Adventure Race coming to Giles Island Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A unique experience will be coming to the area tomorrow morning.

Sporting fans who show up on Giles Island at 8 a.m. can see what may very well be a mix between the Triathlon and the CBS hit &8220;Survivor.&8221;

Adventure racing, which features running, biking, swimming, canoeing and several other survival techniques will come to the Natchez area with the Natchez Adventure Race.

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Lena Yarbrough, a Natchez resident who competes in the LA (Louisiana) Adventure Racing series, explained what fans might expect were they to attend the race Saturday.

&8220;Anybody can do it,&8221; Yarbrough said. &8220;You have three people on your team. The racing consists of running, mountain biking, canoeing, and a few mystery events. You never know what&8217;s going to happen until 30 minutes before a race when they give you a map. You have to find certain checkpoints during the race. It can be a mental challenge or a physical challenge. (Your team) has to (stay) together. You can&8217;t be more than 100 yards apart. It&8217;s a great challenge.&8221;

Yarbrough has competed in adventure races for four years, now. Last year, she found two fellow Natchez natives to complete her team. Jennifer Mire has been with Yarbrough for two years now, and Cara Moody joined the fold last year to give them an all-female team.

The LA Adventure Racing Circuit has races throughout the state of Louisiana all year. This will be the first race to take place in the Miss-Lou.

&8220;It just races in Louisiana and Mississippi,&8221; Yarbrough said. &8220;I&8217;m really excited that we managed to bring one to Natchez.&8221;

The four-hour sprint races are grueling, but Yarbrough said they usually pack quite a crowd.

&8220;This particular series, your max(imum number of teams) is 50 teams,&8221; she said. &8220;That&8217;s 50 teams of three, so it gives you about 150 people. We usually have at least 45 teams on hand.&8221;

When asked what draws people in to such grueling events, Yarbrough gave an answer familiar to many athletes.

&8220;Its such an accomplishment just to finish all these races,&8221; she said. &8220;With your teams, you really like to have fun. It builds friendships, because it&8217;s really tough to get through together.&8221;