The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

These notes are aimed at those new to Questars or to adventure racing to help you get started. On this page you will find information relating to the following topics:

DISTANCE & TIMINGS (One Day Questars)


How long are the various stages of Questars?

As there are no set routes or distances with one-day Questars events, you decide how far you wish to run, bike and kayak. In this way Questars appeals to all comers from complete novices to some of the most experienced of adventure racers.

As an indication of the average distance that these different levels of Questars competitors cover here are some indicative distances in kms covered at recent one-day Questars events:





Average Novice 

2-4 km

8-12 km

10-20 km

Top Novices

4-5 km

12-18 km

20-30 km

Top Masters

5-6 km

18-25 km

30-40 km


How long do you spend running, biking and kayaking?

Kayaking is the only stage that has a scheduled time in one-day Questars events – normally between 50 and 60 minutes. Most teams – even complete novices - greatly enjoy the kayaking and use most of this time allocation.

How long you spend running and biking during one-day Questars events is upto you. This will depend on how far you choose to go and how fast you are over the ground. It’s a good idea when starting to play to your strengths - majoring on your best discipline. As you progress best overall scores tend to result from balancing time spent on run and bike which normally have similar potential points available.

Do ensure you are fully familiar with how Questars are structured. More information about the Race Format of Questars events can be found here.

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What’s the best way to train for trail running?

Trail running during Questars is largely off road - mostly along varied footpaths and tracks, often in hilly areas and sometimes over open moorland. So training in similar terrain is ideal. Just getting off the gym treadmills or pavements into your local park or nearby green area will pay dividends. This will strengthen your joints especially ankles and knees in readiness for going off road whilst racing.

Running with a map of the area in hand is very useful practice. Practice keeping in touch with your location on the map - keep moving your thumb on the map to where you are. Get used to looking up and spotting mapped landscape features.

Get to know what pace you can comfortably maintain over longer distances over varied terrain. This will allow you to quickly calculate how many of the blue (run) checkpoints are achievable in the time you’ve allocated to your run stage. It’s far better to keep going at an even pace than go too fast and run out of steam.

To find out more, read a 60 second beginners guide to trail running here


Can following a running training schedule help?

Yes. Many people find it helpful to have a training plan to provide structure and discipline to their running preparation. As you decide what distance you are going to run in Questars you can decide whether following a 5 km, 10 km or half marathon training regime is the most appropriate. Remember its stamina and overall pace that you are aiming to develop rather than short distance speed.

You can find training plans for each of these distances here


Can I do any training indoors, in a gym for example?

Yes. Treadmills are useful if it’s so wet or dark outside and you just can’t face going for a training run outside. But they are no substitute for off road running. Try putting some incline on the treadmill to give more of a work out or setting it to a hill programme.

Attending some gym classes or using gym equipment / trainers advice to build core strength is also useful.

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I’m new to mountain biking, what preparation can I do?

Getting out onto some off road tracks to practice biking is the best practice. Cycling to and from work can also help to build stamina and familiarity with your bike.

Click on the links below to find some useful advice about:

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Do I need any special kit for the kayaking stage?

No. All kayaking kit is provided for you. This includes a buoyancy aid, an offset paddle per person and a sit on top kayak.

Quest has a fleet of RTM Ocean Duo sit on top kayaks which are double kayaks designed to be paddled by both 1 or 2 adults. A team of two will share one kayak while a solo racer can use the centre seat to paddle it on their own. If you’re in a three or four person team you’ll have two kayaks and must keep together.


I’ve not kayaked before. What’s the best technique?

Alot of first time Questars Novices have not kayaked before so don’t worry. The basic technique is easy to pick up and Quest marshals will give you some tips – just tell them when you get to the water that you’d like some help.

To learn more, watch a short video with some basic kayaking tips here.

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What should I eat and drink?

Like an engine your body needs the right fuel to work effectively. Paying attention to your diet in the weeks before a race and in the immediate period prior to racing are important components to good preparation.

Here is a basic guide to what to eat and drink to improve your racing.


How is it best to aid recovery post training or racing?

You’ll enjoy your training and racing so much more if you eat and drink the right things in the time period after exercise. To find out more, read a 60 second guide to rest and recovery here.

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How well do I need to be able to map read and navigate?

Whilst you don’t need to be an expert, being able to read a map and conduct simple navigation are key skills. Checkpoints are normally located at junctions of footpaths, tracks and other obvious features. You won’t need to go off public rights of way to find them. This is not technical orienteering. It’s much simpler than that. You’ll be using a good quality copy of a 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey map. It’s normally A3 in size and printed on high quality waterproof paper. It’ll be pre marked with the location of the event base, transition points and all the checkpoints. There are no special markers on the ground - you’ll need to use the map and follow footpath, track, bridleway and road direction signs.


Can’t I just use a GPS to find my way?

No. GPS’s are not allowed to be used in Questars. Navigating by map reading and compass are all part of the fun of adventure racing.


Where can I learn more about OS maps and map reading?

The Ordnance Survey (OS) website is a good starting point; you can download a beginner’s guide to map reading here (~1Mb).

It’s important that you know how footpaths, cycle routes, bridleways and other public rights of way are depicted on an OS map. Bikes must not be taken on footpaths. No access is allowed on routes that are not public rights of way. A good working knowledge of the common key symbols used on OS 1:25,000 maps is really useful. Download the key to these maps here (~900Kb), to find out more.


Do I need to plot grid references?

No there’s no need to plot grid references – all checkpoints are pre marked on your event map


Do I need to be able to use a compass?

Most of the navigation in Questars can be conducted without a compass. That said knowing how to use a compass is a useful to quickly check you are going in the right direction or to chose the right route at a track junction. It’s also useful if you do get lost and need to relocate.

Click on the links below to read...

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