There is possibly no other island in the Caribbean region that could put on The Nature Island Challenge like Dominica.
Need some extreme mountains? Check. Need some volcanic backdrops? Check. Need some waterfalls and deep river gorges? Check. Need a marine reserve with steep underwater drop offs, rugged cliffs and hidden caves? Check. But wait a minute…surely we could not throw in friendly welcoming people, a huge diverse cultural history, and the longest hiking trail in the Caribbean? Check check and check!
The Waitukubuli National Trail is not something that people expect to find in the Caribbean, typically known for beaches and sunshine. But Dominica has established this amazing trail - 115 miles long and divided into 14 segments - that weaves in and out of the tapestry of island life. The trail passes through farm land, multiple villages and communities, and even through the Kalinago Territory where the indigenous people of the Caribbean live.
Most of the segments are suitable for a day hike for serious hikers; some can be done in an easy 3 hours of walking; others are closer to 8 hours of hard going. But all of the segments are unique and worth doing for their different dimensions- scenic viewpoints, history and people.
Of course the athletes participating in the Nature Island Challenge are sometimes doing two or three segments in a single day, covering over 10 miles of trail running, up and down steep ridges, across rivers and through the shadows of the rainforest. During the race they will be required to stop and take photos just so we can get them to slow down and appreciate the beauty all around them!
Well, it’s time to get back on the trail - the sun is shining and the rain is falling, all at the same time. That’s life on the Waitukubuli National Trail, home of the Nature Island Challenge.
Day Four arrives with weary racers and yet lots of excitement. This is the final push and by sunset we will have an overall winner for the first annual Nature Island Challenge.
Watch the video here
Team USA is still in the lead but they know that they have to finish strong and keep the pressure up. One small slip-up could easily cost them the trophy. The final day is the shortest with a total distance of around 10 miles. It ends at Cabrits National Park, home to the newly renovated Fort Shirley.
After a small-goal football challenge against a group of local players and a quick fishing challenge, the teams are on the final stretch with a fast run to the finish line.
Before the winner is crowned there is a final major challenge to really test the dancing skills of the teams. One of Dominica’s oldest traditional dances is called the flirtation. While not a technically difficult dance, the teams were given a very short time to learn and then perform the dance. Without a doubt the last major challenge was also the race’s most entertaining. Dressed in traditional wear and dancing with a team of professionals there was a great deal of hilarity, stepping on toes, and some very un-traditional moves!
We have no spoiler to reveal the final winner of the inaugural edition of the Nature Island Challenge. Head over to our YouTube Channel to see the video from Day One.
As Day 3 of the Nature Island Challenge got underway the weather conditions looked even worse than the previous day. However as the day did not have the extreme terrain experienced the day before the mood remained positive among both the organizational team and the athletes. There were fewer rivers to cross and waterfalls to jump into, so despite the rain, there was much less concern on all fronts.
The Day 3 race kicked off quickly, as no one wanted to stand in the rain for long. The runners wanted to get moving to stay warm and the support crew just wanted to get back under shelter!
Most of the day’s challenges (both mini and major) were based on the traditions of the Caribbean’s first people, the Kalinago. The course would run through the Kalinago Territory, ending at the Kalinago Baruna Aute, an area where visitors can see and experience the traditional Kalinago lifestyle.
The domino challenge gave a slight advantage to the Caribbean teams as dominoes is a game taken very seriously in the region. As you can see in the video the traditional method of slapping the tiles down was well played by Trinidad! The Traditional Wear mini-challenge was highly amusing - a true challenge to get the athletes looking their best in Kalinago dress. Getting athletes to wear a dress might seem hard but everyone was a good sport.
The day ended with a triple play Kalinago challenge with Kassava bread making, basket weaving and cane juice squeezing to determine who had the best survival skills using the old-time methods.
Despite the rainy start to the day we ended up with mostly great weather and a matching positive outlook for the final day of Dominica’s Nature Island Challenge.
