Hunter Leidinger Becomes the Youngest Adventure Racer to Ever Compete in the Sport’s World Event
When Team AR Geogria crossed the finish line at the AR World Champs in Wyoming this afternoon there was a small crowd gathered there greet them … and a golden trophy waiting for one of the team — Hunter Leininger. The youngest competitor in the race (and ever at an AR World Champs), Hunter is just 16. However, he’s no rookie; he’s been adventure racing with his father Jeff since he was nine. He gradually moved up from sprint to overnight then multi-day races. At the AR World Championships, he faced his biggest challenge – a full World course. But he finished, looking remarkably fresh, say his teammates.
“I’m glad to get to the finish,” he said. “I always felt I could race a long race, even a six-, seven-, or eight-day race, but there are not many expedition races in the USA. I’ve wanted to race the AR World Champs for a long time now, and hope to do so again next year and maybe go on to a top 20 place. We’ve never had the finances to race abroad, so it was great to have the AR World Champs come to the USA. I’m still looking forward and am ready to another one. I’d do another one next week if I could!”
Hunter says the team started slow, struggled to catch up, and missed a trek stage. But he cherishes the opportunity to race with his dad (even if they occasionally argued).
“I’ve done all my races with my dad and want to thank him for all the time and money he’s put in to allow me to race – he’s made it all possible,” Hunter explained.
Of the race, his father, Jeff Leininger said: “We all had our low points, all except Hunter, his morale never seems to drop and he helps the whole team get through. Right now I’m done – I’m glad to be at the finish and that’s enough for me!”
Nice work, Hunter!