Dec. 12, 1999
"As the sun rose, the party was still going strong, just another day in an event where the need for sleep seems to evaporate for everyone...."
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Welcome to Eco-Challenge '99
[Countdown to Borneo 2000]
MountainZone.com takes you to Patagonia, Argentina this year for the 5th Annual Discovery Channel Eco-Challenge adventure race. Perhaps the toughest Eco yet, the 197 mile course slices through diverse and rugged terrain in an area that boasts some of the most volatile weather on the planet. Competitors will navigate day and night, over glacier-clad mountains and through torrid whitewater, knowing that fierce winds and driving snow may force them to seek refuge in specially built snow caves stocked with supplies.
The wild and scenic landscape of Patagonia shifts abruptly, from mountainous terrain to arid lowlands, often with only 40 kilometers separating the Alpine from the Pampas. The four-member teams, with at least one female, will compete in the non-stop, punishable, 12 days of mountaineering, horseback riding, whitewater and lake kayaking, mountain biking and abseiling (fixed-rope rappelling) tests before the winners will be known.
This competition is to adventure racing what the Super Bowl is to football; what the Breeders Cup is to horse racing; it is what many adventurers' train for all year (or years). Eco-Challenge is where the best and the newest talents in the multisport spectrum come together and push themselves and their team members beyond their perceived boundaries. The bios of the participants are, at times, unbelievable.
1992: Mark Burnett creates Eco-Challenge Lifestyles, Inc. to introduce North America to the multi-discipline, adventure racing which has been popular in New Zealand for years.
1995: What started out as a concept became a reality on April 25, 1995 when North America's first expedition competition was held in southeastern Utah.
Seven days, sixteen hours and twelve minutes after the start, Team Hewlett Packard was the first to complete the 370-mile course. Fifty teams participated: 40 US teams and 10 international teams.
1996: Seventy-one teams from nine countries travel to British Columbia to race more than 300 miles, night and day. Top competitors call the British Columbia competition the toughest yet. Even though Team Eco-Internet crosses the finish line in 6 days, 17 hours and 44 minutes, only thirteen other teams officially finish behind them.
1997: Eco-Challenge reaches a new level of global participation as 48 teams from 16 countries battled against each other and the elements over 300 miles of the Australian outback, rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. For a second year in a row, Team Eco-Internet claims victory, and its share of the $75,000 in prize money, in 5 days, 19 hours and 46 minutes.
1998: The race follows the trail of the casbah through Morocco in North Africa. The secret course across the High Atlas Mountains will be revealed to the 54 teams, representing 27 countries, just prior to the start of the non-stop 300-mile adventure race.
The 1999 Discovery Channel Eco-Challenge is an international arena for multisport adventure racers from all over the world. With over 12 new nations competing in this year's race, the number of teams totals more than 50. Stay tuned for the endurance saga of a lifetime.