Congratulations to Antigua for today’s major challenge win - that means three different teams have now won a major challenge.
Next Week: the final day of the race and the announcement of the overall winner!
Great news! After careful consideration we have extended the application date to Feb 7th. We know there are some people out there trying to put their teams together. Now you have a chance. Get busy and get training because the Caribbean’s best adventure challenge race is on April 7th - 11th 2014 in Dominica.
At the beginning of NIC Day Two there was a sense of both relief and concern among the organizers. Relief that Day One had gone smoothly, but also concern regarding day two’s challenging weather conditions.
We knew that Day Two would be the most physically demanding of the four day adventure race, with some of the most dramatic scenery and conditions to match! Our main concern was that the day’s mini challenges were mostly water-based, involving Middleham Falls and the famous Titou Gorge, a film site for The Pirates of the Caribbean movie. So we had to continually evaluate these waterways throughout the day.
By starting time we had received reports from our safety and medic teams (who had set out at 5 am) that although the conditions were wet and windy there were no unusual safety concerns. So Day Two of The Nature Island Challenge was a GO!
I think this video gives you a good idea of the challenges faced that day by our athletes. Extreme terrain, mud, water, driving rain, windy ridges, boiling puddles and the Valley of Desolation!
If you have never been to Dominica’s Valley of Desolation you might not understand why one team member stops to ask the cameraman “What is this?”! If you have experienced it, you will remember a valley of other-worldly terrain, smells, steam and exploding vents.
Once again thanks to a great job done by medics, police, safety divers, film crews and the entire organizing team from the Discover Dominica Authority.
(Spoiler Alert!) Team Trinidad will forever remember their epic win in the final challenge by a mere one second! Congratulations.
A small island located in the Caribbean, Dominica is well known in the adventure travel world to have the Caribbean’s best diving, hiking and whale watching. Dominica is also blessed with some of the friendliest people in region, untouched rainforests, and vibrant cultural traditions. Many people say that if Christopher Columbus were to sail up to Dominica again today, he would see the same island he did those hundreds of years ago. While not quite true, it does paint an accurate picture of an island of dramatic mountains draped in lush green rainforest and dissected by hundreds of rivers.
It is in this landscape that The Nature Island Challenge will immerse you. You will experience landscapes that few can imagine and fewer would think of running through for four days. Boiling lakes, waterfalls, windswept mountain ridges, ancient footpaths cut into plunging cliffs, cold red mud, hot black mud and searing sun followed by driving rain. Anything is possible in Dominica.
But It is not just our dramatic topography that we want you to experience. Dominica is rich in cultural history, from the traditions of the last Kalinagos in the region to the stories of the Neg Mawon. Each day you will be asked to perform mini and major challenges based on this cultural history and the physical environment. These challenges will give you a chance to catch your breath but also to interact with some of our island’s personalities. At the end of the race it just might be these faces that form your strongest memories.
So sign up, come and see Dominica - a place that few of your friends have heard of, even fewer have ventured to!
Immerse yourself in terrain found no where else in the Caribbean, immerse yourself in rich culture. Participate in a race that will be a life-long memory and cause you to return to Dominica many times.
We highly suggest that you stay a few extra days at the end of the race. We will sooth your tired body with our natural hot springs, local cuisine, excellent massages and an award winning local beer, Kubuli.
We might not be the world’s hardest endurance race. We might not be the coldest, hottest or longest adventure challenge race — but we are sure to be your most memorable.
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Dominica’s Nature Island Challenge Video of Day One is now up on YouTube. There are four segments in total and each week this month we will be releasing the next segment for you.
Day One of the Nature Island Challenge was an exciting day for all of us on the organizing team! After hundreds of hours of meetings, both locally and internationally, we had everything in place - our competitors had been briefed and were lined up on the starting line.
