And the winner is...???

While the racing season may appear to be winding down for 2016, in the Adventure Racing Ontario Series, things are really heating up!  With one race left in the series, the winners in each of the three categories (Co-ed, Female, Male) is yet to be decided and in many cases, could be determined by who shows up and who doesn’t get lost at the Raid the Hammer Adventure Run, being held November 13th in Hamilton, Ontario. Winners in each category of the ARO Series receive their team name engraved trophy, a t-shirt, and arguably the most important prize: bragging rights!

 Team Spinning out of Control on the podium at the RockstAR adventure race in July.

Team Spinning out of Control on the podium at the RockstAR adventure race in July.

The Adventure Racing Ontario Point Series (formerly known as OARPS) began in 2009 as a way to help grow and sustain the sport through cross-promotion and to create competition between teams throughout the season. Teams create a roster for the year that can consist of up to five members, not all of whom need to compete in every event. Points for each event in the series range from 50-200, depending on length, number of disciplines, and whether or not navigation is involved. Adventure runs, such as the popular series put on by Don’t Get Lost, and involve only foot travel and navigation, are worth up to 50 points per team, as are shorter multisport races such as the Cataraqui Adventure Trek.  Teams can earn up to 100 points at multisport events such as Storm the Trent, the South Coast Adventure Race, and RockstAR, and at longer single sport events such as the Muskoka River X. What is arguably the toughest event of the season and Ontario’s only 24+ hour adventure race, Wilderness Traverse, is worth a hefty 200 points and could easily be the deciding factor for how a team finishes in the overall standings. Teams can only accumulate up to a maximum of 300 points from any combination of events, with the number of points being determined by category placing.

 Team Crash, Splash and Dash at the Cataraqui Adventure Trek in August.

Team Crash, Splash and Dash at the Cataraqui Adventure Trek in August.

This year In the Co-ed category, we see two teams going into the final race of the season tied with 288 points.  The Long Sault Longshots earned a hefty 190 points by completing the full course at Wilderness Traverse, and added podium results at the Giant’s Rib Raid and Storm the Trent to their total.  They are currently tied with Spinning out of Control, who had top finishes in their category at three of the 100-point events: Storm the Trent, the South Coast Adventure Race (SCAR), and RockstAR. The Flatlanders, another experienced co-ed team, are not far behind in third place with 276 points.

 The Long Sault Longshots getting an early start on the season at Raid the Rib.

The Long Sault Longshots getting an early start on the season at Raid the Rib.

The female category is also hotly contested going into the final race of the season with two teams within striking distance of the category championship. Navigate This, who won the ARO Series in 2014 and were third in 2015, is currently leading the division with 286 points coming from strong finishes at SCAR and RockstAR. Close behind them, however, is the Speed Bunnies, who were the only all female team to complete the course at Wilderness Traverse, earning them 200 points, which they added to a top finish at the Giant’s Rib Raid in April for a total of 250 points.

 The Speed Bunnies refueling in the dark hours of Wilderness Traverse, where they were the only female team to complete the course.

The Speed Bunnies refueling in the dark hours of Wilderness Traverse, where they were the only female team to complete the course.

Current standings couldn’t be closer in the Male category, with six teams within 15 points of each other! Race Day Rush is going into the final race of the season with 294 points earned at Wilderness Traverse, RockstAR and the Stars WAR winter event. Right on their heels is Crash, Splash and Dash, who are only four points behind with 290 points earned at Storm the Trent, SCAR and RockstAR. Only three points behind them is Black Swan Racing who have 287 points from the Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race, RockstAR and Wilderness Traverse. And, would you believe it, just one point back with 276 points is Flummoxed.

 Race Day Rush at the finish line of Wilderness Traverse.

Race Day Rush at the finish line of Wilderness Traverse.

Want to see how all this action shakes down at the last event of the season?  Registration for Raid the Hammer is still open until November 10th.  The 2017 Adventure Racing Ontario Series is not far behind and kicks off January 21 at the Don’t Get Lost Snowshoe Raid.  This 3-hour rogaine style orienteering event is a great way to start the season and enjoy the snow.  Registration opens in November, so start putting together your 2017 team roster!