It is time we talk a bit more about training for Survival Run: Hunter Gatherer 2013. 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:

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-piece medal/amulet is collected through the race, 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 can continue on without that piece of the medal/amulet. In that case, you finish the race, but do not necessarily complete it. 

We will have two lists, those who completed the race 100% with all of their medal, and those who finished the course but did not get the medal. Only those who complete the race 100% are eligible for full ranking.  

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 those items 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 will be well marked with arrows and reflective markers, but always ask yourself a question at each intersection, "Am I on the right track?" "When is the last time I saw a marker?" "Why was that volunteer yelling wrong way as I left that last challenge station?"

Bring Food, we DO NOT have Aid Stations:

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

Packet Pickup:

is at 3pm Friday the day before the race. If you cannot make Packet Pickup on Friday, we will add the task to your race on Saturday morning. We do this a bit differently for Survival Run, be prepared. 

Race is located at Camp Eagle:

Please check the Hunter Gatherer Travel Page for 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 5th, 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. After a certain distance we may have a station where you can take an additional challenge to opt back into your shoes, but it will cost you a significant amount of time and energy. This will be an interesting trade-off for many. 

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. 


Next video: http://youtu.be/dG9Ia3Xxf2Q How to Lace 5 Holed Sandals These two videos are primarily for participants of the Hunter-Gatherer Survival Run. For info on that race check out: http://fuegoyagua.org/survival-hunter-gatherer/ This video demonstrates how to cut out a pair of 5-holed sandals using just a knife.

Previous video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfuVqa-r2h8 How to cut out a pair of sandals with a knife. These two videos are primarily for participants of the Hunter-Gatherer Survival Run. For info on that race check out: http://fuegoyagua.org/survival-hunter-gatherer/ This video demonstrates how to lace up a five holed pair of sandals.

  • LUNA Sandals DIY Sandal Kits are 50% OFF for all Survival Run Applicants using the code "survivaltraining2013" on www.lunasandals.com - *This is not required, but recommended if you want to try making them and running in them before the event. 
  • LUNA Sandals has also provided a coupon code for 30% OFF of their regular pre-made sandals, using the code "huntergatherer30" on www.lunasandals.com.
  • *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 SteriPen and 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; 

Cactus plants can not only be used to hold water, but also to boil water. The prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) is the consummate survival plant in many ways. This plant is not only edible and medicinal but also the pads can be used to hold and boil (purify) water.

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

Human Path Survival Schol has provided 3 Bowdrill PDF lessons (Parts 1 -3).  Note that these files are password protected. If you are registered to race, you can email info(at)fuegoyagua.com for the password

  • (They are larger files, about 40-80mb and may take a little while to download & you’ll want to open them in Adobe Acrobat or Reader so that the video will work)
  1. Part 1 - http://thehumanpath.com/online-survival-education/BowDrillFire_Part_01_Components.pdf
  2. Part 2 - http://thehumanpath.com/online-survival-education/BowDrillFire_Part_02_Preparation.pdf
  3. Part 3 - http://thehumanpath.com/online-survival-education/BowDrillFire_Part_03_Ember.pdf

You will make and shoot your own survival bow:

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

This is hopefully a little more informational video than the shorter version. Ashe Juniper (aka Mountain Cedar) in Central/South TX is a really handy wood for a survival bow. It can be a little temperamental, twisty and prone to crack lengthwise as it starts drying, but as a short-term, green survival bow it's very snappy and just a really easy wood to work with.

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 proper throwing stick:

The most primitive, yet one of the more effective and useful tools for a hunter gatherer. Learn how to carve out a quick but effective and well balanced tool, then learn to throw it. 

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

Learn about Algarita, Juniper (berries) and Cactus (nopal). You will benefit by learning to identify, harvest and name some medicinal uses for these plants. 

You will make basic cordage from wild grasses:

Cordage making from wild grass is easy once you get the technique. There are videos available with a simple search on YouTube, but Human Path Survival Instructor Sam Coffman will have a video available for us to post very soon.  

You will make your own Improvised Primitive Pack:

Read Gear List, you are allowed to bring a large piece of fabric and/or extra t-shirt, bandannas etc.  

This is a video I made to help out the extreme athletes competing in the Fuego y Agua hunter-gatherer survival race coming up in some very severe terrain in Central TX in about a month.