Welcome to our series “15 First Adventure Races” which interviews veteran adventure racers on how they got started in the sport. If you’d like further resources, check out our New to AR? page on usara.com for additional material!
What's your name? How old were you when you did your first adventure race? Why did you want to participate?
I’m Barbara Niess-May, and I was 40 when I did my first race. I wanted to see what adventure racing was all about!
How did you find your first adventure race? Which race did you pick and where was it?
A friend told me about a race, in March, in Michigan. Which was cold!
Did you create your own team or did a team recruit you?
Created my own team.
Did you need to get any new gear, what did you need, where did you find it?
I needed a pack and got it at REI.
How did you train for your first race? Did you need to gain any new skills?
I ran, and on the few nice days leading up to it I rode my very, very old Raleigh bike.
Were there any resources (online or in person) that significantly helped you prepare? Please provide links if applicable.
How did the race go?
Terribly! We lost two maps, and got for-real lost. My compass was wonky. And my teammate said she would never want to do that again!
What hooked you on adventure racing?
Several years later I wondered if I actually trained and learned about navigation that maybe I would enjoy it more. :)
Since your first race, name one or two AR highlights you’ve experienced.
Doing my first race outside of North America, in Paraguay. It was an incredible cultural learning experience. Not sure if this is a highlight, but the community is INCREDIBLE. I have met some of the most amazing people and will cherish the friendships forever.
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.