Test Your Nettle Adventure Challenge

Teams of 2-6
Outdoor adventure!
March 2nd, 2019, 5am-3pm
Mt Snow Resort Dover, VT

The Short Intro: The Test Your Nettle Adventure Challenge is an adventure race in which teams of 2-6 members will run and paddle their way through the rugged and beautiful green mountains of Vermont, using only a map and compass to find their way. There will be secret hidden checkpoints to find, obstacles to overcome, and an incredible adventure waiting to be had! Are you up for the challenge?!

A Slightly Longer Intro: At GMARA, we try to design our races so new teams can participate, have fun, and make it to dinner. To be honest though, we realize our longer events can be intimidating. Most GMARA events are 10+ hours of competitive endurance racing, including trekking, biking, paddling, swimming, rock climbing, skiing and snowshoeing. It can be hard to know whether you’re up for a challenge like that!

That’s why we launched the Test Your Nettle Adventure Challenge in 2017 – a shorter event that’ll give you a chance to test yourself, your navigation skills, and your team dynamics before you decide to get lost in the woods for a full day. This is a great event for new racers, friends and family, younger kids, and anyone who wants to experiment and see what this sport is all about. If you’re a regular, this is the perfect opportunity to bring someone new and help them get their feet wet.


1. a herbaceous plant that has jagged leaves covered with stinging hairs.
2. irritate or annoy (someone).


1. a person’s ability to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way.


Mettle (with an M) is the courage to carry on. If someone wants to “test your mettle” they want to see if you have the heart to follow through when the going gets tough. Many GMARA racers have walked through fields of stinging nettle (with an N) – some accidentally, some on purpose because it’s the fastest route. Fields of nettle can test your mettle.

What will I be doing? The Test Your Nettle Adventure Challenge will consist of paddling (boats, paddles and PFD’s will be provided), running/trekking (both on and off trails), and a few team challenges.

When and where will the be happening? We’re exploring details for 2022 currently and will make an announcement if we host a Nettle.

How far might I be going? Our last Nettle: Trek ~5k (3 miles), paddle ~5k (3 miles)

What Categories/Divisions are there? All male, All Female, and Mixed/Coed. If you need help finding a teammate, please email us!

I’ve never done something like this, how hard is it? You’ll have to decide how much training and physical preparation is required for 3 hours of adventure, but if you’re comfortable with a hike of the same duration you should feel ready to join in the fun. A team of new racers can expect to be out there for the full time, and likely won’t have enough time to find all the secret checkpoints. 3 hours may seem like a long time but ask any adventure racer and they’ll tell you it flies by a lot faster than you want or expect!

I’ve done other GMARA races like the Bitter Pill, how does this compare?

Some things stay the same as other GMARA events:

  • Navigation with map & compass
  • Great terrain
  • Team-based adventure — groups of at least 2 people, staying together for the whole event
  • Fabulous post-race gathering and grub!
  • Awesome awards and raffle prizes

Other things will be adjusted:

  • Shorter race length (3 hours)
  • No mountain bikes required. Trek and paddling only (boats will be provided)
  • Significantly lower price
  • More flexible team size (2-6 people)
  • Later start time (no waking up for a 4:30 a.m. start!)
  • Reduced gear list


Race Check-in/Start/Finish Location:
TBD based on 2022 hosting decision.

Last year’s schedule, to give you a sense for how it works:

Saturday, October 9th: 11 a.m.
Race Start:
Saturday, October 9th: 12 p.m.
Race Finish:
Saturday, October 9th: 3 p.m.

You’ll still need to be prepared, even if you’re not deep in the backcountry for a full day. This is gear that you’d want on any outdoor adventure, so even if you have to shop for a space blanket it’s still a wise $2 investment.

Mandatory Team Gear (1 per team, must be carried through the entire event):

  • Waterproof map bag (a 2-gallon ziplock works ok if you don’t go swimming)
  • Pencil/pen
  • Watch (non-GPS capable)
  • Compass (declinating compass recommended)
  • Basic First aid supplies. We suggest:
    • 1” bandages
    • 3″x4” gauze pads
    • 2″x5yd gauze roll
    • 1/2” adhesive tape roll
    • Tweezers
    • Anti-bacterial creme/towelettes
    • Ibuprofen
    • Alternatively something like the Adventure Medical Kit 0.5 is a great all in one kit to consider.

