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 Mike Seroczynski, and I was 41 in my first adventure race. At that time, I had been burnt out from running marathons and triathlons (mostly regional stuff). A race that required teammates and orienteering popped up locally here in northern Michigan, and I was interested in something new.
How did you find your first adventure race? Which race did you pick and where was it?
I had just raced a half-marathon and was drinking beers and a friend mentioned maybe I should check out this local adventure race in Ludington, MI. He said it had maps, bikes, and paddling, and I was intrigued. I needed to know more! This was in 2007.
Did you create your own team or did a team recruit you?
I went to Facebook and started looking at my friends who were semi-athletic, mountain biked, trail runners etc. I sent out messages to about six people and sucked three friends into racing on a team with me. The only common denominator was me. We met once before the race to paddle canoes, then we all showed up pre-race night! Two guys, two gals.
Did you need to get any new gear, what did you need, where did you find it?
I borrowed a mountain bike. I had a compass from the Marine Corps. I was a forward observer in the Marines, so I had decent skills navigating. I got a couple large ziplock for map cases, but had all the other basic gear. The nearest store for anything in Northern Michigan is Walmart's. This is pre-Amazon!
How did you train for your first race? Did you need to gain any new skills?
I started trail riding! Single track day and night, and I became more confident on single track. My whole life previously was all road biking. I also started to refine my paddling skills in canoes and kayaks.
Were there any resources (online or in person) that significantly helped you prepare? Please provide links if applicable.
Honestly no. It’s hard to imagine, but back in 2007, YouTube wasn't really a thing.
How did the race go?
We came in fourth overall. We hiked sand dunes, and we overcame one teammate with heat exhaustion. There was one CP in the middle of the stinky muddy marsh, and we played Rock-Paper-Scissors to see who had to go punch it!
What hooked you on adventure racing?
The self-suffering that I put myself in and the accomplishing the course. I had dropped running on pavement years earlier, after destroying my knees, hiking with eighty pound rucks in USMC. It felt great to do something physical. And since I'm constantly in the outdoors, adventure racing was another excuse to be there.
Since your first race, name one or two AR highlights you’ve experienced.
Well, the Sea to Sea in Florida - I've done it four times. Great race. I also value the connections and friendships I've made from adventure racing. It’s allowed me to travel to New Zealand for GodZone, British Columbia for Primal Quest, Ecuador for AWRS Championships, Belize, and so many places in the USA.
When I broke my foot, I pulled my camera out and started taking pictures instead of racing. I’ve also helped design races and put on a few races of my own.
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.