Hunter Leininger, from Canton, Georgia, USA has been adventure racing since he was 7 years old. Now, at age 19, he has set world records, traveled around the globe, and completed over 50 races! And he is now on a mission to inspire other young people to follow their own dreams.
Adventure Racing is a team sport that involves lots of different activities on unmarked trails in the wilderness such as hiking, running, rafting, canoeing, biking, climbing, horseback riding, orienteering, skiing and sailing. Races can last from 2 hours to 2 weeks!
Hunter became interested in Adventure Racing through his dad, who is an Adventure Racer himself. While playing Soccer and Football, Hunter was looking to try something new. He asked his dad if he could join him in an Adventure Race, and he went on to complete his first race in about 6 hours. Hunter loved being on the same team as his dad and he has been hooked on the sport ever since.
Hunter has learned a lot of perseverance through adventure racing. There can be a lot of pain in a race, but if you drop out, your whole team will have to stop. This is unlike other team sports, like Basketball or Football, where you can stop and be replaced by another player. In racing, and in his life, the sport has taught Hunter to keep going when times get tough.
As reported by the USARA, Hunter wants “to inspire young people that they can accomplish incredible things at whatever age and that they don’t have to wait until they get older to pursue their dreams. That is one of the most common excuses in our society, “you’re not old enough to start that business, build that thing, complete in that race… you should wait until you get older to do those things”. The biggest issue with this mindset is that once people put off their dreams at a young age, they tend to never come back to them which results in them never accomplishing anything. The best time to do something is now, so go after your dreams before it’s too late!”
Hunter recently finished the World’s Toughest Race Eco-Challenge, an 11-day race around the island of Fiji. Here is a video that shows what the Eco-Challenge race is all about. Check it out and then get to work following your own dreams! There is no time like the present.
- Check out Hunter’s website and learn more about him and his future plans
- Read this interview with Hunter by the United States Adventure Racing Association
- Watch other great IMK stories about children and adults who exhibit perseverance
- Check out other great athletes featured on InspireMyKids
- Read IMK’s list of great quotes for kids about the importance of hard work and doing your best
- Learn more about the sport of Adventure Racing at the United States Adventure Racing Association
Topics for Discussion:
- What is different about Hunter than most kids?
- Is there anything you can learn from Hunter?
- What character traits does Hunter exhibit?
- What is a dream that you have that you keep putting off? What is holding you back?
- Read about how to participate in an Adventure Race for Kids in your area and check out a full calendar of races provided by the Adventure Racing Cooperative
- Like Hunter says, think about a big dream that you have. It could be for school, for family, or any other important area of your life. Write it down, using this goal worksheet or create your own worksheet. Keep track of your progress, stick with it and reward yourself when you have completed it. Keep doing this and you will be surprised at how much you can achieve.
Teacher and Parent Features:
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.