Wilderness Challenge 2014

All-military race goes 52 miles in two days


Airmen from the 110th Airlift Wing joined their fellow service members in the 52 mile, two-day, Wilderness Challenge finale Oct 10-11 in the mountains of West Virginia. The Wilderness Challenge is a race composed of five events: an 8k run and 14-miles of whitewater rafting on day one, and a 10-mile, mountain bike course; 10-mile duckie paddle and 14-mile forced hike on day two.

(U.S. Air Force video/Jimmy D. Shea)


Military members gathered on a camping resort in Fayetteville, W.Va., to take on the mountainous West Virginia terrain during this year’s Wilderness Challenge, where they competed in cycling, paddling and on-foot events over a two-day span.

When the final teams crossed the finish line, the competitors had completed approximately 52 miles in rainy, muddy conditions, thanks in large part to two overnight thunderstorms.

The Wilderness Challenge is a race composed of five events: an 8k run and 14-miles of whitewater rafting on day one, and a 10-mile mountain bike course; 10-mile duckie paddle and 14-mile forced hike on day two.

This year, for the Wilderness Challenge finale, organizers said they did their best to ensure the race was more difficult than the previous 13 years. Throughout each event, checkpoints were placed in key areas for safety, accountability and to ensure teammates were within 100 feet of each other, which is one of the important rules of the challenge.

Cold, wet, shivering competitors gathered near the finish to congratulate each team that finished the race. Though winners were crowned for each individual service and the overall competition, the goal was to finish as a team.

For more than a decade, teams have gathered in the mountains of West Virginia to accept the challenge, but that era has come to an end. The competitors gathered under a tent for the awards ceremony of this finale, all hoping for nothing more than a short hiatus and the return of their beloved Wilderness Challenge.

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