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ESSENTIAL EVENT INFORMATION 2024

EXUMA FILES 

]Due to the nature of Rat Race Events, changes to the event course, structure and timings sometimes need to be made right up until the date of the event.  To ensure you have the latest information and are fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead, please check back on the EEI before travelling to the event. The EEI was last updated on: 13/03/2024 

WELCOME TO THE BAHAMAS!
WELCOME TO THE EXUMA FILES.

Please find our Essential Event Information Document, containing what we hope is a comprehensive outlook towards your journey in just under 10 weeks’ time. If you have not done already, do ensure you are fully conversant with the website and then pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee (or perhaps a Caribbean rum!) and read on….

SKIP TO SECTION

FILES AND DOWNLOADS:
KEY REMINDERS:

Make sure you’ve read this thoroughly well ahead of your departure date to ensure there are no last minute panics or surprises, if you have any questions after reading this please reach out to us on events@ratrace.com.

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TIME ZONE

GMT (-5)

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PHONE CODE

 +242

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LANGUAGE

English

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CURRENCY

      The currency on Great Exuma is the Bahaman Dollar. The US Dollar is also widely accepted. 

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • Event Participation Form MUST be submitted NO later 30th March 2024.

  • Medical declaration MUST be submitted NO later than 30th March 2024.

  • Webinar: The Q & A webinar will take place on at 22nd April 2024 at 5.30PM UK Time. This is a change to the date originally communicated in the welcome mail so please do update your calendar with the new date! The webinar will be recorded and sent out to all participants the following day so you can watch it back at your leisure if you are unable to make the date and time.

  • Snacks: you will need to bring 6 days’ worth of scooby snacks PLUS a day’s contingency. See section below for what we provide at pit stops on the run and bike and then what we provide on the water; and what we expect you to bring with you . Your own snacks will ensure you always have something that you fancy and that on the boats, you always have something close at hand.

  • Kit: You will need to bring ALL kit that is on the kit list for you to take part in the trip. If your kit is not right the Event team will reserve the right to prevent you starting the event. Don’t worry – there are several more touchpoints before departure to ensure this does not occur. Firstly, the comprehensive kit list is provided with this document; then a Q&A webinar will take place in the run-up to our departure. If in any doubt on kit, please get in touch with us at events@ratrace.com and we can help.

  • Insurance: You need insurance. Please ensure your gear is insured against loss, theft and/ or damage. You will need a medical repatriation and evacuation policy that has a minimum of $500 000 trip cover on it. You will submit this to us pre-event and we will ensure we have the correct number to call your insurer if we need to evacuate you or provide serious medical attention. We also highly recommend a policy that covers you for curtailment and non-attendance in the event that something gets in the way of your attending – injury, life events or otherwise.

  • Live Events Decision Making: When we are In Exuma, in all cases whilst on the trip, the Event Director’s decision is final. They are always acting in the combined interest of the safety of the individual and the group, as their paramount concern. If we do need to change the plan, we always reserve the right to do so and know that it is always in your best interests, if that is the call our crew have to make.

KEY INFO

PERSONAL DOCUMENTATION

Please use the following as a checklist on what you will require for this trip.

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PASSPORT


(at least 6 months remaining and enough pages for all the required stamps - minimum 2).

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RETURN AIR TICKET


You should ensure you have purchased a return air ticket with outbound service to Georgetown, Great Exuma and inbound service from nassau. 

TRAVEL INSURANCE


See insurance section.  

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PERSONAL MONEY

See local payments section.  

All documents should be in a waterproof pouch or container.  

TRIP MEETING POINT AND END POINT

Meet Point: We will meet you at Great Exuma Airport on the 15th May in the morning. When we have collated everyone’s flight details (which is one of the questions on the pre-event admin form we have asked you to fill out), we will organise a convenient time for a whole group transfer. If you have landed on the island already and have been exploring, you are welcome to make your own way to the hotel to meet us.

IMPORTANT note for those arriving into Georgetown Exuma Airport.


Upon arrival, when asked where you are staying upon arrival, please give the name and address for our initial accommodation, which is Peace and Plenty Resort (Queens Highway Ex 29055, Georgetown, Exuma, Bahamas). Please do not say you are camping. We have permission to camp in the locations we do so (and are issued specified permits for our stay in the Land and Sea Park also), wild camping on most of the islands in the Exuma chain is not permitted.

 

Most of the visitors to the Exumas will stay in hotels and private villas, so we are quite unique. It has therefore confused some border guards in previous years where our participants have mentioned camping. This has led to nothing that has not been sorted out with some assistance from the Tourist Board and our other partners, but to avoid this confusion and inconvenience, please give the hotel details outlined above, which is our home for the first 2 nights on the island of Great Exuma.

