Xplor adventure park is just outside of Playa Del Carmen and has been putting on races for the brave and those that want challenges. Xplor has done this for a couple of years now. This annual event brings out the adrenalin thrill seekers and some even plan a vacation around it.
This event may not be for everyone but it is amazing to get an inside view of just what goes on at such races. We were there to check it out and not just sit on the sidelines. We waded through muddy water, crawled through caves and got covered in mud all to bring you this story.
(For those of you who do not know what Xplor park is like when it is open to the public the rest of the year, then check out our article about it.)
The Bravest Race at Xplor
Xplor has the perfect setting for an adventurous race with lots of obstacles. The caves, tunnels, forest and natural surroundings make it perfect for a challenge. When Xplor puts on these events they are really well planed and fun for participants. The price of the race might put off some but after you read about it here you just might change your mind. The price of the race cost about $50-$75 depending on when you sign up. The price includes the event entry, a nice shirt, small cloth bag, and use of helmet during the race. Many of the contestants commented that it was just as fun or even more fun then a normal day at the park because it was so interactive.
Why do the Bravest Race?
Why do people want to subject themselves to a complete mud bath and vigorous activity in the jungle and in caves? It is about the comradery, participating in an event with friends and doing something different and exciting. It is about doing things you would not normally do in any other situation like going through muddy swamp waters that are up to your waist with hidden logs. It is not about winning first place, it is more about enjoying the experience by taking it all in and having fun. Of course some cool photos for your online profile is always a good incentive as well!
Race Day at Xplor’s Bravest Race
First of all since this is a race taking place in woods, swimming in caves, obstacles and other potential injury prone activities you will need to sign a release form. There are medic teams on the site to carefully attend to anyone in case anyone is injured. Everyone pretty much knows that it is a very interactive event and people take care while participating.
When you arrive at Xplor there is a small area for spectators that are coming with participants. The finish line is available to see as well as the start of the race. The energy is electric with the energy of the participants and the DJ playing dance music.
The route is limited in size so they have different starting times for groups of 200 or less people to start. Since people go at different speeds during the event you will find yourself either behind people at an obstacle or by yourself on the 5k race route. If you truly want to run the whole event for speed then it is best to be at the front of the pack.
On the route Xplor had 30 obstacles this year. That also included six zones where there are zombies that try to get three flags you have attached with Velcro to your special belt. Even when you are getting tired the zombies make you run so you can try to keep your three flags until the end.
The races takes people about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours to finish it. It just depends on how fast you want to do it and if you get tired along the way.
What kind of shape do you need to be in for the Bravest Race?
You might think you need to be a professional athlete to compete in such a challenge but you do not have to be one. You just need the ability to run/walk 5k and having some arm strength comes in handy on several occasions. The general age of participants ranged from about 20-40 years old just to give you an idea. There is a minimum age of 16 required for entry. This makes sense because height is going to come into play when wading through the swamp or for some of the other obstacles. For older people it really is your own limits and as long as you can climb, swim, balance and are in good physical shape, we say go for it!
What are the obstacles at the Bravest Race?
With 30 different obstacles on the route it gives room to a lot of creative ways to make it interesting and challenging. Here is just a rundown of some of the most memorable ones.
- Log fence-some about 6 ft. or 2 meters high which involves climbing up and over.
- Piles of tires to cross-not as easy as you imagine since they do not provide stable footing.
- Jumping off a cliff- this is a big fear of a lot of people. It was about 12 ft. or 4 meters tall.
- Swimming in caves-the caves are beautiful to swim in and a different experience then when you visit the park normally.
- Wall of nets-climbing nets that are about 15 ft. or 5 meters tall.
- Ice water- in one of the caves the put ice in the water and you had to almost submerge all your body to get under logs.
- Crawling in caves-this might be a fear if you are claustrophobic. Some parts you have to crawl on your stomach.
- Electric cage- an electrified cage to crawl through while trying not to touch the metal.
- Two water slides- one is part of the normal park and the other is like a fun slip and slide.
- Swamp-this was something you would normally never do in nature but it is acceptable to do with hundreds of other people.
- Mud Mud and more Mud- Lots of mud and when you get a little cleaned off you get more mud.
- The big finale- a curved metal ramp with rope that you have to try to climb up and get to the top.
Tips for participating in the Bravest Race
-Bring a change of clothes, a towel and different shoes. There are outdoor showers provided for rinsing off because there is no way you want to hop in your car or a bus after the race covered in mud!
-Wear shoes that can get totally dirty or better yet, old shoes you can throw out.
-Don’t wear thick cotton shorts that will absorb a lot of water. Lycra shorts or running shorts that dry quickly are good. Even wearing longer lycra can help protect your knees when crawling. Most everyone wears the race shirt provided.
-You can bring a waterproof camera to take photos. There is a chance it can get damaged in all the challenges. The helmets do have a chip in them and they take photos of you during the race. They sell this at the end for a set price for all of them.
-Gloves can come in very handy. You will be crawling on your hands in the cave and ground and they can protect your hands.
-The later in the day you choose to run the more muddy it will be.
-The earlier you run the more energy there is, people start to leave by early afternoon, so it is good to run and have time to enjoy the post event activities.
-Bring photo id, your registration papers and money with you to buy food afterward.
-Try to do the event with someone or a group of friends. It will make it a more fun experience plus you can help each other.
-You don’t need to do much talking or understanding to do this event. So if you do not speak Spanish, don’t worry.
Next Year’s race
If you want to face your fears and see how brave you are, mark your calendars for next year to participate in this really fun event. This will usually take place in October. You will be joining a lot of other like minded people for a day of fun and something you will remember for a long time. This is just another great thing that is taking place here in the beautiful Riviera Maya and Playa Del Carmen.