Posted by Grant on 9. August 2009 20:44
I'm going to start including more AR World Series content in this blog. It's a logical fit, and our audience (you!) is bound to find some -- if not all -- of it interesting. If not, you can always hit the 'back' button on your web brower, right?
The big news around the Adventure Racing World Series right now, besides excitement for the World Championships in Portugal in a few months, is that the 2010 World Championship race will take place in Spain. Look for the official dates to be announced in the near future (Fall 2010 most likely).
The World Championships this year are in Portugal, which means southwest Europe will enjoy hosting consecutive years of World Championship racing. I live [mostly] in Switzerland, and while I can't speak for the Iberian peninsula (Portugal and Spain), I do know that France is a thriving hotbed of adventure racing activity. There are a wide variety of races and events in France, and on any given Summer weekend one could find an adventure race of some flavor to compete in. I mention France because, rumour has it, that France could be the location for a 2011 World Championship. Portugal: 2009; Spain: 2010; France: 2011 (unconfirmed and possibly not true!). Do you see a pattern here?
This pattern shows the AR World Championship (ARWC) is migrating East through Europe each year, meaning Switzerland must be the current odds on favorite for 2012, right?! This would be very cool; Switzerland has the best terrain of anywhere I've been for a race such as this (with the possble exception of New Zealand, where you can ocean kayak in the morning and be glacier trekking that afternoon). Of course, I'm joking about any formal migration of the Championship race through Europe, but it's impossible to miss the current stranglehold Europe has on hosting the ARWC right now.
Untamed Adventure is a new member to the AR World Series, so I'm still learning how things work in the global Series. There are organizer meetings run in conjunction with the World championship, so in November I'll go to Portugal and I'm sure to learn a lot.
I already know, however, that the 2009 World Championship is run in conjunction with Portugal's national sports and tourism bodies. This gives the organization the leverage and support to function at a level far above an individual race organizer -- the resources of an entire national system are available to assist with logistics, permits, planning, outreach, etc. I haven't dug into it, but I suspect the same arrangement is in place in Spain, where governmental bodies are on board to assist in making the race a reality.
We do some great work with Untamed Adventure, and Untamed New England is garnering support across the region, but nobody on the US Olympic committee knows we exist. The USA doesn't have an official "Tourism Authority" (at least not anymore), although we are building on connections to some state agencies. I think these smaller European countries have a system where hosting a World Championship race is a bit easier, and can be a national effort in many respects. The United States isn't set up that way, and therefore a different model is required for an American race to host a World Championship. I'm not even getting into the legal environment in the USA and how it can make permitting a long race such a nightmare -- I'll save that topic for another time!
I'm not declaring our official intention to do so . . . but it's impossible to be a part of the AR World Series and not at least consider putting a proposal together for hosting the World Championships. We, as an organization, have a lot of room for improvement but it's important to continue to grow and having a "dream" of an ARWC on American soil -- someday -- is a healthy one.