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Eco-race puts outdoors skills to ultimate challenge
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Chicopee Woods Trillium Trek

What: An adventure race featuring a mix of hiking, mountain biking, orienteering, trivia and special challenges

When: 8 a.m. May 15; training clinic Saturday

Where: Elachee Nature Science Center, 2125 Elachee Drive, Gainesville

Cost: $100 to $140 depending on team and registration date. See www.elachee.org/TrilliumTrek/regform.pdf for more information. No race day registration.

More Info: 770-535-1976; trilliumtrek@gmail.com

Elachee Nature Science Center will host its first-ever adventure race, the Chicopee Woods Trillium Trek, this spring.

The multi-discipline, eco-adventure race begins at 8 a.m. May 15 and will feature a mix of mental and physical challenges for contenders as they traverse several of the mountain biking and hiking trails spanning the 1,500-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.

"We’re gearing it more toward beginners, people who haven’t really done this before because it’s going to be a little bit of a shorter one, a little bit easier," said race organizer Claire Perko. "The emphasis is on teamwork; we want people to be able to go through this as a team."

An adventure race is a multi-discipline team sport that can include mountain biking, trail running, paddling, climbing, orienteering and other challenges.

For Elachee’s race, teams of three or four will complete a 15-mile course that will require them to run, bike, hike, navigate a map and compass, identify Georgia flora and fauna and complete surprise challenges. Each team must also complete a "passport" on each leg of the course by answering identification or other challenge questions.

Perko, a Gainesville resident and Elachee volunteer, said the nature center is an ideal location for an adventure race.

"Elachee is such a great resource for running an event like this and it’s kind of an untapped market that Elachee’s not really serving right now," she said. "There’s a lot of people in this area that like to do these events (and) we thought we could start something a little closer to home instead of having to travel real far to get to one of these."

Before the race, Perko recommends team members train together and spend a few hours at a time in the woods, whether hiking or biking the trails, to acclimate their bodies. On average, she said the race will take teams three hours to complete.

Elachee will also hold two training sessions to help people prepare for the race. The second session is Saturday.

Perko has completed several adventure races, including the Athens Eco-Adventure Race and the 7 Hills 3 Rivers Adventure Race in Rome. She said the overall experience was rewarding.

"It’s a great way to get outside and be active," she said. "You feel really accomplished afterward ... no matter if you came in first or last, you’re happy that you just made it through the course and it was a lot of fun."

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