On the 17th September, 53 teams from around the world will start the 18th edition of the Adventure Race Worlds Champs in Paraguay.
The 550km course is estimated to take teams anything from 100 hours to 7 days to complete. “They will race nonstop through some of the most beautiful places in the country, navigating winding rivers and reaching some of the most imposing hills in the country. They will have to pedal through sand and mud, and carry out rope activities on rock walls and waterfalls. All of this, in an environment full of the exuberant vegetation which is the last vestige of the Atlantic Forest.”
Iglesias continued, “The route has demanding trekking sections, a very long kayak stage and varied bike stages. There are lots of checkpoints, difficult navigation in some parts of the course and a variety of terrain.”
For Team Merrell Songlines this will be their first Adventure Race World Champs.
While they have dominated the local African adventure race series, they’ve had little opportunity to test their mettle against international competition or compete in the multi day expedition race format.
“We not really sure what to expect from this race particularly because none of us have been to or raced in Paraguay. We’ve heard many good things though and part of the appeal of adventure racing is doing exactly this, getting to see and explore remote corners of far-off places.” said team captain Kelvin Trautman.
As is custom in the week before adventure races, teams received a breakdown of what the different legs would be to better help them pack gear before arriving at the race. “We were excited to see a 14 hour, 100km paddle leg had been included in the race, said team navigator Lance Kime. “The paddle won’t be easy but it will suit us. I think the navigation is going to be very challenging. There are close to 100 checkpoints to collect during the race, so there will be little chance to relax.”
John Collins, who brings a lot of experience to the team having raced a number of World Champs before, commented, “My last World Champs outing was in 2018, so it’s been a while since I‘ve competed at this level. There are many of the world’s top teams here, some old foes and some new, and we are excited to see how stack up. We’ve had a really good few months of prep leading up to this race. The team cohesion and focus has all been very inspiring to see and be a part of.”
The team did receive unfortunate news last week though, with Jess Pollock having to pull out due to a stress fracture injury.
“I did not expect the mild ‘groin pain’ I had during our last race 2 weeks ago to end up in an MRI showing a stress fracture in my femur. I am still coming to terms with the devastating realisation that I will miss World Champs, but I am just glad that the team can still line up on the start line.”, said Jess Pollock.
Tracey Campbell, a regular in the Team Merrell Songlines squad, will take Jess’s place. “When Kelvin gave me a call to ask whether I wanted to race World Champs two days before leaving for Paraguay I thought he was joking. I’m obviously very nervous but I’m also excited to be a part of it all, especially as we are the only South African team taking part. I think we all feel an extra sense of responsibility and pride to be flying the South African flag over here.”, said Tracey Campbell.
The race starts at 12h00 (GMT -4) on Saturday 17 September. Supporters can follow the progress of all of the teams on the live race tracking platform at https://www.expedicionguarani.com/arwc2022
There will be extensive coverage on both Team Songlines, WILD AIR Sports, Expedición Guaraní and Adventure Racing World Series social media pages, with news, videos, photos and reports throughout the race.