Hunter Gatherer Survival Run 2014 - Training Guide


THIS GUIDE IS WRITTEN FOR THOSE COMPETING IN THE 2014 HUNTER GATHERER SURVIVAL RUN, NOT THE 25K & 50K TRAIL RUNS. 

*Final Required Items List will be available on the Race Page September 1st. 

One of the main objectives of Survival Run is NOT to reveal the majority of the obstacles until you encounter them on race day. However, with the nature of the Hunter Gatherer challenges, some of them require at least some pre-race research. 

Even without extensive pre-training on specific survival challenges, this race is not impossible for runners who are intelligent, in good shape and willing to accept new challenges. You will, however, have an advantage if you train on the items we outline below.

Some things you should know about this race:

Complaints and Sob Stories are Ignored:

We are not here to hold hands with you, or to listen to a sob story about how the race did not treat you fairly. We do not want to hear how you did not listen to instructions and went the wrong way, or how you lost your gear due to poor preparation etc etc...

If you plan on complaining or giving up, do not show up. There is a great little race called Warrior Dash we can recommend for you. 

This race is tricky:

It is a running race, where speed is your ally, but it is also a race where taking your time to focus on the skills at hand will benefit you greatly. Someone may run much faster than you, but if they cannot get a fire made efficiently, or their sandals pop, or they miss targets, they will not have much of an advantage. Although there will be several physical challenges/obstacles that will require strength and endurance, there are many skill obstacles that require focus and dedication. This is unlike many Obstacle Races, where brute strength and forward movement can get you through 95% of obstacles. 

In a Survival Run, there are two ways to get to the finish line:

You can finish the race, but you may not complete it. We have a series of challenges where you receive something as proof of completion. A 4-part medal is collected through the race,  if all challenges are accomplished, it reads I DID NOT FAIL. The obstacles are pass/fail, which means you do not get to do a penalty (like burpees) to get through them. However, even if you do not make the obstacle/challenge, you should continue on without that part of your medal. In that case, you finish the race, but do not necessarily complete it. 

Survival Runners are ranked by how many challenges they complete first, then by finish time. Example, if you finish in 16 hours with only 8 challenges, and someone else finishes in 18 hours with 10 challenges, they beat you. 

This is not a gear intensive race...

...like an adventure race, but the limited gear you are allowed to carry is ESSENTIAL to the race. Skimp out on your allowed gear list and you will not have a good race. The Hunter Gatherers were resourceful and did not need much, but once they made their tools, they valued them like gold. 

Treat your volunteers well:

They are here because they want to be, let's keep it that way. Our volunteer requirement is to make sure our runners know what it is like to be on the other side of the table. If you CANNOT make your volunteer requirement before the race, please state your intention to volunteer when you check-in. 

Respect Cut-Off Times:

We are not going to tell you something that is not true to mess with your head. If you have not made a cutoff, we will pull you from the course, that is it. 

Pay attention!:

This race may get complicated at times, but that is part of the course. We are not here to hold your hand or herd you through a red-carpeted race course. Ask questions if you do not understand, make sure you do not leave a station until you FULLY understand what you just did and what you need to do. Being in a blind hurry will NOT get you through faster. The course is going to take some self-navigation and will not always be marked. Always ask yourself a question, "Am I on the right track?" "Why was that volunteer yelling something as I left that last station?"

Bring Food, we DO NOT have Aid Stations:

Have you read the Hunter Gatherer Survival Run Page yet? If not, you had better do it now...

Packet Pickup:

Is at 4pm Friday the day before the race. Bring ALL OF YOUR GEAR! We do Packet Pickup a bit differently for Survival Run, be prepared. 

Race is located at Camp Eagle:

Please check the Hunter Gatherer Travel Page for Race Itinerary and more info on travel and lodging.

Remember, www.google.com is a great resource the original Hunter Gatherers did not have...

You have some Training to do...

You will make and run in homemade traditional sandals:

When the race begins at 4am Saturday morning, October 4th, you will be required to make a pair of homemade traditional sandals. These sandals will carry you through the race, as no other footwear is allowed (until further notice). This is probably one of the biggest challenges for most people. The way you make your sandals at 4am will define a large part of your race.

Although you are making your own sandals, we are providing Vibram sole and nylon lacing materials from LUNA Sandals. The soling will have an anti-slip MGT footbed on it. The thing you need to do is learn to cut and lace a sandal that will not break or slip off of your feet. There are several ways to lace the sandal, but LUNA recommends the 5-hole method for this type of event and terrain. 

  • LUNA Sandals DIY Kits are here (special price for HG entrants only!) - *This is not required, but recommended if you want to try making them and running in them before the event. 
  • *HINT - take the time to make a VERY good pair of sandals on Saturday morning, the runners who take off ahead of you with a shoddy pair of sandals will not last long.
  •  *HINT - take some extra lace with you, be careful how large you punch out the lacing holes. If you can, take extra rubber soling with you, even the scraps...

You will filter your own water and make a Survival water container:

Carry your own water filter and filter your own water. Some filters/purifiers are very thorough but take forever to use, others are very quick. Do some research, you don't want to be caught with your pants down at the race. Some ideas are Water2Go & LIfeStraw, some people like using pills to drop in the water. 

Making your own water container from cactus is a good skill to have, or at least know about; 

You will make fire with a bowdrill:

Making a bowdrill fire with Sotol stalks is relatively easy once you get the technique down. However, it does get easier if you learn about it first. 

There are extensive resources and videos on bowdrill fires on YouTube. 

You will make and shoot your own survival bow:

Learning to make and shoot a juniper bow is a great idea. Watch this video to learn a bit about making your own bow.  

You will make you own travois:

Obviously you are the horse that will be pulling the travois, learning a technique, then figure out how you will implement it with the gear you have. 

You will make and throw a traditional sling:

A primitive, yet effective and useful tools for a hunter gatherer. Learn how to make a sling and throw it. 

You will know and identify some native Texas plants and their medicinal or edible values:

  1. Algerita
  2. Sotol
  3. Juniper
  4. Prickly Pear Cactus
  5. Chinaberry
  6. Mullein
  7. Live Oak
  8. Chicory

You will benefit by learning to identify, harvest and name medicinal uses for these plants. 

You will make cordage from Sotol:

Cordage making from Sotol is easy once you get the technique. 

You will make Primitive Snares & Traps:

Learn to make a Stone Deadfall Snare (Flat Stone Trap) and a Trail Set Snare. 

This eBook "Deadfalls and Snares" is a great resource

You will make your own Improvised Primitive Pack:

Read Gear List, you are allowed to bring a large piece of stout fabric bandannas etc.  NO PRE-SEWN CLOTH (Shirts, etc.)