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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Kulshan Quest Adventure Race in a class of its own

Kulshan adventure race
Kellen Oetgeu, left, and Stephen Magnuson, right, plan out their route for reaching the checkpoints during the Kulshan Quest Adventure Race on Saturday, July 25. // Photo by Alexandra Bartick

Bright and early Saturday morning, a small band of athletes gathered at the bottom of Harris Avenue near the bay for the start of the Kulshan Quest Adventure Race.

Adventure racing is similar to a triathlon, but with a twist: there is no course, only a series of checkpoints that a team must navigate. The race consists of kayaking, biking and running, and this particular quest took racers out into Bellingham Bay as well as through Western’s campus on Saturday, July 25.   

The expert race, which is between eight and 12 hours long, started at 6 a.m., while the recreational race, between four and six hours, began at 12 p.m.

Teams were given maps of the area with the locations of all their checkpoints 30 minutes before the start of the race.  As the race began, race director Brent Molsberry released the herd of eager adventurers.

“I had done some adventure racing and really enjoyed it,” Molsberry said. “I wanted to be able to do it and there weren’t any races happening, so I figured that if I wanted it to happen I had to make it happen.”

This is the second year that Kulshan Brewing Co. and Recreation Northwest have sponsored an adventure race in Bellingham, and the community of adventure racers is steadily growing.

More races are planned for the future in Bellingham and groundwork is being laid for a potential Western student-run adventure racing club.

“Adventure racing has a really big following on the East Coast and in the South,” said April Claxton, executive manager of Recreation Northwest.  “We are trying to build up the adventure racing community out on the West. That’s what we want to do, just get more people exposed to the sport.”

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