8th Edition

Course Details

"Primal Quest was a true adventure, lifetime experience and competitive race all thrown into one. The variety of terrain, beautiful backdrop and challenging stages gave a perfect balance of effort versus reward. I'll be back again, for sure."

- Lisa Bates (Queenstown, New Zealand)

One of the unique attributes of Primal Quest is the fact that the specific details of the course and maps remain secret until a few hours before the event starts. PQ Pure competitors are provided with a logistics planner approximately a week before the start which allows teams to organise their gear and food into some kind of order. PQ Pursuit competitors also get a logistics planner to help their support crews prepare for the event. The pre-race logistics planner outlines the broad lay out of the course – individual stage disciplines, distances, and any key gear or box movements that the teams need to prepare for – which allows teams to get gear into decent order without giving the exact route away. A more detailed logistics planner is provided with course maps and team handbook which outlines, in great detail, the full course, related logistics and expected timing.

In some Editions of Primal Quest teams have had a few hours with their maps and access to some or all gear and bike boxes before the start. In other Editions teams have had to hand in their gear and bike boxes before they get their maps – it all depends on the location and resources available. Teams should be prepared for both outcomes. As a general rule, PQ Pursuit teams will have more time with their maps before the start and they have the benefit of their support crew to organise maps and equipment.

A Primal Quest course will generally be linear in the sense that the route will not normally involve looping back to the same point or visiting a location more than once. The Primal Quest philosophy is to make the course feel like a logical and inspiring journey for teams from start to finish. Whilst some teams will ‘race’ their way through the wilderness, most should treat Primal Quest as an expedition that provides an unrivaled sense of fulfillment should teams complete the course in the time frame allowed.

PQ Pure and PQ Pursuit teams are given a team handbook and a set of maps before the start. The handbook contains the description of each race checkpoint, transition areas, information about mandatory equipment and any cut-off points. To complete the full course of the PQ Pure and PQ Pursuit events teams must navigate through all the checkpoints and arrive at the finish line before any short course cut offs come into play and the course closes.

It is expected that the winning teams for both PQ Pure and PQ Pursuit will complete the courses in approximately 4-6 days, with weather and other mitigating factors having some influence on the final outcome. All teams in the PQ Pure event will be permitted up to 10 days to complete the course. All teams in the PQ Pursuit event will be permitted up to 10 days to complete the course. There will be at least one mid-race cut off which will allow the slowest teams on the respective courses to move towards the finish in an accelerated fashion. Primal Quest encourages and helps as many teams as practical to reach the finish line and at the same time experience the most exciting stages.

Transitions are areas where teams change from one discipline to another. They provide a brief respite for highly competitive teams and a well-earned and welcome break for most. These areas may allow teams the opportunity for shelter, sleep and a chance to stock up on supplies. For the PQ Pure teams, transitions are very much about self-supported efficiency. PQ Pure teams are responsible for packing all equipment prior to the race start and do not receive any outside assistance once the event has started. The PQ Pursuit event is a ‘supported’ race which means each team has a small support crew who are responsible for the teams equipment transport between stages and for looking after their team in transition.