14 Years of the Wilderness Challenge Brings Us To Its Last

A 14-year tradition in the spirit of competition and adventure is coming to a close. This will be the last year of the All-Military Wilderness Challenge, an event that tests the adventure skills and endurance of military personnel from around the world.

This event isn’t about mock war scenarios‑there are no guns‑it is about survival and pure adrenaline, adventure fun. The event will be hosted by Ace Adventure Resort and the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Morale, Welfare and Recreation department (MWR). It takes place on October 9 to October 11 in Minden, West Virginia. There, competitors will journey up into the rugged Appalachian Mountains in and around New River and Gauley River, where the elements will test their limits while inspiring their spirit for adventure.

There are five different extreme adventure competitions in the challenge. The first is the 8k mountain run, which is on October 10. Also on that day is the 14-mile whitewater race, where a guide will accompany the team as they maneuver their raft through rapids. October 11 starts with the 12-mile mountain bike race. Then there is the 7-mile duckie race (a duckie is like an inflatable kayak), which goes through class 1 to class 3 rapids. Finally, there is the 14-mile mountain hike race. All in all, it’s over 50 miles of adventure. There’s even a sixth, unsanctioned swimming challenge. It doesn’t count officially, but that doesn’t bother most competitors, as it isn’t only about winning, it’s about proving your mettle and having fun.

The event draws in over 300 challengers vying for their chance at glory, but only the first 60 teams registered will be allowed to compete. Teams can be a mix of active military service or veterans as well as gender, but four members of the team have to be in active service and at least one member has to be a woman. Even for military personnel, the event can be one tough adventure, and that’s why there’s this training schedule to help those who might be a little green around the ears still.

Any team that crosses that completes the race gets the Challenge Coin as a trophy for their efforts, but there can only be one winner. The winner of the All-Military Wilderness Challenge will qualify to compete in the USARA (United States Adventure Racing Association) Adventure Race National Championship.