The Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge Is Underway

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One of the last big adventure races on the calendar for 2011 got underway today in Australia, where the Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge is taking place. The 350km (217 mile) stage-based event will run for the next five days, culminating with a final leg to crown the champion on Sunday.

As the name implies, the race will take place in the wilds of Tasmania, one of the more remote and untamed places on the planet. Each of the five stages will feature mountain biking, trekking, and paddling sections that will challenge the competitors in new and unique ways each and every day. And at the end of the stage, the teams will return to a pre-set base camp, where they’ll have the opportunity to rest and prepare for another grueling challenge the next day.

The first stage of the event, which took place today, with racers starting with an early morning kayak leg before transitioning to a trek that took them to the summit of Mt. Amos. That was followed with a 50 meter rappel back down the sheer cliff face, before continuing on a bush trail that would eventually lead to the first mountain bike section. For video highlights from the opening stage, check out the video below.

At the end of the day, Team Iron House, consisting of Mark Padgett and Mark Hinder, were out in front, with Team Pure Tasmania and Team Tasmania in second and third respectively.

It looks like this should be a fun and competitive event over the next few days, and a great way to wind down what has been a very active adventure racing season. Follow the Tasmanian Challenge on the official website by clicking here.

Kraig Becker