Tennis in Germany – these are Steffi Graf and Boris Becker. In football, he’s probably Franz Beckenbauer. What about adventure races? It could be Karina Meyer, Vincent Meyer, and Angelus Meyer from Hohnhorst. The trio wish to make the little-known and young sport known in Germany as “Adventure Racing Germany”.
But what is hidden behind this term? “Exactly my sport,” is how Vincent Meyer briefly describes it. Among other things, it is more about perseverance, direction and organization. Because people usually run, cycle, and canoe. Abseiling, climbing, or stand-up paddling can be part of a race from time to time. In twelve, 24, 48, or even 60 hour races, the goal is to find as many checkpoints as possible in a two to four-person team within the allotted time and reach the finish line together within that time period. Whoever collects the most checkpoints wins. The highlight: everything is only with a compass and a map.
“She walks across the country, be it on foot or by bike,” explains Karina Meyer, who loves managing individual discipline herself, but supports the team logistically rather than participating in the sport herself. “Every race is an adventure,” adds her husband Vincent. As the first-ever German team, Honhorster will participate in the World Cup Finals in Spain in October.
Specifications: First, you cover 205 kilometers on foot in three stages, then follow two sections. You have to bike 290 kilometers before you can paddle again for 105 kilometers. There are also kilometers of hike across the mountain landscape at the top. An emergency cell phone is included, but it gets wrapped up in the package at the start of the race so you can prove you didn’t get any advantage.
A book as a catalyst
It was Karina Meyer who gave her husband a bait. “Five years ago we were on vacation in Sweden – and I had the book“ Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Woods to Find a Home. ”It’s about an“ adventure race ”in Ecuador, where a team finds a dog in the woods and accompanies the group through the woods – even in the boat. “I found the sport wonderful,” recalled Vincent, who is anatomically a distant friend.
“I find it exciting to see what is possible. How far can you transcend your own limits.” After “Arthur,” the couple sometimes participated in “little things” like the 24-hour walk through Austria, but the adventure race in Germany? There was nothing at all. No races, no real scene. “I think as of today there are not 100 people all over Germany,” said the 29-year-old, who in 2019 completed his first 60-hour race.
Race around the world
2020 must be his year. Contests were planned in Croatia, South Africa and Paraguay – until Corona came. “Then we told ourselves that we wanted to make the sport better known in Germany.” Instagram homepage and page created quickly. “Combining independence and travel has always been a dream for us,” reveals the 31-year-old, who works as a kindergarten teacher.
In the first step, there should be an online store for the typical equipment such as a bike card holder. In the future, Adventure Racing Germany would like to offer its own training courses and races. Karina Meyer confirms that “Corona is slowing us down a little bit at the moment, but there are enough ideas.” Good places in and around Schaumburg to hold courses are Hohenstein as well as Ith – and the Hohnhorsters was also in Bückeberg. Every now and then, kayaking occurs in the flood plains.
Hohnhorster especially fondly remembers one race. She passed through the rain at night on the Danish coast. “We also had headwinds, and it didn’t get much better until the early hours of the morning.” The checkpoint was over the dunes, and on the way there, the group had to walk through the tall reeds. “I went ahead and was really high on the dunes.” When Vincent Meyer turned around, he saw his colleagues behind him in the reeds, behind them the sea, the skin, and the sunrise. “That was just a wonderful and surreal moment.”
For such paths and experiences, individual teams have to take care of themselves. Nuts, bars and energy bars are especially popular. They can be taken with you in backpacks or deposited at the transfer stations, where you can switch from jogging to cycling, for example. However, there is also a maximum weight limit for all gear in the lead up to the race. This gives the preplanning point a higher priority. “The team with the fastest runners does not win,” explains Vincent Meyer. “But it is more efficiently regulated.” This includes operations in transitional zones, food preparation or at least the brief moments trying to fall asleep. Because in the case of at least 24 hour races, people usually spend the night. With a headlamp running through the woods. “Sometimes you look into your eyes from the bush – and then they disappear very quickly.” The 29-year-old said, “It’s exciting.”
This year, the European Championships will be held in Denmark in September for “AR Germany”. Then a month after the World Cup in Spain. “These are going to be really tough races,” says the engineer, with certainty. By the way, New Zealand is a stronghold of adventure racing, but the sport is more prevalent in Scandinavia than in Germany. The trio still have enough time to make the sport more famous here. Vincent Meyer explains, “The golden age of adventure racing is about 55 years old.” Perhaps by then, Meyers will be firmly associated with the endurance competition. Just like you do these days for Steffi Graf, Boris Becker or Franz Beckenbauer.
More information about Adventure Racing Germany is available online at adventureracing-germany.de And higher Instagram (ar_germany).