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Primal Quest Adventure Racing: Training Involved

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PIERRE, S.D. – Training for an adventure race is never easy, and training for one like Primal Quest requires more than just time and energy.
 “Training for a race like Primal Quest goes beyond following a detailed schedule. The training requires a mind set to achieving a dream that was never thought possible and that dream becomes paramount,” said Don Mann, Director of Primal Quest. “Orienteering is one skill racers competing in Primal Quest Badlands Presented by SPOT will need to brush up on as there will be more navigational choices than in past races.”
Team South Dakota includes four state residents. Team leader, Paulette Kirby, had much to say about how their training for the event was going, "This is our first experience with Primal Quest and our training is going well. We do as much as we can to train so we enjoy and finish the race. We all understand that we will suffer, but the challenges faced will be as rewarding as ever. We believe we are doing everything possible to meet the challenge and are looking forward to competing against the other teams in August."
The team has been to a different location each weekend for training. Some of the places they have been include: Needles and Cathedral Spires, Sylvan Road, Alkali Creek, Ft.Meade, Bear Butte, Mount Rushmore and the Railroad Buttes. Soon the team will be heading to Primal Quest Climbing training in Moab, Utah. This will provide training in traversing, ascending and descending.
Kim Dunkin, adventure racing athlete, provides these helpful tips when it comes to training:
  • Take care of your feet. No matter how fast you are if you have bad feet you are a liability.
  • The treadmill is your friend if you do not live in a hilly area. Hike or run up to 2 hours on a full incline.
  • Be able to run 20 miles, bike 100 miles, and then kayak for 4-6 hours all on the same day to prepare yourself for the start line.
  • Be sure you love your team; it is a long race together!

Racers should also keep in mind the following during training for Primal Quest Badlands:

  • Train well in both day and night navigation.
  • Know how to treat and manage medical issues.
  • Understand nutrition, hydration and sleep deprivation.
  • Train the way you want to race and be consistent.
  • Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses and train together.
  • Research the area in which the race takes place and be prepared for everything.
  • For more tips on training for Primal Quest, visit:

At approximately 600 miles, the 2009 course is the longest course in Primal Quest history and is very challenging for a number of reasons. Since the race takes place in the middle of August, there is also the possibility for extreme heat, particularly in BadlandsNational Park due to the rough terrain, lack of water and lack of shade.

The Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has partnered with the South Dakota Office of Tourism through the Million Dollar Challenge program to bring Primal Quest to the state. The Million Dollar Challenge program is part of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development. Program requirements, applications and additional information are available at