ad ∙ ven∙ ture run  noun   \ǝd’ven-t∫ǝr ‘rǝn\

  1. a form of simple jogging done with the goal of exploring a novel environment; modern origins can be attributed to this seminal escapade across NYC
  2. a means of seeing sights, meeting people, exploring landscapes, and sampling tasty treats while keeping endorphins high, engaging in heart-healthy activity, and having the freedom to stop and go as you please
  3. fast-moving bipedal exploration in which the importance of the journey transcends the importance of any particular destination 

It was winter in North Carolina, the kind of winter where croquet games are played barefoot, a cold beer sounds refreshing, and Christmas sweater parties are almost unbearable. Forest and I were home with his family for the holidays in the western hill country of the state, and trying to stay fit for an upcoming climbing trip in Spain. We “bouldered” on the barn door, did endurance upper body workouts on the mossy backside of the porch steps, and ran when we could. A few days post-Christmas, while running a “short cut” across the Blue Ridge Mountains to meet the family at a restaurant for lunch, we discussed goals for Spain: how we would stay fit, what we would do during days in the city and how we would find and chase the rabbit holes that traveling always yields. “We should go on runs everywhere we find ourselves,” Forest said, “as a means of exploring.”

 “Yeah, I love it!” I replied, “We can take cash, give ourselves a lot of time, and let whimsy dictate our path.”

 “Adventure running, we can call it. The first rule of adventure running,” Forest continued, sounding like a character in Fight Club, “is stop. And the second rule: keep going.”

And thus begins our story.

Adventure running became the perfect activity during our travels when we found ourselves in new environments with itchy feet, spare time on our hands, and a desire to get a feel for a place without going into full tourist mode. There’s something about running that made it ideal for adventure and exploration: the ability to stop and go, yet cover ground quickly while hunting for surprises around each corner, and the guilt-free ability to sample refreshments at every turn, plus the serendipitous spontaneity that results from leaving home with only a loose plan and some running shoes. Recently, we documented an adventure run and further expanded our set of rules to help you and your friends get off and running on the right foot. Here they are:

Rule #1: STOP. When something peaks your interest, when the hunger starts to rumble, when a kitty needs petting or directions need getting, you know it’s time to stop. 


Rule #2: Keep going. You are on a run, after all.  

Rule #3: Make a goal. Maybe you want to try a beer at every micro-brewery in town, or see the top seven tourist attractions of a city, or simply get lost without a map or phone. Whatever your aim, make it a game!   

Rule #4: Eat when you’re hungry.  

Rule #5: Eat when you’re not hungry. Adventure running never claimed to be about losing calories.  

Rule #6: Just say yes. Join the spontaneous ping pong game in the park, befriend the street performers, go bouldering in your running shoes. The goal is adventure. You’re not trying to set Strava speed records here. 

Rule #7: Talk to strangers. Ask questions, elicit directions, give compliments, say hello. There’s no telling where this could lead!   

Rule #8: Get up high. If a city has a vista point, get up there and get some fresh perspective. Then maybe close your eyes, get your friend to spin you around, point, and voilà, you have your next destination! 

Rule #9: Always take the stairs. 

Unless there’s an escalator. 

Rule #10: As you’ve probably figured out by now, there aren’t actually any rules to adventure running; the fun is in making it up as you go. Choose your own path, make your own goals, have fun, and run!