Thehy call Primal Quest the ‘ultimate test of human endurance’, and that’s not an exaggeration. The course covers about 800 km of terrain, the inevitable wrong turns not included, and could take some teams up to 10 days to reach the finish line. There are mountain bike sections, whitewater sections, long traverses and hikes through the wilderness, cliffs to be climbed and descended, and just about every kind of natural obstacle of which you can conceive.
Making things more difficult, this year Primal Quest is based in Utah where temperatures are already over 37 degrees Celsius (100 Farenheit) during the day, and near freezing at night in the higher altitudes.
For the top teams there’s a $250,000 prize purse at the finish, plus considerable bragging rights and sponsorship incentives. However, just making it to the finish with all four team members intact is considered a victory. Of the 95 teams starting the race, several will pull out before making it to the finish.
This year three local athletes will take part as members of different adventure race teams – Jen Segger, Mark Fearman and Gary Robbins. Duncan Munro was expected to compete as well, but had to pull out after inuring his shoulder in a towing accident during the Mighty MO adventure race in early May. Segger is the most experienced of the three, as well as an accomplished solo racer, but Fearman and Robbins, who are on the same team, are both extremely fit and have the kind of positive attitudes that will leave them smiling at the finish.
By the time they get to the start line on Saturday, June 24, each athlete will have trained for thousands of hours, sometimes getting up in the middle of the night to simulate the sleep deprivation they’ll go through in the race.
Why do they do it? In their own words…
Occupation: Fitness Trainer
Pique: How many years have you been adventure racing, and how did you get into it? What’s your best result?
Jen Segger: I have been racing since 2000. I grew up participating in outdoor recreation sports so it was an easy transition. I saw the Eco Challenge on television years ago and knew right then that it was the sport for me. I realized very quickly the opportunity for females who are competitive, love to push the limits and enjoy suffering.