing. In my opinion, there could be a few harder challenges physically but other than that, I would say it is worth checking out.
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