People have been navigating the Inside Passage to Alaska for millennia. Now, for the first time, they’re going to race it—750 miles, from Port Townsend, Wash., to Ketchikan, Alaska. Completely unsupported, and without motors. The new adventure race, dubbed Race to Alaska (R2AK), is being put on by the Northwest Maritime Center and is set to begin June 4, 2015. The winners will receive $10,000.
According to the event website, “It’s like the Iditarod. On a boat. With a chance of drowning.”
The competition will be stiff. Colin Angus, the first person to complete a human-powered circumnavigation of the world (along with his wife, Julie) and the record holder for fastest human-powered circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, just announced his entrance into the race. His teammate will be Dr. Steve Price, who currently holds the 24-hour world rowing record for his age (62) and is the former world record holder for the number of pull-ups completed in 24 hours (3,175).
“We’ll switch off rowing every two hours,” Angus said. “24 hours a day.” He estimates that it will take him and Price 10-14 days to cover the 750-mile course, rowing constantly. “It depends on the weather conditions, of course,” he added. “Headwinds are the worst.” They’ll train by rowing 12 hours in a day numerous times before the start gun even sounds in Port Townsend. “If I wake up the next morning and feel like I could keep up that pace for another 14 days, I’ll know I can probably go a little faster,” Angus said, explaining the grueling strategy. “If I wake up feeling like I was hit by a bus, I’ll know I need to slow it down a bit.”
The obvious question is: Why?
“It may seem tough at the time,” Angus said, “but in hindsight, these days are the best days of your life. Every challenge that may have been excruciating at the time— it’s always fun to look back on, and be happy that you took part in the experience.”
Check out the other teams currently registered to compete in the race, HERE, and stay tuned for more coverage of the 2015 R2AK on Alaskamagazine.com.