Originally conceived by Greg Arnold (also founder of the Planet Adventure Race) in the Winter of 1999 before anyone had even heard of the sport. The first event was run as a no frills “test” race with about 25 participants. As I remember that day, it was very cold and windy. Greg was very worried about the teams’ safety during the paddle section. (That day would be a bad one to “go swimming”) One team was dubbed “team cotton” for their failure to wear anything else. No one capsized and all returned to shore safe and reasonably dry. For maps, this first event used copies of the very basic East side Eagle Creek Park map and Xeroxed/enlarged USGS Topos to cover the West side of the Park. Maps cases! What the heck are those? (And to set the standard for all future races, all the race director’s red Sharpie pens would disappear into the hands of the racers.)
The first “official” race took place on August 26th, 2000 with about 70 participants. The proceeds of the first two events (2000 and 2001) and its related orienteering clinics were given to the Indiana Crossroads Orienteering Club for the purpose in funding the majority of the professional mapping fees for the West side orienteering map. The proceeds from all future events have been donated to charity. The donations through 2008 have totaled over $52.000.
The 2002 race featured the first ever rappel off of the 50 foot Beach rowing tower during an athletic event open to the general public. The 2003 race had the first ever rappel off the Eagle Creek Reservoir dam. About 45 feet into the water. Other firsts included the 2001 granting of a single day off-road biking permit for the East Side walking trails. In 2007 we received the first ever permission to bike off pavement inside Fort Harrison State Park. 2008 featured a 5am night paddle on Fall Creek up stream of Geist Resevior.
The 4th annual race was held in September of 2003 with a record field of 196 racers. The race-day is normally the first Saturday after Labor Day. Today we have quality 1:10,000 true orienteering maps of the individual East and West sides of the Park and a 1:15,000 scale ‘combo” map for the entire Park. After a two years of racing on the Northeast side of Indianapolis near Fort Harrison State Park, we are returning to Eagle Creek Park for our 10th anniversity race.
The 11th annual race will take place September 11, 2010. We will once again donate 100% of the race proceeds to charity.
Ryan Burke , director 2010
Dave Kauffman , director 2005-2010
Michael Sapper , director 2000-2009