YORKTOWN – Registration for the Mid-Atlantic Region, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department’s annual all-military Wilderness Challenge opens April 2. The Wilderness Challenge will take place, Oct. 4–6, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and on the New and the Gauley Rivers in West Virginia. The event is hosted and co-organized by ACE Adventure Resort, West Virginia's largest outdoor outfitter.
More than 300 military personnel representing teams from around the World are expected to compete. Only the first 60 teams will secure a spot in the Wilderness Challenge, so teams are encouraged to register early.
“Every year, the MWR Wilderness Challenge brings together the best athletes the armed forces has to offer and puts them to the test,” said Michael Bond, event coordinator. “As the competition gets tougher and tougher every year, so do the competitors as more teams battle it out for the title.”
The challenge contains a series of five outdoor adventure races in a team format designed to bring camaraderie, competition and team spirit between all five branches of the Armed Services. Teams participating in this year’s challenge will compete in an 8K mountain run, a 12-mile mountain bike race, a 14-mile forced hike through the mountains, a 13-mile whitewater raft race on the Gauley River and a 7-mile kayak race on the New River. Last year’s winner was Team “HT-18” from Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHTEEN (HT-18), from Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Fla.
“This is one of the most grueling, hard-fought competitions in the armed forces, so the winning team will be the best of the best in outdoor recreation and physical endurance,” Bond added.
In addition, the United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA) has endorsed the All-Military Wilderness Challenge as a qualifying race for the USARA National Championships. As a USARA sanctioned event, the winner of the Wilderness Challenge will be able to compete on a national level for what is considered the “Heart & Soul” of Adventure Racing in the United States … The USARA Adventure Race National Championship.
“USARA is excited to have the Wilderness Challenge as a 2012 USARA Regional Qualifier,” said Troy Farrar, President USARA. “We hope to see several teams from the Wilderness Challenge represent their military branch and compete in the USARA Adventure Race National Championship.”
Registration is open to all branches of the military. Teams must be comprised of four active duty military, one of which must be female. Teams may also include active reservists, retirees and ROTC. The registration fee is $500 per team. Registration can be made online at www.wildernesschallenge.net or by calling (757) 887-7256.