BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Some of the world’s best adventure racing teams will be in Northwest Arkansas from April 3-8, 2023 for a new race on the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) calendar of World Championship qualifiers, organizers announced on June 16.

The Expedition Ozark race will be a new race on the AWRS World Circuit and one of just four held in North America, according to a press release. ARWS events feature mixed-gender, four-person teams who hike, bike, paddle, climb and run courses across hundreds of miles over five days.

Each season culminates with the ARWS World Championships which will be held in South Africa in 2023.

“We are excited to make this announcement as we believe the Expedition Ozark race will showcase the rugged beauty of the Ozark region to the best adventure racers in the world and bring the global spotlight again to Northwest Arkansas after the successful 2022 Walmart UCI World Cyclo-Cross Championships put our region on the international stage for cycling,” Michael Spivey, President & CEO of Ozark Outdoor Foundation told the audience gathered at Blake Street House in Bentonville. 

Ozark Outdoor Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports outdoor recreation events in the region such as the 2022 UCI Walmart Cyclo-Cross World Championship, the Moosejaw US Pro Cup and the Walmart Joe Martin Stage Race, among others. The multi-day, multi-discipline race attracts top adventure racing teams from around the world and includes activities such as, trekking, orienteering, packrafting/paddling and climbing/rappelling.

Expedition Ozark is “a priority entry event” for Adventure Race World Series. Heidi Muller, CEO of AWRS based in Johannesburg, South Africa made the formal selection of Northwest Arkansas after scouting the Ozark terrain. 

“We endeavor to make our races unique by highlighting the most beautiful parts of each country to the world. Whether it is ocean coasts or riverbanks, forests or jungles, sandy deserts or rocky mountains, racers are always excited to tackle the unique challenges of every course and in doing so, they provide exciting entertainment for spectators watching from around the world,” Muller told the group. 

Race Director Danny Collins said the race route will remain secret until the day before the race “but you can expect to see athletes trekking, orienteering, packrafting/paddling and climbing/rappelling to a finish line over the course of three days.”

“We are also seeking a World Championship adventure race in Arkansas in the future,” Collins announced.