Participants in the fifth annual Red Dirt Adventure Challenge lined up on Saturday to compete in the running-cycling biathlon organized by the ACU Outdoor Club at Abilene State Park.
Undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff and the general public were allowed to participate in the beginner-level adventure race, which, unlike past years, was the first off-road biathlon composed of a trail-running leg and a mountain-biking leg, according to www.acuoutdoorclug.org.
Participants could choose to enter in one of three divisions: Just For Fun, Family and H-Core. The JFF and Family courses consisted of a 6.5 mile bike ride and a 1.5 mile run, and the H-Core course consisted of an 8.5 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run.
The race started at 9:30 a.m., and most of the 11 two-person teams were finished by 11:30 a.m.
Though the running portion and most of the biking portion were on dirt and gravel roads, the rain muddied much of the course, making it difficult to navigate.
“It was sort of a slog through the swamp on the biking section this year,” said Colter Lane, Outdoor Club president and senior physics major from Kalispell, Mont.
With about 15 volunteers, this year’s RDAC was one of the best yet, Lane said, despite a small turnout.
“We didn’t have as many people sign up as we would have liked, but with the lower numbers, it was more low-key and it was a much more relaxed atmosphere,” Lane said. “Everyone was really able to interact with each other.”
First place in the H-Core division went to Randy Lang and Joe Byun with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes, 51 seconds. Daniel Garcia and Steven Gist took second place with a time of 1:15:18.
In the Just For Fun division, Jim Cooke and Anita Vigil placed first with a time of 1:21:33. Second place went to Sara Beth Almqurst and Sarah Kratzer, with a time of 1:40:26.
“There were lots of awards to give out, and it was really fun,” Lane said. “We’ll continue to have the event annually, and we hope that as people get more excited about it, it will get better and better each year.”