adventure racing tips
kelly lehmann

It is with great sadness that we once again feature Kelly Lehmann as our Adventure Racer of the month as he sadly passed away earlier in the month.

Kelly had been taking part in Questars events for over ten years and was a firm favourite with us, our marshals and his fellow competitors. It was brilliant having Kelly at our events, he was always friendly and he had a great sense of humour. He came to our events, not aiming to win, but to challenge himself and have a good day out. He was always there with a smile on his face, a jibe to lighten the mood, and his dry robe ready for whatever the British weather would throw at him. After most races he would send through a recap of how the race had gone for him which would normally include stories of being distracted by long conversations with dog walkers and sharing his love of the sport with members of the public!

Kelly was a staple at our Winter series and, unfortunately, due to injury was unable to join us for our first two Summer events this year. When we heard of his very early passing, we were both shocked and heartbroken. He was set to run the Paris marathon before the Summer Olympics this year and was raising money for MACS. Kelly’s family wish to continue to support this charity and you can support their fundraising efforts here.

We think Kelly was proud that, even though he wasn’t your standard picture of an ‘athlete’, he was one in every sense of the word and then some. We hope we can all take a piece of Kelly forward with us as we look at the world with curiosity, kindness and a devilish sense of humour (fuelled by jam sandwiches, of course).

Kelly will be sorely missed. 

We first featured Kelly back in November and we are reposting his original Q&A below in its original form. 

How would you describe yourself?

I am the Adventure Racer who allows Questars to say that competitors are welcome “irrespective of their ability”.

When did you participate in your first Questars adventure race?

7th September 2013 in the Wyre Forest. I scored 365 points. I’m still aiming to reach 500 one day.

Roughly how many Questars adventure races have you participated in?

The magnets on my trophy board show it to be 32.

What do you like most about Questars adventure races?

They are well organised, by a friendly team with an ability to plan routes that you would never otherwise visit.

What do you like most about adventure racing?

I like that some athletes are running, others are cycling, many are kayaking and some are resting. Those on-the-move are going in lots of different directions. Collectively this gives a feeling of constantly being at the heart of things.

Why did you first get into adventure racing?

One day, I saw runners passing my house, in both directions, for several hours. Having discovered that they were Questars Adventure Racers, I visited the race HQ; at Youlbury Scout Camp.

There, over a plate of chilli, I learned more about Questars and I’ve been joining in ever since.

What advice would you give to someone just getting started in adventure racing?

Ignore the race – enjoy the event.

What is the best piece of advice that you were given when you started adventure racing?

I really can’t remember any – maybe if I’d been a better listener, I would now be more proficient.

What is your strongest and weakest race discipline? How do you combat your weakest discipline?

I am not particularly strong at anything – but I like the kayaking best; as there are no hills.

Whatever the discipline, I spend far too much time looking at the map.

I take a magnifying glass to help me figure-out the tiny details.

What does your training plan for an adventure race look like?

I get my bicycle serviced at the start of each season.

How do you fuel yourself for a Questars adventure race?

Blackcurrant jam sandwiches. My daughter says it’s like going out with Paddington Bear.

What’s the one piece of non-mandatory kit in your bag that you could not do without?

It has to be the magnifying glass.

What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made during an adventure race?

Forgetting my wet weather gear on a rainy day in the Brecons. I cycled into town to buy replacements and that meant I took about 90 minutes to reach the first checkpoint.

What’s the weirdest/funniest/strangest thing that has happened to you during an adventure race?

One time, trying to kayak in the Solent. The onshore wind was so severe that I couldn’t actually get off the beach. I reverted to extra running.

What is the most difficult part of adventure racing?

Estimating the distance travelled and thus knowing when you should worry that you might be going the wrong way.

What are your top five tips for adventure racing success?

I am not qualified to offer advice for success but, if you have fun, you will come back for more and, over time, you just might get better. Even if you don’t, it’s always better joining-in than watching.

Thank you Kelly, we will miss you.

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