WAKING up from a short nap and finding a snake near you; swimming from island to island against strong currents; and navigating a huge map to arrive in your next destination.

These may sound like a story out of someone’s nature trip, but these are actually just a few norms in an adventure racing and were experienced by Team Islands, the best finisher from Cebu, the second-placer in the four-day Carrera Habagat race, last weekend in Bohol.

The team is led by hardcore adventure racer Niño Abarquez with triathlete Allan Chiongbian, ultra marathoner and triathlete Jade Abellana, adventure racer and navigator Rico Valentin, with support crews Ferdinand Marcial Hermoso and Ryan Viajedor.

“We swam from Talibon to Bien Unido with strong currents. Di jud ka molihok kung dili pakusgan ang paglangoy. I also woke up one time with a roughly 24-inch snake beside us,” Chiongbian shared.

Abarquez, who raced with a blister the entire time, still managed to lead the team and tackle more than 400 kilometers with just 15-minute sleeps per night.

Sleep, in an adventure race, is an option.

Abarquez said aside from endurance, having the heart and the will to finish is also important. But having an excellent navigator is also a huge plus in an adventure race, especially if all of the team members are suffering from blisters.

“We were injured but thankfully, we had an excellent navigator (Valentin), who plotted a great route for us,” said Chiongbian.

The Carrera Habagat had a 150-K trek or run, 205K bike, 10.62 swim, 43.46 paddling, and 7.1K tubing.

After 32 control points, only three teams made it to the finish line on time—Team Islands in second with Team Adrenaline of Manila winning the title and Team Trione of Dumaguete finishing third.

“If we did not suffer from blisters, we could have given them our best chase. We knew we were running second so we just tried to protect,” said Abarquez, who also led a champion team last 2002 and 2005.

Chiongbian also underscored the fulfilment one gets of completing an adventure race.

“It is very unpredictable. You don’t know what challenges you will encounter, which makes it more exciting and you get to appreciate the island more as you you travel to its most hidden areas,” Chiongbian said.