 

End Point: On the morning of the 22nd  May we will make our way back to Nassau on our own private Catamaran. More on ‘The Cat’ below.. Our journey time will be around 6 hours and we will get an early start putting to sea for the crossing back to Nassau. However, we would recommend and have already advised that you consider an international flight the following day. This is to ensure that if delay occurs with the Cat crossing, you will not miss your homebound flight. If you do need to depart from Nassau on the 22nd May, we advise to pick a flight that is as late as possible and we will do all we can to get you there. Please understand that we cannot accept any liability if we do miss air connections owing to any delays with our Cat crossing.

WEBINAR

We will do a general Q & A webinar on April 22nd at 5:30PM UK local time. This is very useful as a full briefing to the event and is also a great opportunity to put some names to faces and have a bit of an online meet and greet. The session  will be recorded and put on the website which you will be able to watch again if needed or for the first time if you were unable to attend the live meet-up.  

TRAINING AND PREPARATION

Exuma files is in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but don’t let the pristine blues waters fool you, this event packs a punch. Our first and only day on land is a 75km run/hike and cycle. It is very flat - meaning that there is no need for hill training. However, it will be a very hot run and ride and should not be underestimated. Make sure you can run/hike up to 16km followed by a ride of 50 + km. The transition from foot to bike always creates some jelly legs.

 

The majority of this challenge is then in sea kayaks; nothing can prepare you for this, as well as getting  in a kayak between now and then. However, this might not be possible for you and if that is the case we suggest that you have a strong core and back. This will be crucial for your comfort throughout the challenge.

We understand it is by no means easy for everyone to fit in the training, everyone is different, everyone also has different day-to-day pressures, commitments, and equipment available. 

 

Train with the kit you are planning on wear. You will then be able to check if it is comfortable and whether it fits correctly. Try the bag on that you are going to be running, hiking and biking with. Fill it with some tasty snacks and water, this will help your body to get used to the weight on your back. The fitter and more prepared you are for a challenge like this, the more you can enjoy each and every moment.

STYLE OF TRAVEL

The Exuma files is very expeditionary in style. There is a small group of us that will complete this challenge as a team – we will be around 10 participants plus 4 crew travelling together (then 2 other crew joining us on board the Catamaran). This does not mean that we can’t spread out depending on speeds, but it means that you are supporting each other as well as us supporting you. The likelihood is when we are in the kayaks that we will spend a lot of time together as a unit, helping each other and pushing each other on, together, as one.

 

The foot and run day will feel like other Rat Race events where you can go at your own pace and be supported by our legendary pit stops at regular intervals.

 

During the sea kayak we will be paddling as a team, expertly guided by Ian Dovey with assistance from myself; Dovey (as he likes to be called) is a UK qualified guide who has guided this trip for the previous 2 years and for our original  Test Pilot outing before that. He therefore knows the waters well. I will be there to help guide the kayak sections and also to provide medical care if needed when on the water and off. I myself have paddled the route on our Test Pilot outing in 2021 and I am really looking forward to returning to this paradise on water.

 

We will be supported from day 3 of the kayak by a large catamaran vessel with skipper and mate on board. This will be our base for lunches, cooking and is available for accommodation too (if and when you don’t want to sleep on the beach, that is). The yacht will be skippered by Will, who skipped with us last year and his mate will be Abbi, who is the Rat Race Head of Expeditions and who led this trip herself last year and has paddled it twice. We will also be joined by Rat Race full-timer Dannii and also our amazing photographer Leo, who has also paddled this route (as well as taking pictures!) twice.

There’s a lot of experience here in the crew therefore and a lot of love for this very special journey.

REGISTRATION

Registration for the event is split into a ‘pre-event’ Registration phase, where we will ask for information to be submitted online (See the top and bottom of this document for what and when). This will be followed up by a physical registration process upon arrival on Great Exuma on the 15/5/24.

We will provide you with a safety procedure to follow in case of Emergency while on each phase of the event. This may differ per stage and the safety and Emergency protocols will be made clear to you prior to the commencement of each phase.

ACCOMMODATION & FOOD

ACCOMMODATION

The bulk of the sleeping arrangements when kayaking will be beach camping based. This is sandwiched between nights in a hotel and a grand finale night spent on the catamaran at Norman’s Cay. Here we will also have time to celebrate at the legendary MacDuffs Restaurant and bar.  

 

Nights 1 & 2: Peace and Plenty Restort

Night 3 - 6: Tent or hammock on the beaches of our paradise archipelago

Night 7:  The catamaran will be moored up in Norman’s Cay. We will stay on the boat overnight. Here there will be access to shower facilities.

