"If I get hurt, lost or die, it is my own damn fault"


Unlike other hardcore adventure races, it [SURVIVAL RUN™] places a premium on intelligent problem-solving, and the gear list looks more like something you’d find on a survival course than an ultramarathon
— Lonely Planet "Best Places to Test Your Survival Skills"

What is Survival Run?

SURVIVAL RUN was created by Josue Stephens, director of FUEGO Y AGUA ENDURANCE.

SURVIVAL RUN is not an obstacle course race, an adventure race, an ultra marathon or a survival skills event, but an adaptation of all of these. SURVIVAL RUN is all about adapting to the environment and taking on challenges that are part of the culture and location where the event takes place. SURVIVAL RUN does not pretend to be dangerous, it is dangerous. That is why it is by application only and allows only those who are truly physically and mentally prepared to take on the extreme challenges.

SURVIVAL RUN offers a SOLO and 2-Person TEAM Category, read below for Rules and Information. 

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
— Charles Darwin

WhAT MAKES a Survival Runner?

photo by Jeff Genova

photo by Jeff Genova

People who want to push themselves beyond ordinary experience, who want to be challenged to think and adapt as well as endure, and who set themselves apart from the pack as part of a special tribe, a combination of athlete and adventurer, endurance elite and explorer, survivalist and SURVIVAL RUNNER. 

SURVIVAL RUN requires its athletes to swear an oath:  "If I get hurt, lost or die, it is my own damn fault." If you agree with that statement: then you are eligible to apply.  


SURVIVAL RUN™ Medals for Nicaragua 2014 - Handmade in Nicaragua, they depicted petroglyphs found on the race course near where they were earned. 

SURVIVAL RUN Medals for Nicaragua 2014 - Handmade in Nicaragua, they depicted petroglyphs found on the race course near where they were earned. 

SURVIVAL RUN™ Medals for Nicaragua 2013 - a puzzle medal

SURVIVAL RUN Medals for Nicaragua 2013 - a puzzle medal

Some rules can vary from one SURVIVAL RUN to another since the race adapts to the culture and territory where it is hosted. Here are the general rules on how the race is held. 

  1. SURVIVAL RUN generally has a 24 hour overall cutoff, with other cutoffs within the race. 
  2. SURVIVAL RUN has a Gear List that varies from event to event. 
  3. SURVIVAL RUN™ has a MEDAL with 4 Pieces that is collected through the race. All together these pieces read "I DID NOT FAIL" and are collected in a specific order:
    2. I MEDAL
    3. DID MEDAL
    4. NOT MEDAL *The final piece, NOT, is the toughest one to obtain and is generally given at the finish line. 
  4. The MEDALS are not always the traditional style that hangs around your neck, they are sometimes stone or wood carvings, or some other locally sourced item. You may even craft your own as part of the race. 
  5. Using the medals, SURVIVAL RUN is structured as 4 sections in 1, with each medal section as its own mini-race. Each race section has an overall cutoff time. 
  6. Each piece of a medal is earned by completing a certain number of challenges within that section. Once a challenge is successfully completed, a colored wristband is given or retrieved.
  7. The number of wristbands for earning each piece of a medal may vary. (For Example: 4 out of 5 available wristbands = FAIL MEDAL, 3 out of 3 available wristbands = I MEDAL. 
  8. Challenges are PASS OR FAIL, there are no penalties to make up a failed challenge. You will simply not receive the wristband for that challenge. 
  9. Most Challenges do not have a limited number of attempts and you can keep trying, as long as you stay within the cutoff time for that area. This does not apply to target or throwing challenges, which have a set # of attempts. *Never assume because you missed a challenge (wristband) that you will not have enough to get the next medal. 
  10. Target/Throwing Challenges will generally have a practice area. You are allowed to practice as much as you like but must be ready to attempt the full challenge once you begin. 
    1. When you arrive at a challenge area, let a volunteer take down your bib # and your time. 
    2. Read the posted set of instructions, you are responsible for reading and comprehending these instructions to complete the challenge. Race Staff will not tell you anything different than what is posted. This is your responsibility!
    1. If you completed a challenge successfully, make sure you have your wristband on.
    2. BEFORE YOU LEAVE check in with a volunteer to have your bib number and your time recorded. 
    3. Read any posted Departure Instructions 
  13. You will have a thorough GEAR CHECK before the race begins to make sure you have everything on the required kit list and no disallowed items. While we cannot tell you how much food you need, we will look at what you have and ask you to make sure you have enough for the entire race! 
  14. Only those who complete the entire course with I DID NOT FAIL MEDALS are eligible for prizes and trophies.
  15. Results will be posted with those who completed the entire race and received I DID NOT FAIL MEDALS. All others will be posted as DNF. 


We have a 2-Person TEAM Category for SURVIVAL RUN. There is a separate Prize for 1st Place TEAM. All of the rules are the same as the SOLO category unless listed below:

  1. Teammates must apply and be approved separately. *Just state your intention to be on a TEAM and your mates name on the application
  2. Teammates must register separately but declare their teammate and TEAM Name upon registration.
  3. Teammates will each earn their own set of I DID NOT FAIL MEDALS. 
  4. Teammates must wear a similar shirt, headwear or armband as their "team uniform" to easily distinguish them from SOLO participants.
  5. While racing, teammates must be within sight of each other at all times
  6. Teammates must cover 100% of the course together. 
  7. Unless otherwise instructed, only one Teammate is required to complete a challenge to qualify (Example: only one person has to swim out to the island to retrieve item, only one person has to climb up the tree etc.)
  8. Teammates can share a load, or switch off during the carries (example: 50lbs of firewood can be split for two, or runners take turns carrying the weight)
  9. Teammates cannot split up and race SOLO once they have started the race. 
  10. Teammates are not eligible for SOLO category prizes.