The Adventure Racing World Championships have moved into their sixth day in Portugal, and teams are scrambling at the top of the leaderboard, as they continue to blast through the miles, steaming towards the finish line. In the past few days, the event organizers haven’t made it any easier to follow the race, although they have begun to update their online leaderboard with snapshots of where things stand following specific stages. The most recent of those updates shows a top five that includes Nike/Beaver Creek in the top spot, followed by Helly Hansen – Prunesco and Lundhags Adventure in the second and third spots. Primal Quest and defending world champs, Orion Health are in fourth, with Buff Thermacool holding down fifth place at the moment.
The format of this race, as I’ve said a number of times this week, has not helped much for spectators trying to follow along at home. Teams received bonuses for finding checkpoints, but for the most part, they could choose to skip them if they felt that it wasn’t in their best interest and they could make up the time elsewhere. This has made it very challenging to figure out who is actually the leader out on the course, although the updated leaderboard that I linked to above, does note the number of CP’s each team has collected. Nike currently has 40, while Helly Hansen and Lundhags Adventure both have 38, and Orion is just one back with 37.
I’ve been happy to see that I’m not the only one who has struggled to follow the action, as I’ve read a number of other reports on the Internet decrying the format. For a niche sport that is trying to gain an audience, I think this is absolutely the wrong way of going about it. I’d recommend that the organizers of the ARWC think twice about it for 2010, and instead come up with an accurate leaderboard system, coupled with a better tracking system, that allows us to follow along at home. Yes, I know I’m a bit biased thanks to my association with Primal Quest, but I really believe that our use of the SPOT Satellite Messengers is the best tracking system out there. It is so much more engaging than what we’ve gotten from the ARWC this year, and that makes all the difference when you’re putting on an event that isn’t exactly spectator friendly to begin with.
It’s hard to say at this point when we’ll get a winner for this year’s event, but I’d guess that it’ll happen sometime tomorrow at this point. The race was suppose to cut off today, but teams seem to be moving at a slower pace than expected. Keep checking in with the SleepMonsters coverage to see how things progress. At the moment, they remain the best source of info in regards to what is happening on the ground in Portugal. They have had a number of interesting tidbits from the field, including the fact that Orion’s captain Wayne Oxenham went missing for a time last night, but ended up arriving at a CP with Nike! Hmm… wonder what that’ll cost them in penalties. By most AR rules, that should be a DQ!
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