Call of adventure

For those who love the outdoors, or just wanting an excuse to try something new, there’s an adventure being hosted by Webster County Conservation.

The fifth annual Adventure Race will again combine running, biking and paddling with some more outside-the-box challenges.

Participants won’t find out the race course until 9 a.m. that morning, when they get their maps and passports, which will be stamped at checkpoints along the route.

“As they travel around, there’s no specific thing they have to do first,” said event organizer Matt Cosgrove. “They can run, bike or kayak in any order, as long as they get those passports stamped.”

Last year was the first time the race was held at Brushy Creek, instead of involving a race from downtown Fort Dodge to Kennedy Park.

“Brushy works out really well because we don’t have to deal with the highways. We can have everything at the one location. And it’s such a large site, it provides a lot of opportunity and different options for routes,” he said.

What exactly people will do at the checkpoints is still a secret. Last year, challenges involved identifying bird calls, animal furs, or tracks.

Whatever the task, the idea is “to provide both physical and mental challenges at the different sites,” Cosgrove said.

Participants should bring mountain bikes. They may bring their own kayaks and canoes if they are registered, or rent a boat for $15.

More racers are needed to sign up, Cosgrove said. Preregistration is required and the deadline is Friday. There were about 35 racers last year, he said, but this year numbers are still low.

“Normally they’re a little late to trickle in, but not this late,” he said.

If there aren’t around 20 to 25 people signed up by Friday, they may have to cancel the race.

All skill levels are welcome, Cosgrove said. Though some serious competitors participate, others just want to complete the race. Racers can also do the course in teams of two, or as a three-person relay.

“You can compete if you want,” he said, “but it’s really set up for more of a fun adventure-type race, to get people out and encourage them to try different stuff.”