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Day 1 At Adventure Race Croatia

Press Release / Photo : Adventure Race Croatia / 20.09.2018

Night time paddling at the start of Adventure Race Croatia

Adventure racing has returned to Croatia big time! We've had some proper races like the legendary Terra Incognita many years ago, and a national adventure racing cup with several races (Bjelolasica, Paklenica etc.) for a few years afterwards. There has, however, been a change of trends and in past few years we've seen an emergence of ultra marathons, MTB marathons, 100 mile races, trek and orienteering events instead of full adventure races.

Enter Igor Dorotic and Ana Rumiha. Igor, an avid trekker, runner, biker and international referee in the Adventure Race World Series, Igor has seen (and competed) in many adventure races. Ana, however, a member of Nitro snowboarding family, was shredding powder and jumping snowparks across Europe on her (signature model) snowboard. That
is, until recently, when an ambitious idea came up: let's organize a propper, ARWS sanctioned adventure race. And this is basically how it all begun. Approximately...

The Zadar region proved to be an ideal arena for ARC. Several national parks, nature reserves, rivers, canyons and cave complexes are just some of the beautiful natural features along the ARC 2018 route. No wonder the main sponsor are local tourist boards.  How much of it teams will see during the race is a different question altogether. Luckily, there will be a race video after the race ...

Under the stern eye of the bronze statue of Gregory, Bishop of Nin from the 10th century, 20 international teams lined up at the start of first Adventure Race Croatia. Among those, some were more than familiar. Strong French teams showed up in numbers, Ertips and Baragnas among them. Catalan team Travelindonesia.Asia hid a true legend Albert Roca in their ranks and Slovenia's best team Intersport borrowed Croatia's tough ultramarathon runner Paula Vrdoljak. Plus there are strong teams from Poland and Sweden, as usual.

Nin was not chosen as ARC's starting point. It's a beautiful small town with several historic churches including 'the worlds smallest cathedral' (the millenia old church of The Holy Cross), and was a good place to begin the race. From Nin lagoon there's more than a good view on the sea to the west and Velebit to the north. Both to be respected.

Once the teams got their maps, on Wednesday evening, 8 pm sharp, the very first Adventure Race Croatia was under way! In the next 72 hours they will travel 350+ kilometers, with 19 legs and 50+ checkpionts before finish line at Petrčane resort near Zadar.

Although virtually everybody we spoke to claimed they are here to enjoy good company, spectacular views and fantastic Mediterranean weather, it was obvious from the start that some were less than sincere. The first true test, a 30 kilometers sea kayak leg with an abseil task in the middle, has already split the field, with Travelindonesia.Asia and Intersport Slovenia in the lead, followed closely by swedish Kolmarden Adventures team and another Slovenian team Adventure Valley. The usual suspects ...

After ditching the kayaks on the shore close to Starigrad, the next 8 of a 72 hours of the race the teams spent climbing up the mighty Velebit. It's a good thing they started in the dark. The Paklenica National Park is one of the best known spots for free climbing and all sorts of mountain activities. And the canyon looks spectacular, if we may say so ourselves. The teams, however, had no time (or light before sunrise) to soak it all up and obviously had no problems focusing on the race. There will be views aplenty once they reach the summits of Croatia's Mythical Mountain anyway. Which is happening as we report on Thursday morning.

Also, the only local team Space Goats Ciklus kindly adopted the 'look after our guests from the rear' tactic during the night. Or are they saving their energy for something ahead? The next two days will tell us more. After all, they are the only team with local knowledge, having raced many times on the tricky monster that is Velebit.

All joking aside, Adventure Race Croata is the only European ARWS Demo race this season, which means entry opportunity for The World Championships next year for the winning team. No doubt more than a a few teams came to Dalmatia with serious ambitions.

Stay tuned for more reports from Adventure Race Croatia. You can get all the info on teams and the race via the official web page www.adventureracecroatia.com or follow the race live at this link: http://live.arworldseries.com/arc-2018

Zdravko Sarcevic

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