Racing for Adventure in Borneo

Fitness Contest Yields Audio Diary of Pain in Paradise

Participants in the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest

Participants in the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest. IMG hide caption

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In December 2003, fitness journalist Stefani Jackenthal competed in the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest, an annual four-day adventure race with a $200,000 prize. The event, held on the island of Borneo, involved kayaking, biking, rock climbing and running — a lot of running.

Jackenthal was joined by two fellow journalists on "The Ink Team." The trio faced off against 24 other top-flight teams from 14 different countries, drawn by the challenge, the exotic locale and, of course, the money, among the largest offered for an adventure race.

While each night was spent in a luxurious hotel by the beach, the days were filled with extreme physical exertion in steamy, muddy jungles, tiny fishing villages, the open ocean and, in the event finale, a hair-raising 300-foot rappel from the summit of 13,000-foot Mt. Kinabalu.

As Jackenthal relates in her audio diary, the goal was simply to have fun and finish — the blisters, sunburn, bumps and bruises were gravy. But, as she says at the finish line, "I'm already planning for my next race!"

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