It’s time to start training for these 7 adventure races this year

Adventure races require skills in various disciplines—and plenty of endurance. Photo: Courtesy of GODzone Pure

Adventure races require skills in various disciplines—and plenty of endurance. Photo: Courtesy of GODzone Pure

It’s time to wash out your hydration packs and dig up your gaiters, because the 2016 adventure racing season is upon us, and it's time to start training. Adventure racing combines endurance activities meant to push you to the brink—running, biking, kayaking—with the occasional obstacle, held on some of the world’s most rugged terrain. They range from the three-mile quickie to multi-day expeditions. Sometimes you work with a team, other times you go at it alone. Either way, you’ll need grit, stamina, plenty of snacks and a solid training plan. Here are seven adventure races to register for in 2016.

Adventure XStream Series | Moab, Utah

Moab's dynamic setting is the perfect course for the Xstream Series. Photo: Courtesy of Xstream Series

Moab’s dynamic setting sets the perfect course for mountain biking and rappelling. Photo: Courtesy of Adventure Xstream Series

Part adventure race, part fast-paced tour of all the things that make Moab an adventure capital, the Adventure XStream Series takes full advantage of the stunning Southern Utah landscape with a mad-dash, multi-sport format. Plan on honing your skills in mountain biking, track running, paddling and rappelling—you’ll have to master all of the above as you make your way through Jeep trails, single track canyons and the Colorado River.

Date: April 9, 2016

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Length: ~50 miles/one day

Teams: Solo or two-person teams

Cody's Challenge | Steamboat Colorado

Cody's Challenge may be a race, but for the locals, it's all about fun. Photo: Courtesy of Cody's Challenge

Cody’s Challenge may be a race, but for the locals, it’s all about fun. Photo: Courtesy of Cody’s Challenge

Following a French tradition, Cody's Challenge is held in Steamboat Springs to honor Cody St. John, the youngest professional ski patroller and a Steamboat employee who passed away in 2007. The randonee endurance race is a local favorite, and involves 3,000 vertical feet of climbing (there’s a shorter version, too). It’s a race, but it’s also all about fun—hence all the Spandex.

Date: April 2, 2016

Experience Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Length: Various/half day

Teams: Solo

Badwater Salton Sea | Borrego Springs, California

Extreme heat and dry conditions makes the Badwater feel like walk—make that a run—through Hell. Photo: Courtesy of Badwater

Extreme heat and dry conditions makes the Badwater feel like walk—make that a run—through Hell. Photo: Courtesy of Badwater

The Badwater got its reputation for pitting runners against each other in the brutal heat of Death Valley, but the Salton Sea event is no walk in the park, either. The route covers 81 miles from below sea level at the Salton Sea, up and over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, to the top of Palomar Mountain (that's a total elevation gain of more than 9,000 feet). Only 35 teams of two (or three) are even allowed to compete in this brutal foot race.

Date: May 2-1, 2016

Experience Level: Advanced

Length: 81 miles/two days

Teams: 2-3 people

Warrior Dash | Nationwide

Challenging obstacles and plenty of mud add to the fun of a Warrior Dash event. Photo: Courtesy of Warrior Dash

Challenging obstacles and plenty of mud add to the fun of a Warrior Dash event. Photo: Courtesy of Warrior Dash

If you’re not quite ready for the brutality of the Spartan race, try your hand at the Warrior Dash for a more laid-back atmosphere and reasonable distance that almost anyone can complete. The challenge lies in the obstacles, like the 30-foot Goliath slide and 14-foot Great Warrior Wall (a mud-caked wall you’ll need to scale a rope to climb over).

Date: Races begin March 5, 2016

Experience Level: Beginner

Length: ~3 miles/half day

Teams: Any number, until your wave time is full

Dawn to Dusk Adventure Race | San Luis Obispo, California

You'll need navigation skills to manage the course during the

You’ll need navigation skills to manage the course during the Dawn to Dusk Adventure Race in California. Photo: Courtesy of Dawn to Dusk Adventure Race

There are no water stations or marked trails during this trek across California’s mountains, trails and water—just you, your team, and a 12-hour day of ocean kayaking, mountain biking, scrambling and running. Designed to be self-supporting, you’ll pack your own bins for each transition area and plan out your own routes along the way. You’ll definitely want to brush up on your map and compass skills for this one (finishing dead last is way better than getting lost in the dark).

Date: TBD

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Length: ~50 miles/12 hours

Teams: 1-4 people

GoPro Mountain Games | Vail, Colorado

Kayakers must do battle with fully armored paddlers trying to knock them out of the running during the 8 Ball Kayak Sprint. Photo: Courtesy of the Vail Valley Foundation

Kayakers must do battle with fully armored paddlers trying to knock them out of the running during the 8 Ball Kayak Sprint. Photo: Courtesy of the Vail Valley Foundation

Not sure which type of race you’d excel at? Not a problem at the GoPro Mountain Games—you can try them all. Dropping amateur and professional athletes together in the same events, the Mountain Games invite racers of all abilities to compete in mountain biking, trail running, kayaking and SUP races. We recommend the 8 Ball Kayak Sprint, which is basically a roller derby match, but in boats.

Date: June 9-12, 2016

Experience Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Length: Various/half day

Teams: Solo/teams

GODZone Pure | New Zealand

GODzone Pure is one of the most challenging adventure races in the world—you in? Photo: Courtesy of GODzone

GODzone Pure is one of the most challenging adventure races in the world—you in? Photo: Courtesy of GODzone

In one of the most challenging tests of human endurance, the GODzone Pure race sends unsupported teams across 500km of brutal New Zealand wilderness, for up to seven days. This makes it the most technically challenging adventure race in the world. Not only do you need advanced skills in kayaking, mountain biking and endurance running, but you need sound judgment and survival skills—especially when faced with high-grade river rapids, navigation hiccups or night paddling.

Date: April 2-9, 2016

Experience Level: Advanced

Length: 500km/3-4 days

Teams: All teams must include one female

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