PITSTOPS

On the foot and cycle day our provision will be made available to you three times on the route. Each Pit Stop will feature a vehicle, staff, first aid support if needed, comms and of course, some food and drink. Expect the odd cameo local snack appearance, some baked goods from time to time, plenty of sweets and salty snacks and loads of fresh fruit.

Whilst kayaking you will provide your own snacks. We will provide a lunch each day on the kayaks. That will be basic and sometimes will be a packed lunch offering and sometimes will be prepared on our Cat. Breakfast and dinner will be provided on each activity day and will be prepared  by the Rat Race team  . Expect simple and hearty meals and I expect a BBQ or two thrown in there. There will also be one evening where we will do pizza from a local joint and one night where we eat at a restaurant (when in Great Exuma). See below for the full run-down of what we eat, where and when.

At Staniel Cay we will stop in the yacht club for lunch for a well-deserved burger. On our final night we will have a celebratory meal at Macduffs Cottage on Norman’s Cay.

GENERAL NOTE ON FOOD - TRAIL SNACKS

The meal plan above gives you breakfast and dinner each day.

 

Please pack your own hearty supply of snacks and electrolytes that you enjoy. These can be stored in your running pack and in your kayaks and you can top them up each night for the day thereafter. We can give more colour to this heading when we talk on the Webinar on 22nd April, also in terms of what you may wish to bring with you.

ALCOHOLIC DRINKS & EXTRAS

 Where we provide meals as part of the general event service, we will not include alcoholic or soft drinks as standard, and these must be provided by yourselves. See more on local payments, below.

At the hotels there will be a bar where you can but alcoholic and soft drinks. If you put anything onto your ‘tab/room’ please pay for it before you leave the hotel. 

We will provide you with some beers at certain locations, to celebrate a job well-done. That is a Rat Race tradition! These will be at the discretion of the organisers, however. In general, you should expect to pay for alcoholic and soft drinks.

THE ROUTE

The overall distance of the route is approximately 250km. We start with a foot section and then a cycle to get to the most northern point of Great Exuma Island. Here we will switch to sea kayaks for the real essence of the adventure. 5 days of sea kayaking through paradise. Stopping at white sandy beaches and jumping into crystal blue waters as we make our way North to our finishing point of Norman’s cay.

 

Our sea kayaks can go through the shallow waters and mangroves of the islands. At some points the catamaran will not be able to follow us along the same route. We will meet the sailing team at certain locations. Along the route the catamaran has an outboard motorboat that can be used to follow our direct line if/when needed.

 

You must remain open to the possibility that our plan may change due to unforeseen factors, such as the weather and diversions. So, while Plan A is plan A, it is not inconceivable that we may deploy Plan B, C or D if we deem it necessary for your safety.

ROUTE FINDING & GPS

We will NOT waymark the run and biking route.  Except perhaps, for  small sections when our guide at the front thinks it is appropriate to do so or where the route has to be altered due to a diversion or last-minute change.

Please note that a GPX file will not be available for the sea kayak stages; this will be guided by the instructors.

In general, this event is operated with GPS as the main method of route guidance on the run and bike stages. YOU need to bring a GPS watch and/ or a navigation device or application on your phone.  It is imperative that you are well versed in the usage of your down device and that you are confident in their battery life and reliability.

If you wish to rent a Coros navigational GPS watch from us and/ or a Garmin Edge cycle GPS computer, these are available. Rental is free of charge and the devices will come with the routes pre-loaded.  We will also give you some tuition of how to use the devices on registration day.  You can let us know on the online form if you wish to rent either of these. The nav on the run and bike is pretty easy and a phone with the route uploaded into an App is perfectly fine. Please do bear in mind, if you do wish to use this method – you will need a cradle to mount your phone on the bike handlebars if so...

 

If you are using your own device/s, we will also make available the run/ bike route GPX files for you to upload onto your own devices as you see fit. These files will be provided much closer to the commencement of the event, once we are satisfied thatwe have the final version to share. Experience has shown that we will never share the file until it is the final, final, final version. Or else we end up with version control issues that are hard to resolve.

LOOKING AFTER YOUR GPS KIT AND TRACKER

Once we hand you your tracker (more on that below) or rented tech devices, it is your responsibility to look after the devices until you return them to us at the finish line in exchange for your medal.

 

Any devices you rent will also be issued with charging cable and other accessories, and it will be your responsibility to keep the devices charged and functional during the event. Your tracker will also be issued with a charging cable OR or team may ask for the trackers back sporadically to charge them centreally in the cat.

You must return all devices at the end of the event and until them, you keep them with you.

