FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 22, 2022
USARA issues statement regarding missing US adventure racer Peter Jolles
The U.S. Adventure Racing Association has learned via the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and media reports that longtime U.S. adventure racer Peter Jolles has gone missing while packrafting in British Columbia, Canada.
Peter, 46, formerly of Georgia and more recently a resident of Virginia, recently competed with his Checkpoint Zero team in Expedition Canada, which ended Saturday, June 11, in Penticton, British Columbia, and was spending time exploring the nearby wilderness following the race. Peter was packrafting the Bugaboo Creek by himself near Spillimacheen, British Columbia, on Sunday, June 19, but never appeared at his designated take-out spot, where his girlfriend was waiting for him. She reported him missing and the Columbia Valley RCMP and local search and rescue team commenced an effort to try to locate Peter. They were not able to find him, but they did encounter Jolles’ packraft.
The search resumed on Monday, June 20, but without luck, and continued on Tuesday, June 21. On Tuesday afternoon, the search was suspended due to high water conditions. Once conditions are deemed safe again, crews will resume the search.
USARA is holding out hope that Peter is alive and OK and that he is located soon. As an avid adventure racer for more than two decades, Peter touched so many lives in the AR community in the United States and around the world. We remain hopeful he returns to us and his family. We are deeply thankful for the efforts by law enforcement and search and rescue authorities in British Columbia to find Peter.
USARA has been in touch with the RCMP, as well as several of Peter’s friends and teammates, and will continue to try to gather and share as much information as possible with the adventure racing community regarding this terrible situation. USARA will also be helping to organize any aid or assistance efforts as needed, though at this time, the RCMP and local search and rescue teams are asking that the public not assist with the search.
If anyone from the adventure racing community has information regarding Peter’s whereabouts, contact the Columbia Valley RCMP at 1-250-342-9292 and cite file 2022-1463.
U.S. Adventure Racing Association contact: Cliff White, Communications Director, 207-650-8698, info@USARA.com
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About the USARA
Now a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the United States Adventure Racing Association has been the primary national governing body for the sport of adventure racing since its inception in 1998. USARA supports race organizers and promoters in developing safe, challenging, and fun events for adventurers at all levels of the sport. Since its founding, USARA has helped to organize more than 2,500 national events across the U.S.A. It annually organizes the USARA National Championship, a 30-hour race run annually since 1999, and USARA National Points Series, which provide a venue for determining the top teams in the United States. www.USARA.com
Clarion, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.—The U.S. Adventure Racing Association and the Adventure Racing World Series have announced a collaborative partnership that will see the two organizations join forces to create the ARWS North America Regional Series.
Announced on Sunday, June 19, at the start of the Endless Mountains Adventure Race in Pennsylvania, an Adventure Racing World Series Demonstration Race, the partnership will see USARA serve as the organizer of an annual race series, with the winner receiving a free entry to the Adventure Racing World Championship.
“The Adventure Racing World Series is a long-established series known for putting on amazing races in amazing places. For that reason, we’re really excited to announce that starting next year, USARA is going to be partnering with the ARWS to organize a regional series of races leading up to the 2023 Adventure Racing World Championship in South Africa,” USARA Executive Director Michael Garrison said.
“The main purpose of USARA is to take care of and strengthen the sport of adventure racing in the United States. That involves a lot of pieces – everything from increasing awareness of the sport, making it easier to get into the sport, and ultimately to make sure that as the years go on, the sport continues to flourish. We think this partnership helps us achieve all those goals.”
ARWS already operates regional series in Europe, Oceania, Asia, Africa, and South America, each representing a collection of the best mid-distance adventure races in each global region.
Event organizers set a unique course to test athletes over 125 to 250-kilometer courses of non-stop, day and night, adventure racing in the disciplines of trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, and navigation. Participating teams earn points towards their ARWS regional ranking and their ARWS global ranking, and regional winners each year receive a free entry to the next ARWS World Championship, which takes place annually in September or October.
Expedición Guaraní will serve as the 2022 ARWS World Championship, taking place September 15 to 25, 2022, in Paraguay. The 2023 ARWS World Championship will take place October 18-30, 2023, in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.
Garrison said the top 10 overall premier-division teams at the 2022 USARA National Championship, taking place in Bishop, California, U.S.A., September 16-17, 2022, will qualify for a lottery for entry into the 2023 AR World Championship, and that the 2023 ARWS North America regional winners will win a free entry to the 2024 AR World Championship, which will be staged by the Huairasinchi race in Ecuador.
“ARWS is thrilled to join forces with the USARA to create the ARWS North America Regional Series,” ARWS CEO Heidi Muller said. “ARWS has been working hard to develop and grow our presence in North America, and the official launch of the ARWS North America region is a huge step forward in advancing the sport in the U.S., across North America, and globally. ARWS North America completes our regional race series, providing racers all around the world an opportunity to enjoy World Series Adventure Racing.”
The ARWS already has three qualifying expedition races in North America – Endless Mountains AR, Expedition Oregon, and Expedition Canada – with a fourth, Expedition Ozark, commencing in 2023.
Other ARWS Qualifiers include; Patagonia Raid in Argentina, PC12 Adventure Race in Colombia, Adventure Race Malaysia, Expedition Africa,, Huairasinchi in Ecuador, Nordic Islands Adventure Race in Scandinavia, Malacara Expedition Race in Brazil, ITERA Expedition Race in Scotland, Adventure Race Croatia, Raid in France, Raid Gallaecia in Spain, and XPD Expedition Race in Australia.