Cameramen, medics, guides, organizers, water stops, food handlers, police and numerous other support staff were in place and hoping that Day One of our first ever Nature Island Challenge would go smoothly.
As you can see from the video all went well. The athletes said they experienced every kind of weather on day one: rain, sun and wind! After 12.5 miles and mini-challenges like cocoa tea making, coffee making and cow relocation, they were ready for the day’s major challenge. Despite a hard day they still had a major challenge in Dominica’s famous Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve.
There was a sense of great relief for both the athletes and the organizers after day one was completed. All that planning had paid off with a flawless day despite one reluctant cow and several tippy kayaks.
As one participant said, “The most amazing jungle I have ever been in!”
Are you up the challenge? Can you handle “Nature you have never imagined”?
Hosted by the Discover Dominica Authority
Event Date: April 7-11, 2014
The Nature Island Challenge is a one of a kind endurance challenge set on the stunning Caribbean island of Dominica. Eight teams of four will be selected to compete in the four-day stage hiking race that will cover over 50 miles predominantly along the renowned Waitukubuli National Trail. Along the course racers will encounter adventure, photo and cultural challenges that will involve strategy, problem solving and creativity.
The Nature Island Challenge is scored on a points system based on the finish order in each day’s trail run and special challenges. Each day features a trail run between 10-15 miles long which will be completed by two runners from each team. The two other team-mates will have an off-day and alternate racing on the course as allowed by the rules. All four teammates reunite following the race each day for a major challenge.
The Nature Island Challenge will take place from April 7th to 11th. Teams are to arrive on April 6th with Orientation taking place on April 7th. The competition begins on April 8th and continues through Friday, April 11th. Following the race on Friday, April 11th, there will be a closing ceremony/party for all athletes of the Nature Island Challenge.
Teams for the Nature Island Challenge will be selected from four regions across the globe (North America, South America + Caribbean, Europe + Africa, and Asia + Oceania). Interested teams will need to apply by January 24, 2014 in order to be considered. The competition is open to both males and females above 18 years of age with a strict limit of just eight teams invited to compete. The Nature Island Challenge is looking for accomplished, socially connected trail/adventure racers looking for a once in a lifetime experience. Teams will be notified by February 7th if their team has been selected.
The Nature Island Challenge is a televised competition where the athletes are the stars. Teams are permitted and encouraged to find sponsorship for their team to offset travel and race fees. Sponsorship rules will be included in the Athlete Manual, which will be distributed upon invitation.
Nature Island Challenge Fees
Team Registration Fee: $1,000 US
Registration Fee Includes:
Teams Are Responsible For:
For more details, please visit Nature Island Challenge on the web at the links below or contact Lolita Raffoul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discover Dominica Authority: http://www.DiscoverDominica.com/
Just in! The 30 minute Nature Island Challenge television special is now airing on Universal Sports Network! Please check your local listings or visit www.universalsports.com for more information. The program will also begin airing on Carib Vision in the coming weeks, please check back here for broadcast dates and times as they become available.
**Discover Dominica Authority searches for the Voice of the Nature Island Challenge 2013**
Roseau, Dominica - (July 23, 2013) – Discover Dominica Authority has embarked on a search for the voice of the Nature Island Challenge 2013. The Nature Island Challenge was an invitational endurance race held from May 21 – 24, 2013. The event witnessed the participation of teams from the USA, Antigua & Barbuda and Trinidad and Tobago in numerous adventure and cultural challenges throughout the island.
Interested persons are simply required to follow simple instructions, available on www.DiscoverDominica.com, for a chance to be the Voice of the Nature Island Challenge television show. Record the script; using the appropriate tone and enthusiasm, save the voice record and upload to DDA’s Hightail dropbox. Entries must be submitted by Monday July 29, 2013.
The wining voice entry will be selected by the NIC production partner Aura 360 and will be featured in an upcoming Television Show centered on the Nature Island Challenge.
For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.discoverdominica.com or follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.