Primal Quest

You think of Subaru and one word comes to mind: tough. It makes since that Subaru is the proud sponsor of the first expedition-length adventure race in the United States, the Subaru Primal Quest. Telluride, Colorado was the location of the the first one adventure race back in 2002, and it took place in conjuction with the Telluride 360° Adventure Festival.

Co-ed, with four-person teams, endurance athletes from 8 different countries managed to cover over 250 miles of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Requiring extreme commitment, racers competed 24 full hours a day, having to mountain bike, kayak, trek, and mountain climb (despite the name, no Subaru, or any other motor vehicle, is used). The prize pool was a cool $250,000 – twice the amount of any other previous adventure race.

Racers are tracked via GPS technology, a useful tool for spectators and competitors. Racers carry GPS units as they go through the course, and when they reach race checkpoints, their GPS data is downloaded so that up-to-the-minute race data is available to spectators on the Subaru Primal Quest Web site.

Keep in mind that racers also have to battle the elements.  While nobody quite needed a pair of Sorel boots to navigate wintry conditions, they experienced nearly everything else on Nature’s palette. In the first go round, less than an hour’s drive from the race site, a forest fire – and the ensuing dry air and smoke – make it difficult for racers to breathe throughout the race course.

Elements non-withstanding, New Zealand’s SoBe / Smartwool team won top prize of $100,000 finishing the race in 74 hours and 12 minutes. Second place belonged to Team Montrail which came in at 79 hours and 41 minutes, and third place went to Team GoLite which finished in 83 hours and 17 minutes.

Out of the event’s original sixty-two teams, only 48 managed to completed the race in the first go round. The first race officially ended after Team El Dorado crossed the finish line on July 16th.

The Subaru Primal Quest was first televised on Outdoor Life Network, which broadcast three hours of coverage to over 45 million homes across the U.S.