In a recent race the best answer to the question “What is Adventure Racing was given…OR it might have been, but I didn’t hear it. I had scampered off the trail to snag a checkpoint, and when I caught back up a few minutes later, the dude was just finishing up his definition. Hardly a concise definition—whatever it was.
Completely missing his definition while punching a CP is completely apropos—adventure racing is hard to define. Sure, we describe the basic disciplines—trek, bike, paddle all while orienteering—but even those are fluid (are we trekking or hiking or trail running or rucking). In races, I’ve also jumped off cliffs, ascended, rappelled, ridden a horse, swam, caved, scootered, kayaked, canoed, rollerbladed, riverboarded, SUPed, packrafted, obstacle raced, shot a paintball gun, cross-country skied, snowshoed, and Tyrolean traversed. (OK, maybe I didn’t do all of these, but I know people who have done at least one in an AR).
USARA Executive Director Mike Garrison likes to tell a story about trying and failing to explain to his mother what adventure racing is all about. And he is the Executive Director of USARA. We often resort to the “Eco-Challenge” technique: “Have you seen this show on Prime? Watch that. It’s from the guy who created Survivor”
Of course, if you have raced through a populated city—like downtown Philadelphia on a Friday night (thanks, GOALS ARA)—you have inevitably been hit with “Are you on the Amazing Race?” But do we really want to resort to television shows to define our sport? Even if Nathan Fa’avae did a great job doing just that on a show that inspired many (most) of us to get into this crazy pursuit.
So how do you define adventure racing? What is it all about for you? Is it about teamwork and camaraderie? Is it about adventure? competition? challenge?
Let’s explore our definitions together. Chime in on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the Comments below.
Show us your 15 second videos, adventurous pictures, or tweetable text of how you define AR.
And maybe we can come with something to tell Garrison’s mother.
As you have (hopefully) heard and seen by now, Toyota Tundra is sponsoring our 2022 season, and GearJunkie is our exclusive media partner.
This sponsorship deal is a significant step forward for Adventure Racing in the United States and beyond. We want to use this opportunity to show large corporations the value of investing in AR.
Our purpose at USARA is to ensure the enduring success of adventure racing. We believe in the spirit of adventure and the community that enables the journey. We strive to strengthen and support our existing community of racers and directors and create pathways for new adventurers to enter the sport.
The partnerships with Toyota Tundra and GearJunkie are helping us meet those goals while increasing our exposure to the broader adventure and outdoor worlds.
Toyota wants to have their product associated with our sport as much as possible, and they want to know that a TON of people are seeing it. In the marketing/media world, this is known as "impressions," and we've promised A LOT of them!
We are well on our way to meeting our target, AND there are ways that you can help!
Visit our website often for information, blog posts, and race calendars!
LIKE and FOLLOW USARA on Facebook.
Invite your Facebook friends to LIKE and FOLLOW our page. (Click on those three dots (...) on the menu bar to access the invite function.)
Share our posts (especially the ones with the hashtags #gearjunkie and #ToyotaTundra).
Follow us on Instagram (@usadventureracing) and Twitter (@usadventurerace).
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
And ENGAGE with us—on any of our media channels or through email with any suggestions, questions, or other valuable input! (email@example.com)
We love the AR community. It’s why we do what we do. So keep in touch until we see you at the next race!
The rugged and wild OutThere No Sleep Adventure Race starts at 7 AM Saturday, June 4, at Shawnee National Forest in Illinois with event tracking from Adventure Enablers.
"We are known for tough navigation," says co-race director John Farless. "With this the first year for us having trackers, we are looking forward to seeing the route choices racers are taking. We used to have to wait for the stories afterwards, but now it is available in real time."
Farless and co-race director Brian Fribley are "old-school" course designers.
“We have a great relationship with the climbing community and still incorporate ropes in our courses,” said Farless.
“And we have a significant rappel that will be one of those pucker moments,” added Fribley.
In addition to a ropes section, racers can look forward to a Friday night of CP plotting and staring at maps—a skill the directors want to make sure racers know not only for safety but also to keep the skill part of AR.
“We have always seen land nav as part of adventure racing and some directors are getting away from it,” says Fribley. “And with technology like google maps, having the ability to not only plot but pinpoint themselves and be able to plot their own location is becoming a lost art of land navigation.”
Without a TA, racers will also have to carry all their gear and nutrition for the duration of the linear, point to point course where racers will not see the same spot on the course twice (at least not by design).
With a five-year permit to conduct races in the Shawnee National Forests, it easy to keep the course fresh.
“[Shawnee National Forest] is massive,” says Farless. “We just shift a little east or west, and we put on a new course.”
The directors start their planning 18 months in advance, reconnoitering areas, comparing with maps, and vetting facilities. Once they have a blueprint, they examine the course in person.
“We try to find unique features that are outside the high tourists spots,” says Fribley. “We steer our racers to those spots. Racers tells that us that they can tell we spend a lot of time on the course.”
“It’s a beautiful course,” adds Farless. “A true wilderness course, expedition style, never going through the same location, racers carry everything with them, not a lot of paved roads. It’s a true wilderness experience.”
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