Yes, we made up these faqs, no-one actually asked them. And we've paid no great attention to order.
Is this for real? Yes
Why is your website so boring? Maybe excitement is a zero sum game, and because there is none here on your screen, then that might leave us more to bring to the events themselves. Or maybe not. Really, it is more of a statement. What kind of a statement you ask? Read the next question.
Why should I join fearsociety? A good design team with access to epic media (pictures, videos, etc) can make you want to participate in almost anything. Heck, marketing professionals can make me want to buy things like shop-vacs or leaf blowers (which, ironically, you should really only ever need one of...). But we, on the other hand, don't want to convince you to join fellow fearsociety members in these--possibly reasonably challenging--events because we've got sweet looking drone footage of a sunny day of somewhere stunning. If you want to be a part of our group, great, we welcome you. But don't join because the wilderness looks so exciting and beautiful in HD and that social media footage of hardened athletes sprinting their way along rocky ridges, splashing through streams, or paddling through boulder gardens is so inspiring. Because truth is, in places like we are going to be going, things are always much harder than the fiction created by condensing hours or days of struggle into pieces digestible by our short-attention span culture. Rant over...back to the original question. You should join fearsociety because you want to be challenged by real wilderness based events, because you want to connect with other people as bat-shit crazy as you are, because you want to do it all without needing to take out a second mortgage, or just because you want to support our efforts to make this alternative vision of hardcore but grassroots 'self' racing a reality here in New Zealand.
What the heck is 'self' racing? It may not be the best term, but essentially what we are trying to provide is what most (or at least many) people out there are after when they look at big adventure events--what drew them into participating in these events in the first place. Most people aren't looking for podium finishes. Most people are after the challenge of a magnificent course, and the feelings and lessons that come from testing themselves against one. And, of course, there is the camaraderie, because flirting with limits in beautiful places is more rewarding when done in the company of friends (old or new).
There are, though, some people who attend our events who have strong competitive drive and go hard, hoping to complete our courses as quickly as possible, like they would in a race. This is cool to--this is the way they have chosen to measure themselves. And of course some good natured informal competition between mates is part of what these participants find attractive, and what drives them to push harder and get what they want out of our adventures.
We keep track of elapsed time to help facilitate these friendly rivalries, but don't reward the first home with anything other than a pat on the bag and an eager ear to hear the stories--the same thing we offer for those who are playing tail-end-charlie for the day (or week). Long story short: you come with your own agenda, your own metric by which to measure success, and we'll be your cheerleaders as you 'race' against whatever personal challenge you've created for yourself.
Why an incorporated society? We want to host grassroots and challenging events (and participate in them) and to form a community of like minded people. We are interested in creating epic courses. We aren't interested in commercial gain. We aren't interested in the trappings of most modern events--lots of support, prizes, swag bags, big banners, sponsors. We also aren't interested in regulations, concessions, or safety audits. These things add logistical difficulties: time, limits, and cost. By creating a society and only allowing members to participate, we side-step many of these difficulties. You can view our rules HERE.
But what about safety? While we won't have an audited safety plan, we will have a plan in place for each event, which you can get a synopsis of on the event page. But as a general rule, participants shouldn't undertake these events without a strong 'self rescue' ethic. Most non-swimming events will require participants or partner teams to carry certain minimal equipment (mandatory gear), including a Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB. Some of the longer events may also require some sort of tracking device such as a SPOT or InReach device.
Are GPSs allowed? Yes, for all events, GPS devices are allowed. Furthermore, we will provide links to GPS track files for all marked course events. We know this differs (particularly when it comes to the SCAR events involving route choices) from classic adventure racing, but we're OK with being different. Besides, we think that you'll find enough challenge in the Fiordland Wilderness, even if you always know where you are. But hey, if you're using the event as training for GodZone or something similar, you're more than welcome to keep the GPS in the off position.
Why the high membership fee? We went back and forth about membership fees quite a bit. Initially we wanted the whole thing to be based on Koha (our first stab at this whole enterprise was called 'koharacing'). But ultimately we decided that having a membership fee was the way to go. Because of our status, any event that takes place in the National Park can only charge recovery costs, and the society will have other substantial 'behind the scenes' costs associated with the other society activities: planning and research time, administrative work, newsletters, providing funding support for community projects, as well as the purchase of course marking supplies and other (basic) event production equipment.
What if I can't afford the memership fee/event fee? One of our founding principles is to make really awesome adventure and endurance based events affordable to everyone. This is New Zealand. There are lots of wicked and epic events out there--Coast to Coast, GodZone, RedBull Defiant, Breca Wanaka, etc. Many of them cost a pretty penny, however. While there's nothing wrong with putting on an expensive event, it just isn't want we want to do. So, to answer your question, just let us know if you want to do something but can't afford it. We'll sort you out. That being said, if you can afford it...
I love what you're doing, how can I better support it? Here are four ways--1) participate in our events and activities! 2) help spread the word...the best marketing is free marketing. 3) come out and volunteer. 4) Offer additional Koha (a donation) to the society.
I've provided additional Koha, what will it be used for? Any leftover monies after event and administrative expenses are covered will either be used to cover membership fees for those who can't afford it or be donated to community building projects within our region (Fiordland), such as the cycle trail, a new climbing wall, or even (we're dreaming now) a surf wave on the Waiau river.
How did you get a concession for [insert any location in Fiordland?] We didn't. Concessions are required for commercial activities or non-commercial activities where pecuniary gain is received. Don't worry, I had to look up 'pecuniary' too. Our events are only open to members and we are only asking members to cover actual costs of participation, something that is allowed under the conservation act of 1987. In this respect we're no different from a tramping club that organizes an annual fun jaunt into the hills. Except in our jaunts the fun is most likely of the type II or type III variety.
So what is the story behind fearsocity anyway? Well, we 're not sure if this is the story, but it is certainly a story, and it is all you're going to get: Three friends--a dirtbag climber, a hardcore adventure racer, and a lonely endurance athlete are in a bar trying to decide what their next trip should be. The lonely athlete orders a light beer (fewer carbs--gotta maintain fat burning mode) and laments about how he wants to share his suffering with others and thinks that friendly competitive spirit brings out some of his best achievements, and so wants to do an organized event rather than just a personal effort. The adventure racer orders an oatmeal stout (more calories, she's still running a 10,000 deficit this month) and counters that she likes big crazy uncertain things and is less interested in asking the question of 'how fast can I do it" than the simpler "can I do it," and so wants to tackle a wide variety of epic challenges. And the dirt-bag climber? Well he grabs a half empty beer from a nearby table and knocks it back before offering the following--"look, I'll do whatever you guys decide, so long as its cheap." So how did our friends stay happy after the climber's ultimatum took all of the pre-existing options--all the undeniably epic but also undeniably expensive races--off the table? Yep, you guessed it--the Fiordand Endurance & Adventure Racing Society. It wasn't until after the third round of drinks that they realized it would make a cool a acronym.