RS Springfield and Hartford's Radio 104 team up for adventure
By Staff Sgt. Jonathan E. Agee
| | May 31, 2003
RECRUITING SUB-STATION HARTFORD, CT --
With roughly a weeks notice, Recruiting Station Springfield's operations officer teamed up with a local radio disk jockey to run the Genesis Adventure Race May 31 at Riverside Park in Hartford.
First Lieutenant Brian P. Chase and Hartford's Radio 104.1 DJ, Andrew Wilkow, ran, biked, kayaked and navigated more than 20 miles to complete this arduous competition.
The race was designed to pit two-person teams against nature, obstacles, endurance and other competitors to determine who was the best adventure athlete in the area.
"We are basically going to try to survive the course," said Wilkow when asked about pre-race strategy. "My favorite part is when they (the adventure race coordinators) said, 'we flipped our bikes' and these are the guys that put the race on! So for a couple of amateurs like myself and the lieutenant I think we are just going to try to survive ... The lieutenant looked pretty calm and cool, but I'm a little nervous."
This was by no stretch of the imagination an average race, and that was clear from the start. Each team began the event tied to his or her partner in a three-legged race. For more than a quarter mile the teams hopped, skipped, and jumped their way through hills, stairs and ramps to complete the first event.
Both Chase and Wilkow seemed determined from the beginning, but fell far from the lead during the three-legged race. Once they finished the initial challenge, they wasted no time gearing up their bikes and riding away to mountain bike portion of the adventure.
With vague trails to follow, it was up to each team to determine the best route to take using land navigation skills. Each team seemed to have different strategies, but the Marine Corps/Radio 104.1 team headed straight for the woods.
"I have had some special training at The Basic School," said Chase. "They teach us a lot about map reading and orienteering in this case; if you have a map and a compass you are good to go."
Little did they know, a large majority of the 8.5-mile trail was so dense they were forced to carry their bikes instead of ride. "We were not prepared at all for the terrain stuff," said Wilkow. "Some of the people out here who do this on a regular basis were not surprised to see a repelling rope to get down into a lake, and then wade across the lake with the bike over their head."
By the time Chase and Wilkow returned from the mountain biking portion of the race, they were dirty and scratched up, but more determined than ever to continue the adventure.
Their next event took them into the Connecticut River. During this event the Marine Corps/Radio 104.1 team had to race 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back using only a two-man kayak and paddles.
Upon returning, they went through several small obstacles and then began the final event, a 7.5-mile run. The run was mainly focused around the park, but did venture into many urban areas around Hartford.
When Chase and Wilkow crossed the finish line, their time was 5:42:02, and they had placed 33rd in the all-male division. The overall fastest team completed the race in 3:34:52.
"We have some very good athletes here, so definitely the people up at the front of this crowd are first class athletes who have a lot of experience in this sport," said Brian Dunkenson, president of Genesis Adventures. "You also have a lot of people who are out here for the first time, and with adventure races you just never know -- you could get lost on the way to a check point, a lot of people have been having bike mechanical problems ... So you can never really tell how it is going until it is all said and done."
"I'm glad it's over, but I think I'm going to start working a little harder and maybe get a better time next time," said Chase. "Most Marines can do it, you just have to keep going."
Both Chase and Wilkow admit that although the adventure race was challenging, they each had a good time and would do it again if the opportunity arose.