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Don’t Get Lost – Raid the Hammer

This year I had the luck to win entry in to one of the Don’t Get Lost Adventure Runs. I chose the Raid the Hammer event. This was quite different then my usual evens, Triathlon’s and the odd running event. I was not really sure what to expect. I had done very little trail running and much less orienteering. This was a team event and had a good friend, Rob come along. He only had a little more experience with orienteering then I did.

We chose the 1/2 raid which would have your cover 12-14 KM’s to complete the course. We got check-in for the race sight and was surprise to find that it was in residential neighbourhood. Check in was very smooth, we got our maps, (2 of them) along with some instructions. Looking at the maps I was already starting to get a little overwhelmed with what we got ourselves into. Map 1 was residential streets which I had not problem reading and following. Map 2 was in the bush in and around the Bruce Trail. After the briefing it was a short walk to the start.

Map 1 was finding things in and around the neighbourhood. A number on a poll, year on a manhole cover, Name on a park bench. You had the option of finding all 8 items right at the start, the end or split however you wanted. This part of the race I think went really well. We were able to split up and we found the 7 items we determined to start with quite quickly. Than it was a couple of KM of road then trail running to find checkpoint 1 (CP1). This was a photographer taking pictures of all the team right near a really cool waterfall. I think point, I am thinking that this is pretty easy, we just keep running along the trail and will come up to the checkpoints. I was very wrong.

One thing I did not want to do was just follow another team from CP to CP. I wanted us to find our way. We did however do a couple of things wrong. Did not pay close enough attention to the map, where you could tell the main trail and smaller trails. The bigger one I think was not paying attention to the scale of the map. We were pretty at heading the right direction but were going to far. We ended up finding CP4, well past were CP2 was, and it was nowhere near a trail. It was a little tiny flag about a foot of the ground. I had envisioned a flag or marker like the Amazing Race.

When we determined we hit CP4, we started to work our way backward towards CP3, and that was some serious bushwhacking, up and down some step hills, thorns and all. By the time we found CP3 which happen to also be an aid station, we had already covered over 10KMs, and we had to still find CP2 and then work our way to CP8. Rob’s knee also started to act up which limited us to a very slow jog. We worked our backwards to CP2, which was at this point the time I started to understand and get a hang of the map. CP2 was off the trail and you could not see the flag from the trail.

CP2 was completed, and now limited to walking with Rob’s knee we headed back to CP3. After discussing with the volunteer’s about the rest of the course, which was going to be mostly very tough terrain and not close to a road, we decided that it was best to pull the plug as I was not interested in carrying Rob out of the bush. We were able to get a drive back to the the finish, to help save Rob’s knee.

Even though it was disappointing not to finish, and to get as lost as we did, I would really like to try an Adventure Run again, and I would highly recommend trying one.. I would be much more prepared the 2nd time around.

Everything seemed to be very well organized and well run, and now I cannot remember the name of the food truck they had at the finish for the post race food, but it was incredible.

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