After 19 years, we are stopping with the Auenland Adventure Race. Originally the race started in 2002 as an orienteering training race for the Dutch CIOR Military Pentathlon Team. Campingplatz Dammhammer, the predecessor of Campingplatz Auenland, had just been taken over by Axel from his aunt and hosted this training race. The pentathlon team consisted of Dutch reserve officers who trained for the yearly World Championship. On these weekends the focus was on orienteering. The thought was that it couldn’t be hard enough. At first we did not cycle, everything was running and a bit of canoeing. Later on we added the biking part for fun, and put in some extras. The race got longer, tougher, more complicated & exciting every year. The training took place at Pentecost weekend and everybody brought the whole family with them. Recipe for the weekend: Relaxing, chiling and family stuff on Saturday, the race on Sunday and back home on Monday. It was a big success. Super cozy and fun for everyone.
We continued with these training races until we got too old for pentathlon. We continued with the part we all liked the most; orienteering. We wanted to keep doing something together to preserve and nurture the friendship. We were looking for a suitable sport and we found it in adventure racing. A sport that was on the rise at that time. The first contact with the sport was in 2009 with the first edition of The hARz Adventure Race. We had never done an adventure race, but right away we participated in a 40 hour race. Great! Fantastic race and a beautiful experience. Many thanks to Winfried Bats who got us into this!
We decided to do two things. Firstly, under the name ‘Leopard Adventure Racing’, to train together once a month and then to participate in as many races as possible, both at home and abroad. Secondly, we started organizing a race ourselves in order to contribute to the development of the sport. That race became the Auenland Adventure Race with its first ‘formal’ edition in 2010. The aim was to offer a challenging race for experienced athletes, but also something for people who are not familiar with the sport yet and who might be a bit afraid of long distances. The race was set up with 3 categories: a 24, 12 and 6 hour race. Orienteering is key and only the very best teams had to be able to achieve getting all the checkpoints. The main goal has always been ‘finish with a smile’ and after the race, have a chat and enjoy a meal together. The social aspect has always been an important part of the Auenland Adventure Race. All of this, in the beautiful surroundings of Marburg, an ideal environment for adventure racing. Each wind direction offers different possibilities. For years we have been part of both the German Adventure Race Series (GARS) and the Dutch Adventure Race Series (DARS). The Auenland Adventure Race regularly hosted both the German and Dutch AR championships. The last time was the Dutch AR championships in 2021.
The year 2020 has been a difficult one due to Covid-19. This resulted in a postponement to this year. In retrospect, it was a small miracle because the Covid-19 time window opened up just before the race and closed right after. You could tell that everyone was craving for a race. We have seen many happy faces. We feel grateful that we could offer that to you.
Yet we will stop. The reason for this lies in the fact that our lives are full and it’s hard to get the organization up & running. It has become increasingly difficult to offer you a great race, with all related permits and with the quality characteristics that we consider important. Better to stop now than to make concessions to the basic principles.
Many thanks to everyone. For the loyal participation, the words of praise and simply to the friendship it has brought us all.
Team Auenland Adventure Race