Mandatory Individual Gear (1 per racer, must carried or worn during the entire event):

  • Backpack
  • Container for at least two litres of fluid
  • Food to last the duration of the race
  • Space Blanket/Bag
  • Whistle
  • Long sleeve shirt & pants (and whatever other layers you want to stay warm and dry in October weather!)

Occasionally racers ask if they’re allowed to bring things not on our gear list – absolutely! Nothing that gives an unfair advantage, but the items above are just a starting point. Here’s a short list of other recommended gear to consider:

  • Hat (for sun & bugs)
  • Lighter / waterproof matches
  • Chemical hand warmers and/or gloves (cold hands make everything difficult)
  • Sunscreen & bugspray
  • Duct tape
  • Dry bag
  • Extra Change of Clothes
  • Warm Hat
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Antihistamine (benadryl) tablets or topical gel
  • Cell phone & a waterproof case (but see the electronics policy)
  • Knife with folding, locking blade


Here's the latest news about this race:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can team members split up and go do different sections of the race? All team members must stay together at all times during the race, so no.

How are teams ranked? Teams are ranked by the number of checkpoints they successfully find. In the event of a tie, the team which did it faster is ranked higher.

So you’re saying I should stay out in the woods till I find all the checkpoints, no matter how long it takes? We’d really rather not have to send out a search party, plus you lose one checkpoint for every minute you’re late.

Are maps provided or do we have to bring our own? All maps will be provided, and will be pre-marked with the secret checkpoint locations.

Will we have to plot UTM Coordinates on our map? No, maps are pre-plotted.

Will water be available at transition areas? Yes, we plan to have a limited supply of water available for you in transition areas.

Will we have access to gear we leave in our vehicles after the race starts? Probably not. Plan to bring everything you think you may need for the duration of the race.

Can we add a team member to our team after we register? Yes! Please email us and we’ll edit the team registration.

If it’s a 3 hour race, why is the course open for 4 hours? While we think many teams will finish in around 3 hours, based on feedback from previous years we want to give teams that need more time, the option to try and clear as much of the course as they want to, so we keep the course open for an extra hour.

I’d love to do this race, but I’m having trouble finding teammates, can you help? We’re happy to try and connect individual racers. Email us your name and what your experience level is. We also recommend posting the request on our facebook group page.

I’m new to adventure racing, where can I get more information about this sport? We recommend checking out the United States Adventure Racing Association website for all things AR, and the “New to AR” page specifically for tips on getting into the sport.


Team # Division NameRacers
34CNettle of iron, buns of steelJessie Brennan, Zach Brennan, Steve Waterman, Courtney Waterman
24CNettle DetectorsChristopher Constantino, Scott Frison, Tom McGrimley, Sara McGrimley
164CUnauthorized WalkaboutClaire Kozik, Aion Feehan, Grace Kozik, Dave Eypper
43MStinkButtSteven Zummo, Jeffrey Butler, Alfonso Zummo
103MCherry Pie on StandbyBrandt Scott, Pete Westover, Tim Westover
52CSolvitur ambulandoMichael Leyden, Sara Granstrom
62CTeam AwesomeAlli Bologna, Keith Wendrychowicz
112CTeam 474Katrina Antonovich, Ken Paulson
172CShady GroveJordan Duffy, Brianna Fischer
72FAcetamino-winBrianna Mahon, Kara Henry
92FNot Lost, Just ConfusedPaula Griesacker, Jessica Cauley
82FLas BrujasHeather Ashey, Rachel Hume
142FLost in the WoodsJen Moran, Nicole Pellitier
132MHook's TrekkersAndrew Hook, Zachary Hook
122MOver The HillsChristopher Provost, Jeff Labonte
152MOcean ExplorersJesse Mechling, Rafael Mechling

Totals: 2C:4, 2F:4, 2M:3, 3M:2, 4C:3


Registration is closed for the previous event and not open for possible future events. If you'd like to be notified when things are planned, sign up for email from the contact page.

For reference, these were the rates for the previous event:
  • May 22 - Jun 30: $35 per racer.
  • Jul 01 - Jul 31: $40 per racer.
  • Aug 01 - Aug 31: $45 per racer.
  • Sep 01 - Oct 03: $45 per racer. No shirts available