Building a Team

The first and often most under-rated step in completing an adventure race is building your team. Choosing whom you will race with is one of the biggest decisions you will be faced with. You will be spending significant time with your teammates in very stressful situations with them, both during the race and in preparations leading up to it. It is very important to make sure you all have the same goals and similar levels of commitment to the event. A mismatch can open the door to endless frustration for everyone on the team. Most importantly, make sure you all get along and can enjoy each other's company. It's a lot of time to spend with someone you don't have much to say to. Always remember, this is a team sport and you can only cross the finish line together. There will be times when you will need to help your teammates out, and times when you will need help. Can you count on your teammates to help you? Can they count on you? Here are a few specific details to keep in mind when building a team:

Set Your Goals and Priorities

How seriously you and your team plan to take each race and how competitive you want to be are details that must be discussed when forming your team. To put it bluntly, since you must race together at all times, the success of the team is reduced to the lowest common denominator. If one of your teammates is not willing to commit to being competitive, then your team will not be competitive. Or, if only one of your teammates wants to be competitive in a particular race, that person will be frustrated throughout the race and will be a source of aggravation to everyone else. Make sure you have agreed in advance what your goals and commitment levels will be.

Share the Workload

Half of the battle in an adventure race is getting to the start line. There is an enormous amount of planning and preparation that goes into arriving at the start line as a complete team ready to race. Be sure that everyone on the team recognizes this and is willing to contribute. It is best to understand how much each of your teammates can, and is willing to invest when you are forming your team.


The key to teamwork is communication. This does not just apply to during the race, but all the way back to when you are forming your team. If you have trepidation about any aspect of a team you are about to commit to you should voice it then. The best time to get everything out in the open is before there is a too much at stake to deal with it rationally. Communicating right from the beginning also goes a long way toward developing the right rapport with your teammates for constant communication. Don't forget, a molehill before the race will almost definitely be a mountain during the race.

This Training Tip is an excerpt from the Frontier Adventure Sports & Training Inc., Adventure Racing Training, Teamwork Training Manual, 2008.

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