Welcome to our series of interviews with American adventure racing teams who participated in the World's Toughest Race Eco-Challenge: Fiji! This 11-day adventure race took place in September 2019 and will premiere on Amazon Prime on August 14th, 2020. Check out USARA's dedicated Eco-Challenge: Fiji page for interviews from other teams and additional material concerning the race!
Please introduce yourself!
We are Team Stray Dogs (#59). We are the most experienced and oldest Eco-Challenge team in the world. We live in Evergreen, Colorado; Paducah, Kentucky; Mammoth, California and Modesto, California.
What was your adventure racing experience prior to Eco-Challenge: Fiji? Have you participated in previous Eco-Challenges or other adventure races?
Marshal and Adrian have competed in ALL the previous Eco-Challenges and between the 4 of us we have competed in 25 Eco-Challenges as well as many Raid Gauloises and other adventure races.
How did your team come together, and how did you train for Eco-Challenge: Fiji?
We all loved our Eco-Challenge experiences and wanted to compete again. As soon as Eco-Challenge: Fiji 2019 was announced we were enthusiastic in forming a veteran team. We don’t live anywhere near each other but we all know what is involved in preparing for an event as tough as this and how to train for each discipline.
What were you most looking forward to at Eco-Challenge: Fiji, and what scared you the most?
With our previous adventure race experience, we all knew how tough this race would be, but we also knew how fantastic it is to be totally committed and to have the thrill of racing in a place like Fiji. I think we just wanted to be back in an Eco-Challenge. The real fear for me was of letting down my teammates.
What was your favorite piece of gear and/or clothing and/or food?
For me as navigator, it is the map and compass that I use constantly on the course.
Describe a favorite moment of Eco-Challenge: Fiji, or one where you suffered the most.
I loved stand-up paddle boarding at night on the river with jungle sounds all around.
After Eco-Challenge: Fiji, would you do another adventure race? Would you do the Eco-Challenge again?
Heck yes and heck yes. These races make you live intensely.
What internal struggles did you experience during Eco-Challenge: Fiji? Did you experience any moments of self-reflection and/or growth?
Every racer has to pace themselves in an event this long. Unfortunately, our pace is no longer ‘fast’ and we had to balance our enthusiasm with the reality of a slower pace. I have been learning to appreciate a slower pace for many years, and this race reinforced the fact that being out there is the important thing.
What was re-entry into civilization like, both after the finish line in Fiji and back in your home country?
Relaxing after the race in the beautiful country of Fiji was a joy. Returning to the US was bittersweet as it was great to my wife and family but it meant the adventure was over…..for now.
Stay tuned for more from USARA! Visit www.usara.com for more information on adventure racing in the United States.
A space for AR musings from the USARA team and guest authors. Ready to race? Check out the rest of our resources on the USARA homepage.