A great adventure / Teachers from the East succeed in a multisport competition

Steve Hambling was a student at Northland College (Wisconsin), but came to Indiana University for a class in 1996.

It was in this class that an adventure of a lifetime awaited.

Hambling was in the same class as his future wife Dell, and the rest of it made history. It kicked off a life of adventure together, and the two officially tied the knot in 2006.

The couple started Adventure Racing competitively in 2006 and competed in several races until 2009 when the economy experienced a major recession. The impact of the recession dried up many circuits, so the Hamblings decided to take a break from racing, and it wasn’t until last year that the couple decided to resume racing.

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The couple faced their biggest challenge when they both competed in the USARA Adventure Race National Championship September 26-28 in Boone, NC.

The race started at 8 a.m. on September 27 and teams had 30 hours to cover as many routes as possible with checkpoints along the way. In reality, it started when the teams received the maps around 5:30 a.m. if someone was studying the lay of the land beforehand. The race started in Boone, North Carolina, and passed through other cities in the state including Blowing Rock and Collettsville.

There are three people in a team, and each team has a self-medical kit, a compass, a water container, a personal flotation device for each member and a cell phone. , which cannot be used while running and only used for serious emergency.

The race has three phases: cycling, running and canoeing.

“The only thing about adventure racing is that it’s not really about how fast you are, as much as you’re not ready to give up. That’s a big part of it, ”Steve said. “We’re going to go really fast and pass a team and nail a bunch of checkpoints, and soon after they will walk past us. It’s all about navigation. If you can’t navigate very well, you’re lost.

There were different classes in the national race – men, women and mixed elite. Elite mixed teams are made up of two guys and one girl.

The Dell team, made up of her and her teammates Karen Clark and Kristy Deep with the team name “Chickpoints”, took first place in the women’s division with a time of 27 hours 59 minutes.

Steve’s team, consisting of him and his teammates Scott Kanehl and Connor Oren with the team name “Spurious Reasoning”, finished fifth in the men’s open division in 26 hours, 46 minutes, 45 seconds.

Not all teams can participate in the national championship. Teams must qualify to enter.

“Personally, I didn’t do a lot of extra training because I only had three weeks from when I qualified until the time of the race,” Dell said.

The couple are co-owners of CrossFit Ripcord, where they stay in shape all year round. Both have been teaching at Columbus East High School for 15 years.

“We don’t look like your typical adventure runners because we do a lot of weightlifting and Crossfit,” Steve said. “Most of your adventure runners are endurance athletes. They can run very long distances and cycle very long distances.

Adventure races can last up to four hours or up to 30 hours in the national race. Ideally, Steve and Dell enjoy half-day to full-day races.

“The courts can hurt because you have to go so fast,” Dell said. “It’s all a sprint, and if you’re wrong you’re in big trouble. “

Steve and Dell say anyone, regardless of their level of experience, can start adventure racing, but they recommend having some boating experience.

Steve remembers a story going back to his early days in racing with his current team. They took a shortcut through a swampy swamp and found themselves in first place.

“I have the impression that my team is always ready to go for it. No matter how steep it is or how terrifying it looks, they dive head first, ”said Steve. “That’s what makes it fun for me. I don’t like to hesitate. I’m just going over it.

If anyone has a competitive interest in adventure racing, Dell suggests trying orienteering, which is a navigation-based sport in which participants use a map and compass to find a number of points. pre-placed checkpoints. Events take place mostly in the woods, but occasionally they can take place on the water or in an urban setting.

More information about orienteering clubs can be found at indyo.org for the Indianapolis area, orienteeringlouisville.org for the Louisville area, and ocin.org/home for the Cincinnati area. Additional information on adventure racing is also available at dinoseries.com/adventure-racing.

The Hambling files

Name: Steve Hambling

Age: 44

Birthplace: Mishawaka

High school: Mishawaka

College: Northland College with BA in East Asian Philosophy and Religious Studies, Indiana University with MA in Education

Profession: science teacher at Columbus East High School

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Name: Dell Hambling

Age: 44

Birthplace: Edgewood

High school: Edgewood

College: Indiana University with BA in Biology and MA in Education

Profession: AP physics teacher at Columbus East High School


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Sara R. Cicero