Purbeck - 26 May 2012
Race 3 of the 2012 Questars Adventure Race Series
Full results from this adventure race are available to download and view above. Do take a look at other teams' split times to see which checkpoints they visited and in what order they visited them. You can learn a lot from other teams' route choices.
The 2012 Questars adventure race series leaderboard has been updated with the scores from this race. Download a copy here.
Race photos from the Isle of Purbeck adventure race are now up in the Questars website gallery.
If you took part in this adventure race, do take a look at these photos of participants running, cycling and kayaking on Saturday 26 May and see if you were caught in action during the adventure race.
The third race in the 2012 Questars adventure race series took place in the Isle of Purbeck on Saturday. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when participants arrived in the morning to collect their race packs. And it stayed like that for the rest of the day, with the strong sunshine giving rise to warm temperatures.
Thankfully, for those taking part, there was a strong wind coming in off the sea that helped to take the edge off the searing heat. Those setting up outside weren’t so appreciative of the wind, especially when shortly after putting it up, a gust tore the start arch from its moorings, damaging it. Consequently the arch couldn’t be used and it had to be taken down before anyone had even started!
The race map was eagerly studied as participants planned which of the checkpoints marked on their map they would visit and what the best routes between them were. In a first for Questars there were two separate trail runs, each one starting and finishing from a different transition point. Participants were told at the race briefing that they weren’t expected to visit checkpoints in both trail runs but they could do if they wanted to. The trail run in the southern portion of the map was a long way from the start / finish and the kayaking, on the furthest part of the course. So a second trail run was included in the northern part of the map for those that didn’t want to or couldn’t make it all that way.
Other specific race details were explained at the race briefing along with any last minute updates or amendments to the printed information. And there was a spot prize draw with those lucky enough to have their name pulled from the hat walking away with one of Orifix’s top-of-the-range map boards for their bike.
Participants once again had a window within which they could start at any time; with their time starting from when they dibbed the start control. So those in the first and last kayaking slots had to think carefully about exactly when to start otherwise they could end up being late either for kayaking or back to the finish. And to help those with kayak slots in the middle of their race plan when to start, participants were told at the race briefing that there weren’t any dummy trail run checkpoints, so they could work out how long they would need for the trail run and work backwards from that.
As participants started they collected the checkpoint descriptions and values, and crossed off the dummy mountain bike checkpoints on their map so that they didn’t waste time by going to these. Participants then left the event base on bikes either to visit mountain bike checkpoints or to go to the run or kayak transition.
The mountain bike checkpoints covered a large area from Wareham itself, southwards, down towards the coast between Kimmeridge and Worth Matravers. Such was the spread, it was difficult to know which route to take but this was made a little easier once the dummy checkpoints had been taken out of the equation.
The Purbeck Hills formed a natural barrier across the middle of the map. Participants would have to cross this line of hills several times in order to visit the checkpoints on the other side. But those who studied the map carefully will have spotted a gap in the hills at Corfe Castle which meant, with some careful route planning, you could save yourself having to go up and over the hills at least once.
To the north of the hills, the course was relatively fast and flat, while to the south it was much more undulating, with some interesting off road sections. The southern trail run began and finished from a transition point situated high up on the hills overlooking Kimmeridge Bay, with the checkpoints positioned to take participants down to and along the spectacular Jurassic coastline.
Checkpoint 15 was the furthest along the coast and involved a steep descent down one cliff and an equally steep climb back up the other side, in order to be reached. This on its own would have been quite a gruelling challenge but it was made even tougher by the fact that the midday sun was fierce and there were plenty more ups and downs to come on the way back to transition. Only two participants decided that it was worth visiting; Masters Steve Frankl and Novice Floss Morgan.
In stark contrast to the coastal trail run at Kimmeridge, the northern trail run was flat with the biggest climb being up onto the earth embankment that is part of the old Saxon wall around Wareham. The course also took participants out to Swineham Point along by the River Frome. Ideal growing conditions meant the grass had shot up over the preceding week and as a result the path was a bit overgrown, making the going not quite as easy as you might have expected from looking at the map. This run began and finished from the transition point at ridge wharf which is where the kayaking also started and finished from.
On the water there was the wind, tide and the flow of the River Frome all to contend with which made for some hard paddling conditions when all three were against you. However, when you turned around to come back everything that was against you, was now behind you, so it worked out pretty even in the end. Several people visited all six kayak checkpoints within the time limit, but no one cut it as fine as Gary Davies from Team Endurancelife who had just one second to spare before being penalised for going over the sixty minutes!
With time running out, participants made their way back to the event base on bikes to finish. This did not come a moment too soon for some who had found it tough being out in the heat all day. There was a BBQ waiting for those who wanted something to eat and many people took advantage of the facilities to have a shower and get changed before the prize giving.
Prize vouchers to redeem against adventure racing clothing and equipment at Likeys were awarded to the winners in each class. Veterans Roy Sievers and Mike Bayne (Team EndorFiends) were the overall race winners clocking up an impressive 1050 points in the six hours available. Only three other teams managed to score more than a thousand points. These three Masters teams were all from Tri-Adventure and all, quite co-incidentally, scored the same number of points - 1035. They were Edward Clifford, Sophie Moore & Piers Stockwell who won the mixed class, Tom Davies who won the Men’s Solo class, and George Neville-Jones & Rob Hoey who won the Men’s Teams class. The Masters Ladies class was won by Lizzie Wraith who amassed 905 points - over a hundred more than her closest rival.
Novice participants had a maximum of five hours and in this time the Men’s Team of Tim Cadd, Dale Bristow & Steve Dring (Three Dough-pairs) managed to collect the most points to win with a nice round score of 700. Well done to the other Novice prize winners - Suzanne Brown & Louise Welsh, Giles & Sarah Bradford and Andrew Shaw & Debbie Simpson who won the Ladies, Mixed and Veterans Novice classes respectively. The Duo race involved five hours of running and biking (i.e. it excluded the kayaking element). Roger Thetford won this race with a score of 815 points.
The next race in the 2012 Questars Adventure Race Series takes place on the 14 July in the Chilterns and is suitable for both novice and experienced teams of 1, 2, 3 or 4 people. There are only a limited number of kayak places left for this one-day adventure race so if you want to take part and haven't got your entry in yet, best to enter online soon.
More Race Reports
- Race report written by participant George Neville-Jones
- Read other Questars adventure race reports here