When we start talking about ultrarunning, our thoughts immediately jump to sporting events. Races, FKTs, multi-stage runs are just some events that pop to mind. However, now for possibly the very first time, ultrarunning is being used for a different purpose. The Adventure Science expedition, 100 Miles of Wild: Madagascar’s Limestone Labyrinth will show another side of what ultra-endurance athletes are capable of, other than just running crazy long distances and collecting belt buckles. For this expedition Adventure Science has partnered with Kensington Tours and Delta Airlines. While most of us plan adventures by looking at maps and examining the area, planning the route before hand, this team will be creating the map for the very first time.
New and exciting opportunities are presented to us every day. It is up to us to pick and choose what we want to do with them. The Adventure Science team has decided to put their skills and knowledge for benefit of others. It is truly inspiring what they have been able to accomplish over the last few years. From searches for Steve Fossett and Caballo Blanco to various expeditions to Oman and North Dakota Badlands, the Adventure Science team has been able to provide some remarkable results. While they do have some corporate sponsorships, the Adventure Science volunteers are expected to pay their own way to these expeditions, which further signifies their dedication to science and never-ending path of education and exploration.
From October 1-14, 2014, Dr. Simon Donato, George Kourounis and Travis Steffens, all three Exlorers in Residence with Kensington Tours, will head to Madagascar’s Nature Reserve Great Tsingy to explore the Limestone Labyrinth. The team will be accompanied by a very small crew of volunteers. We interviewed Dr. Simon Donato back in 2013 and were impressed by what he was doing. He is a skilled ultra-endurance athlete, who founded Adventure Science in 2008 in order to conduct scientific and humanitarian (search and rescue) expeditions in remote, and difficult to reach locations. Adventure Science uses elite adventure athletes (mainly ultra runners), who are trained in field research, to reach the most remote regions where fitness has become a barrier for most scientists in addition to performing search parties for missing people and aircraft. His companions on this journey have a very impressive resumes as well. George Kourounis is an adventurer, elite storm chaser and star of the television series Angry Planet, while Travis Steffens is the founder of Planet Madagascar, Primatologist and Lemur expert.
The Adventure Science team, combining the backcountry skill of endurance athletes with academic research experts, will travel deep into the dangerous limestone labyrinth that can only be accessed by qualified teams of academic researchers. The Great Tsingy Nature Reserve is a UNESCO world heritage site, thus only certain people have access to this region. The expedition, 100 Miles of Wild: Madagascar’s Limestone Labyrinth, will require the team to trek, climb, crawl, and navigate 100 miles of dangerously sharp rock, towering cliffs, and unknown cave systems, in order to accomplish the expedition goals which are to provide the first detailed map of the region, identify Lemur species native to the region, observe and record the locations of caves and caverns, and to identify geologically significant features, such as dinosaur tracks, along this 100 mile route.
It is certainly exciting to see ultra-endurance athletes contributing to worthy causes being research, or charity, rather than just racing for their own benefit. From mental fortitude to physical fitness, the skills these athletes can offer are second to none. Research being done and results produced can only generate more projects that will arise from the ground up in the same fashion as the Adventure Science expeditions. These unique skills will allow this team of trained researches to access rugged shores of the Limestone Labyrinth, that will provide valuable information for scientist and researchers for many years to come.
You can follow this exciting expedition via social media links listed below:
Their schedule is very compact and they have a lot to accomplish in a very short time frame. We will be following this expedition very closely and we wish the Adventure Science team best of luck.