The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

These notes are aimed at those new to Questars or to adventure racing to help you get started. On this page you will find information relating to the following topics:




How long are the various stages of Questars?

There are no set routes or distances with one-day Questars events. We give you a map with all the checkpoints marked on and you visit as many (or few) as you wish within the overall time limit (5 hrs for Novices and 6 hrs for Masters). You therefore decide how far you run, bike and kayak. In this way Questars appeals to everyone from complete novices through to the most experienced adventure racers.

The table below gives you an idea of the distances covered by Questars participants at previous adventure races:





Average Novice 

2-4 km

5-10 km

15-30 km

Top Novices

4-5 km

15-20 km

30-40 km

Top Masters

5-6 km

20-25 km

40-50 km



How long do you spend running, biking and kayaking?

Kayaking is the only discipline that has a scheduled time in one-day Questars events; normally between 50 and 60 minutes. Most teams - even complete novices - greatly enjoy the kayaking and use most of this time allocation.

How long you spend running and biking during one-day Questars events is upto you. This will depend on how far you choose to go and how fast you are over the ground. It’s a good idea when starting to play to your strengths - majoring on your best discipline. As you progress, the best overall scores tend to result from balancing time spent on run and bike which normally have similar potential points available.

Ensure you are familiar with how Questars adventure races are structured - see the Race Format for full details.


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What’s the best way to train for trail running?

The trail running at Questars adventure races is largely off road - mostly along varied footpaths and tracks, often in hilly areas and sometimes over open moorland. So training in similar terrain is ideal. Just getting off the gym treadmills or pavements into your local park or nearby green area will pay dividends. This will strengthen your joints especially ankles and knees in readiness for going off road whilst racing.

Running with a map of the area in hand is very useful practice. Practice keeping in touch with your location on the map - keep moving your thumb on the map to where you are. Get used to looking up and spotting mapped landscape features.

Get to know what pace you can comfortably maintain over longer distances over varied terrain. This will allow you to quickly calculate how many of the blue (run) checkpoints are achievable in the time you’ve allocated to your run stage. It’s far better to keep going at an even pace than go too fast and run out of steam.

To find out more, see these trail running tips for beginners



Can following a running training schedule help?

Yes. Many people find it helpful to have a training plan to provide structure and discipline to their running preparation. As you decide what distance you are going to run in Questars you can decide whether following a 5 km, 10 km or half marathon training regime is the most appropriate. Remember its stamina and overall pace that you are aiming to develop rather than short distance speed.

You can find training plans for each of these distances here



Can I do any training indoors, in a gym for example?

Yes. Treadmills are useful if it’s so wet or dark outside and you just can’t face going for a training run outside. But they are no substitute for off road running. Try putting some incline on the treadmill to give more of a work out or setting it to a hill programme.

Attending some gym classes or using gym equipment / trainers advice to build core strength is also useful.


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I’m new to mountain biking, what preparation can I do?

Getting out onto some off road tracks to practice mountain biking is the best practice. Cycling to and from work can also help to build stamina and familiarity with your bike.

You may also wish to have a look at the following articles which contain useful advice...


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Do I need any special kit for the kayaking stage?

No, all kayaking equipment is provided. We provide buoyancy aids, offset paddles and sit-on-top kayaks for all participants.

We have a fleet of RTM Ocean Duo sit-on-top kayaks which are double kayaks designed to be paddled by both one or two adults. There are three moulded seat positions on the Ocean Duo kayaks: front, centre and rear. If you are paddling a kayak on your own then you want to sit in the centre seat. If you are paddling a kayak with another person (i.e. team member) then one of you will sit in the front and the other will sit behind them in the rear position.

Solo participants and teams of two get one kayak to paddle, whilst teams of three and four people have two kayaks, so all team members kayak together (and must stay together).



I’ve not kayaked before. What’s the best technique?

Alot of first time Questars Novice participants have not kayaked before so don’t worry, you are not alone!

The basic technique is easy to pick up. Just have a look at what other participants are doing and/or have a word with one of the Quest marshals and they will be happy to give you some helpful pointers.

To learn more, watch this kayaking basics for beginners video.



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What should I eat and drink?

Like an engine your body needs the right fuel to work effectively. Paying attention to your diet in the weeks before a race and in the immediate period prior to racing are important components to good preparation.

Check out these nutrition basics and this simple guide to good nutrition to improve your racing.



How is it best to aid recovery post training or racing?

You’ll enjoy your training and racing so much more if you eat and drink the right things in the time period after exercise.

To find out more, read this 60 second guide to rest and recovery.



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How well do I need to be able to map read and navigate?

Whilst you don’t need to be an expert, being able to read a map and conduct simple navigation are key skills. Checkpoints are normally located at junctions of footpaths, tracks and other obvious features. You won’t need to go off public rights of way to find them.

This is not technical orienteering. It’s much simpler than that. You’ll be using a good quality copy of a 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey map. It’s normally A3 in size and printed on high quality waterproof paper. It’ll be pre marked with the location of the event base, transition points and all the checkpoints. There are no special markers on the ground - you’ll need to use the map and follow footpath, track, bridleway and road direction signs.



Can I use a GPS to navigate?

No. GPS devices are not allowed to be used for navigational purposes (though you may carry them to record your route for post-race analysis). Navigating by map reading and compass are all part of the fun of adventure racing.



Where can I learn more about OS maps and map reading?

The map skills section on the Ordnance Survey (OS) website has several online tutorials that will help you to get started. Topics include compasses and directions, relief and contours, grid references, map symbols, compass bearings, distances and scale.

It's also worth checking out the map reading pages on the OS website which contain top tips and useful guides.

It’s important that you know how footpaths, cycle routes, bridleways and other public rights of way are depicted on OS maps. Bikes must not be taken on footpaths. No access is allowed on routes that are not public rights of way (unless stated otherwise).

Make sure you are familiar with the symbols used on 1:25000 OS maps - a good working knowledge of the common key symbols is really useful.



Do I need to plot grid references?

No, you won't be given the grid reference of the checkpoints and have to mark them on your map. All the checkpoints are pre marked on the course map that each team receives.



Do I need to be able to use a compass?

No, but if you do know how to use a compass then it might be an advantage.

Most of the navigation can be conducted without needing to use a compass. That said knowing how to use a compass is useful to quickly check you are going in the right direction or to chose the right route at a track junction. It’s also useful if you do get lost and need to relocate.

Click on the links below to read...


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