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A resource for women in Outdoor Education and Recreation

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Gear Resources
Gear manufacturers have realised that lots of women like the outdoors and they're different shapes from men. Here's what's out there, and where you can buy it.

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Travel Resources
A selection of travel resources especially for women who love to travel. Includes a list of online communities if you do it yourself, or companies if you need a little help.

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Surfing Resources
Listed here are some links to resources from all over the world that cater to women who love surfing.

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Hiking Resources
Extended walks are great for the mind and spirit and lots of women love to take part in them. Check out these resources and get inspired to go on a walking adventure.

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Snow Sports

Snow Sports Resources
Skiing, snowboarding, backcountry, polar expeditions - all done in the snow and all done by lots of amazing women.  Check out these resources to find out more...

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Kayaking Resources
White water, surfing, sea kayaking, sprint racing, marathon racing, multisport, fishing...is there anything you can't do from a kayak? Explore these resources!

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Cycling Resources
A list of resources for all sorts of cycling - mountain biking, road biking, touring, racing, recreation and commuting - all specific to women.

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Climbing Resources
Women can (and have) achieved incredible things in climbing. Listed in this section are a collection of climbing and moutaineering resources that are useful and inspiring for all climbers.

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A list of organisations that cater exclusively to women, or run trips exclusively for women. A great way to find a women-specific adventure in your area.

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Outdoor Industry

Outdoor Industry Resources
Looking for resources to help you plan programs, companies and organisations that cater for women or organisations you can join? Look no further...

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Amanda Koerber - Adventure Racing

Amanda KoerberImagine running, bike riding, kayaking and more around an outdoor course filled with check points, competing with your friends against other teams to get all the check points in the least possible amount of time.  Sounds like fun?  If you think so, you should see if you can find and enter an Adventure Race near you.  This is what Amanda Koerber did, and she became so hooked on the sport that she and her husband have set up BlackHeart Events, an events management company that organises Adventure Races (and other events) all over Australia!

Adventure Racing is a mix of kayaking, mountain biking and running, combined with orienteering and any other random disciplines the directors may choose to throw in.  Teams of two or more people navigate their way around a course, trying to collect the most check points in the least time. Missing checkpoints is often no big deal because you’re not going to get disqualified - you will most likely get a time penalty instead. This means that pretty much anyone can finish an Adventure Race provided you don’t just throw in the towel part way through, so it’s worth getting out there and having a laugh. You don’t need a high level of technical skill - the kayaks are often either plastic sit on top or inflatable craft which makes them very stable and easy to paddle, the mountain biking is not too technical and in the shorter races the navigation is often only slightly harder than a street directory.  Many races also include a BBQ afterwards, which are a great chance for a chat with friends, or to meet new friends and team mates.

Consulting a map in an Adventure RaceAmanda says that she wasn’t all that involved in sports when she was young, and she only really started training seriously when she had to run 3km in a certain time for the martial arts she took up at university.  She competed in the Sydney City to Surf (a fun run), and enthused by this run and looking for a new challenge, she found out that the a half ironman race was to be held eight weeks later.  She bought a bike, increased her run training and started swimming.  Although she claims that it wasn’t a “pretty” finish, Amanda backed up six weeks later with a second half ironman, then moved onto a full ironman race.  When her flatmate dragged her out to an Adventure Race, Amanda was immediately hooked - and it helped that she met her husband to be as he crossed the finish line at a later race!  Amanda has continued participating in triathlons, Adventure Races and mountain bike races, often in an all-girls team.  She recently left a career in finance to set up and run BlackHeart Events and describes herself as an athlete, instructor, coach/personal trainer and cook/bottle washer when at home!

The interesting thing about Adventure Racing is that the premier teams are the mixed teams - not the all-male teams as you might expect.  Despite the fact that there might be more men around in the sport of Adventure Racing, women are always involved and constantly in demand by the top teams.  Many of the companies that organise Adventure Races are run by husband and wife teams, which Amanda says brings a good balance to the events.

Adventure Race kayakingAmanda says that her key female mentor is a fellow Adventure Racer, who is someone who doesn’t always win but trains consistently and always makes sure she has fun at the events.  She says that her best accomplishment in the field is introducing a large number of people to Adventure Racing, and helping people realise it’s not necessarily about being super fit, but rather about going out there and having fun.  

This, Amanda says, is the tip she would like to share with people - keep playing!  She says that when we’re teenagers, for some reason our sport and outdoor recreation stops being about having fun and starts being about training and exercise, which can have negative connotations because we start having to do it, rather than wanting to do it.  She says that if you put your shoulders back, head up and smile then it’s hard to be depressed, sad  or unhappy - especially when you’ve done some exercise as well!  And finally, don’t be afraid about getting things wrong - she says that the best thing about Adventure Racing is seeing people out there getting it wrong, but having the most fun of anyone in the race.

Amanda KoerberSo, if you’re interested in getting outdoors, engaging in a bit of friendly competition and having a great time with some friends, look up an Adventure Race near you!  They range from a few hours to multiple days and you can find them all over Australia.  Check out the BlackHeart Events website and consider entering one of their events, or look up Amanda if you’re after a personal coach and trainer.  And remember, it’s all about having a good time - so look into putting the fun back into your training!

If you're interested in Adventure Racing you should also visit the Sleepmonsters forum to find team mates, events or just to discuss anything about the sport.

If you liked this article you might also enjoy the profile of Thor Egerton, who talked to GO! Girls Outdoors about her sport of Mountain Bike Orienteering (and is also a keen Adventure Racer).

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