Sam Scipio may have been new to the adventure racing format when she set out to complete Eco Challenge Fiji, but she has never been a stranger to adventure. Scipio is an experienced ultra-endurance cyclist who thrives in self-supported race scenarios. The story she tells of her experience racing the 357-mile Trans North Georgia Adventure in 2018 is a testament to her adventurous spirit.
Challengers looking to complete an Eco Challenge adventure race must do so as a team of four. Scipio joined Clifton Lyles (team caption, chef, and experienced adventure racer), Chriss Smith (CrossFit owner, former Navy Seal, and experienced adventure racer), and Coree Woltering (trail/ultra marathon runner) to form Team Onyx, the first all African American Adventure race team.
Prior to departing for the race, which took place September 10-21 2019, each team member underwent extensive training to ensure their bodies and minds were prepared for whatever the 671 km course in Fiji would throw their way.
“Training for this race looked like daily life on 10,” said Scipio. “I would walk the eight miles to work and back instead of biking. I'd load my backpack up and walk around the city all night for strength and sleep deprivation training. I ate a lot of food to add reserves to my body. Of course, there were some specific training skills that we needed and trained for together as a team, like whitewater rafting and canoeing, ascending and rappelling. My favorite course was Wilderness First Aid; those skills are something I'll carry with me for a lifetime.”
The World’s Toughest Race, an Amazon Prime Video feature series from the creator of Survivor, launched its full 10-episode recap of the epic adventure race on August 14. Scipio wants people who watch the show to know that adventure racing is not a sport only for elite athletes.
“I see adventure racing as an adventure first and racing second,” said Scipio. “To challenge your body and mind doesn’t require blistering speed and miserable conditions – the suffering is not mandatory. There are times where you will be challenged and asked to push yourself and it's your decision how far and hard you'd like to push. Being there to enjoy and explore and learn has no penalty. Sport for the joy of sport still exists, and adventure racing is a great way to experience that on an immersive level.”
Team Onyx formed with mission to bring equality and representation to the outdoor sports world and have announced via social media that they intend to take on Eco Challenge Patagonia in 2021.
“It means a lot to represent black females, in particular,” said Scipio during episode three of the World’s Toughest Race. “You don’t see much of it in adventure racing. So, I’m happy to show people that there are, frankly, black superheroes.”
You can watch the full 10-episode series on Amazon Prime Video: Watch the World’s Toughest Race NOW!