• cormacmacdonnell

What To Expect on the ShamrockAR?

Updated: Feb 8, 2019

A good number of people have been asking me questions like if the ShamrockAR is similiar to a Quest Adventure Race or the Blackstairs Adventure Race ? What is the route for the race and will the route be marked ? Do I need to be able to read a map and navigate ? etc

so, i said I might try to expain a bit more about whats involved in a race like the ShamrockAR, especially for new teams that may not have done a race like this before.

So, off the bat the big difference between ShamrockAR and other adventure races is its a team based race ( teams of 2 or 4) and each team stay's together for the race, usually one person keeping an eye on the map and navigating around and the other usually keeping an eye on the time and carrying a control description card ( see below)

You will be using mountain bikes instead of road bikes so that means there is going to be a lot of off road riding. Dont worry, it wont be hard core down-hilling but you will find yourself on forest roads, back roads, narrow lanes and indeed some rough grough over the 8 hours. you can expect to be in the saddle for well over 4 hours on this race so make sure your MTB is in good nick and you have a few spare tubes etc in case of punctures.

Like a lot of adventure races , the ShamrockAR is broken down into different stages and each team will do each stage over the 8 hours. The first half of the race will involve some urban orienteering around the village of Graignamanaigh, a bike / hike stage and a Canadian Canoe Paddle on the river Barrow. In the afternoon, you will be out on the bikes on a grand tour of the region where faster teams will try to pick up some extra foot controls.

For the Shamorock AR you will recieve a list of co-ordinates in advance to mark onto your maps ( at home if you wish). Dont worry if you havnt done this before as there will be a few maps up on the wall of the registeration centre on race morning to allow you to check your maps, making sure all controls are marked in the correct location.

Here is a useful You Tube clip showing hhow to read and mark up a 6 grid Reference on an OSI map

The image below shows a map with controls marked in. Your map will look something like this but controls will be marked in by hand with a pen.

Map showing controls marked in at a recent race in Wicklow

On race morning you will also recieve a list of controls with a brief description and the points allocated to each control - similiar to the one below from a recent 5 hour race in Wicklow.

Example of an AR Race Control Sheet

So, once you have your maps marked up and your control sheet in hand, you are ready to race and the objective is to make your way through the 4 stages and "dib in" to electronic orienteering control that are loction around the race area on your map. Image below shows a person dibbing into a control box during a race.

Its up to each team to decide how they get from one control to the next and indeed if they wish to leave a few out and move on to another, keeping an eye on the time throughout the day.

Thats the basic difference between a race lime the ShamrockAR and other adventure races like Quest, Gaelforce. There is definately a bit more planning, race strategies and team work involved and it will definately leave you with a big smile on your face when you cross the finish line. More blogs on a few AR topics will be posted over the next few weeks to help new teams get organised and dont worry there will be plenty of help available on the day to give tips and advice.

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