Executive group includes six top US racers and race directors
The United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA), the governing body for the sport of adventure racing in the United States, will transition to a non-profit structure under a new executive management team.
USARA was founded in 1998 with the goal of supporting, promoting, and building the sport of adventure racing (AR) in the United States. It provides comprehensive general liability event insurance for race directors, supplementary insurance for racers, race sanctioning, safety standards, race directing guidelines, ecological and sustainability guidelines, a national rankings system, and sponsorship support to race directors. Since its founding, USARA has also organized an annual national championship event, where teams can test themselves in the top adventure race competition in the country.
“For more than 20 years, USARA has been the unifying force for adventure racing in the United States,” Michael Garrison, the new executive director of the organization, said. “The new leadership group hopes to write the next chapter for USARA, to better position the association to thrive in the coming 20 years and beyond.”
That new group includes Garrison, who lives in Zionsville, Indiana; as well as Abigail Perkiss and Brent Freedland of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Rootstock Racing, an organizer of adventure races in the Mid-Atlantic since 2016 and the captains of the two-time national championship-winning team, which is also ranked 20th in the world by the Adventure Race World Series; Kate and Cliff White, the directors of Strong Machine Adventure Racing, an adventure race organizer based in Portland, Maine; and Mark Lattanzi, the president of the Adventure Racing Cooperative and the Blacksburg, Virginia-based race promotion company TanZ Navigation.
“We are already hard at work at making USARA the best it can be, so that race directors get the support they need and so racers are assured that a USARA-sanctioned event is going to be the most fun, challenging, safest event they can do in the outdoors,” said Perkiss, the incoming USARA board chairwoman.
Lattanzi, who serves as president of the Adventure Racing Cooperative (ARC), a not-for-profit cooperative with the mission of organizing, growing, and providing resources to the adventure race scene in the United States, said ARC will work to form a closer relationship with USARA.
“ARC is excited about the new USARA and is looking forward to working together with them to form the best organization for the U.S. adventure racing community,” Lattanzi said.
Troy Farrar, who served as president of USARA since its inception, will remain involved with the organization as an advisor.
“Troy carved out a permanent place for the sport in the national scene and helped create a generation of passionate racers and race directors,” Garrison said. “Largely as a result of the decades of hard work Troy dedicated to cultivating AR and building out a structure by which the sport could succeed and grow, adventure racing is thriving in the United States from California to Maine.”
Farrar said his familiarity and comfort with the new leadership group convinced him it was time to pass the torch.
“I don’t think I could have picked a better group to take over,” Farrar said. “The right team came along to take the sport to the next level. It’s time for some new blood, new ideas, new talents.”
Planning is already underway for changes to be instituted for the 2021 race season. Next steps for USARA include a conversion into a non-profit, which Garrison said will make the organization more responsive and accountable to its members; the addition of more processes and functionality to aid race directors in staging and promoting their races; a commitment to supporting all racers and promoting an environment of inclusivity in the sport; and the addition of more benefits and incentives to encourage racers to become members.
Also in the works is an updated rankings process and format; a restructuring of the qualifications for the annual USARA National Championship, including the regional qualifier system; and an overhaul of the sanctioning system and process.
“While we have a vision for how to move the organization forward, we also want to hear from and work with anyone who shares that goal, as like in adventure racing itself, we know it takes a strong team to succeed,” Garrison said.
The USARA board welcomes those who wish to provide input to email the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.