If your looking at entering your first Paddy Pallin Adventure Race or even if your a seasoned adventure racer there is always something to learn. Dave Meyer’s from the Paddy Pallin AR Team is an extremely experienced Adventure Racer who recently completed the GodZone AR in New Zealand gives us the 101 on sprint adventure racing.



  • Navigation training is the key. There is no point being super-fit if you’re going in the wrong direction! Look up your state’s orienteering association to find local events. When you’re there ask for help and tips – they will be more than happy to help out
  • If possible, do a bit of training as a team and practice switching disciplines (ie run to MTB)


  • Train with the gear you’ll use during the race, it’ll help you figure out works for you and what doesn’t.
  • Invest in a good back pack – go as small as possible. It’ll conform to body better, meaning less uncomfortable movement and it will also restrict you from carrying stuff you don’t really need.


  • Unless there is expected to be particularly technical single track (there rarely is in Sprint AR) use flat pedals and keep your running shoes on the entire time. Changing shoes wastes a lot of time.
  • Wear lightweight shirt and pants (no Cotton!). Apart from the sweat you will get wet kayaking and wet clothes are heavy and uncomfortable.


  • Lube, Lube, lube. Groin, armpits, nipples. Chaff hurts and will slow you down and/or make your race miserable.
  • Only take what you really need. Be ruthless, don’t take any ‘nice to have’ gear, the race really isn’t that long but all those little extras add weight to your bag. It can also make finding what you need in your bag more difficult. This might take a couple of races fine-tuning what you do and don’t need.
  • Food – as with the other gear, the lighter the better. Gels and bars will get you through. Add electrolytes to bottles on your bike and have water in your backpack bladder.

Race Day

  • Get there early, have your gear reasonably sorted, bag packed, tights on, sock pulled up, before the registration and map collection opens – it’ll save last minute panicking later on.
  • When you get your maps, go over the whole course as a team, so everyone knows what’s going on. This is especially important for legs that have different rules (ie collect 6 out of 8 controls). That way if the main navigator forgets another team member may remember!
  • Use a highlighter to mark a route on the maps before contacting them. You may not fully stick to the route when things change during the race but it’ll help keep you on track. Add notes and checkpoint descriptions where possible so that you don’t need to refer to the instructions or descriptions sheet, it will save you time.


  • Cover your maps in clear contact or better yet use a map case. It’ll add another layer of protection to your maps. Bring a fold out table or use the car bonnet.
  • Communication is the key during the race. The navigator should be telling their teammates what is coming up, what they should keep a look out for and pre-warn if they are coming into a transition. Talk about what needs to be done in the transition, who’s checking in with the official/punching the checkpoint, what leg is next, what gear is needed.
  • It’s likely there will be some arguments if time is lost or mistakes are made, just move on and remember you’re racing because, above all, you are here to enjoy the adventure with some mates!

If your keen to try out your newly acquired skills sign up and enter the Paddy Pallin Adventure Series at the Sunshine Coast, Royal National Perk and Blue Mountains, or the extremely popular Paddy Pallin Urban Race in the heart of Sydney.


Paddy Pallin’s Adventure Race, round 1, Cam’s Wharf, 2017

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