An adventure of the body and the mind

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First Posted: 8/19/2013

You might call it getting lost in the woods for two hours.

The organizers call it “The Hunger Games” meets “Survivor” meets “The Amazing Race.”

No matter how you label it, though, it’s certain that the inaugural Krell Adventure Games will be one hell of a good time.

It’s no secret that mud runs/color runs/really any type of runs have become increasingly popular, but one company decided to challenge the typical formula and up the ante, putting a twist on a genre of activity known as adventure racing.

“The one thing about adventure racing is that it’s for a select audience. Only a few people are crazy enough to run through the woods in the middle of nowhere for 24 hours,” said Rodney Villella, who created Krell Adventures LLC along with partner Amy Bartoletti. The duo are adventure race course designers and race directors for the New York Adventure Racing Association. In 2012, they designed the course for the USARA Adventure Racing National Championship held in the Catskills in New York and received unprecedented acclaim.

Adventure racing is a sport typically done in teams that can last from a few hours up to several days. Participants are often dropped in a course that they must navigate solely by map and campus, and activities throughout may include kayaking, canoeing, and trail running, among other things over a long distance.

“There’s a lot of equipment that you need and a lot of skills you must acquire to do something like that, so we asked ourselves, ‘What can we do that’s sort of like adventure racing, but will appeal to the masses?’” Villella said. “As far as making it like a mud run, well, there’s only so many times people can run through mud pits and crawl over cargo nets, so what’s the next thing?”

Enter the Krell Adventure Games, a two-and-a-half hour expedition where the challenges are many, but made for all.

“We’ve made three major changes to keep it unique,” Villella noted. “For starters, everyone gets a map, something simple to read like a subway or ski trail map, of the arena. The map will show you the location of all the challenges and you can choose which ones you want to go do, so you can do as little or as much as you want.”

The race is done in teams of two, with many of the challenges being dependent on a two-person system. But the kicker of the Krell is that it’s not all about being physically fit.

“Through all the races we’ve done, there’s one thing people enjoyed most: the mental challenge,” Villella said. “Not all of the challenges in this race are physical. There are going to be times when you’re going to have to solve a puzzle or really think something through.”

Want to know what said challenges are? No dice, as Krell is keeping it all a secret.

“We want people to be able to come and have to figure things out, so we’re not revealing a thing,” Villella said.

And, of course, what would such a race be without a charity event attached to it?

A portion of each registration will be donated to the EJS Fund, which supports Eric Speicher, Jr., a local 13-year-old boy who has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer for the last few years.