 

TRACKING DEVICE

At registration on Great Exuma you will be issued with your tracker, (in a waterproof container). It is your responsibility to look after the device. This device not only allows those at home to follow you on the route, but it also acts as a tracker for us too, meaning that we can see where you are throughout the bike and foot stages and meaning that the cat crew can see where the kayakers are, when we are all on the water.

Tracking will go live on the morning of the first event day (i.e. the start of the event on 16/5/24) at 0700 local time.

The trackers rely on GSM & satellite signal to report, (which is generally very good across a lot of our route) but there is a delay on tracking. Sometimes, our team back at base will increase or decrease the reporting frequency, so those watching at home will sometimes not see your dot moving, or see you moving very slowly. Or they may see you adrift from others in the group (for example if you have not turned the tracker on!).

It is REALLY important that you ensure anyone watching at home knows this, for their own peace of mind and for our own safety systems. Experience shows that if someone watching at home does not understand this, they can sometimes unwittingly commence full rescue missions by panicking, calling in the cavalry and sparking confusion for us as organisers. As such, it really is a very important point to note.

If we have any issues or snagging with tracker units, our basecamp team can see this and we will pull them back in and reset them for you.

As with the GPS units, you must return this device at the end of the event or whenever a member of staff asks for you to do so (for example to check a setting or to charge it). Do also hand to a member of staff should you drop out on any day. As with all electronic devices, there is a replacement cost. For the tracker, it is £150. 

MANDATORY KIT LIST

Click here to view the kit list.

Some of the kit listed is to help you have a safe experience and have the best chance of finishing. Some of this kit is to ensure that if you are unable to continue without our assistance then we can be confident of you having the level of equipment required to keep you as comfortable as possible whilst you wait for that assistance. Some of it is simply to keep you from perishing. It is a serious list, and we know everyone knows this, but we ask that you please do work with us on this. Please do not skimp on kit. Spare sets of kit will be worn, you will get wet, and you will want to get dry and comfortable again. As such, do not try and reduce the items on the kit list. We have developed it from major experience of having carried out this event multiple times.

PERSONAL MED KIT

Our minimum spec for the mandatory medical kit (to be carried by you at all times) is as follows: 

·    1 x triangular bandage

·    1 x crepe roll bandage

·    Gauze or similar absorbent dressing 

·    Small set of scissors

·    Pain Killers (paracetamol)

·    Steri-Strips 

·    Antiseptic (spray or cream) 

·    Assorted plasters 

·    Rubber gloves 

·    Prescribed medication 

·    Zinc oxide tape 

·    Compeed – various sizes 

·    Lube stick 

·    Sudacrem  

BAGS

We understand that when we hit the kayaks, you may not want to take your best bib and tucker on the water. There will be the opportunity to leave a bag of gear at Great Exuma, which will be taken all the way to Norman’s Cay for you if needed. This bag needs to be a soft holdall-style bag as it will be in and out of boats in its journey up the Cays to be re-united with you.

 

For the kayak stage, you will need to pack your gear into several dry bags and we can go into more detail on this on our webinar on 22/4/24.

For the run and bike, a small daypack/ run vest is the desired item, which has the capacity to carry yo
ur emergency gear and med kit, water and snacks.

TO HAMMOCK OR NOT TO HAMMOCK

We will provide tents as standard for those who want them, for our beach camps. You may choose to use your hammock instead. If you do not have a hammock, no problem and don't worry - you do not need one. If you wish to use the tent some night and the hammock others, also fine. We will talk about this in the webinar so you can make some decisions and if you really don’t think you will need a tent from us, we will ask you to say so, as that is one less piece of gear that you will not need to stash away in your kayak. In any case, as standard, tents will be provided for all and hammocks remain personal options for those who wish.

BIKES

For our day one bike stage, you will be issued with a bike, provided to us from the local High School. It is a long way to come to transport your own bike for 59km of riding, so we have evolved our process here whereby we make a donation for the use of the bikes to the local High School, who retain a small fleet of Cube hybrid/ gravel bikes. They are decent machines and totally adequate for the task at hand; but you won’t be winning the Tour de France on them any time soon! In our admin form, we ask you to stipulate your bike size just to help our planning here.

AVOIDING KIT CATASTROPHE IN TRANSIT

It is not impossible that your gear may not arrive with you to the Bahamas. Once you start travelling away from major airports, getting re-united with lost bags becomes harder. However, it is not impossible and if you do lose bags or if bikes do not arrive, it does not necessarily spell certain doom. However, to avoid the chances of total catastrophe, we would recommend that you do travel with some event clothing in your hand luggage: A something to wear top and bottom, swim kit, sports bra (if needed) and some footwear would be minimum recommended. Indeed, you can travel wearing this gear.

Experience tells us that if you arrive wearing or physically carrying some of what you need, the likelihood of getting you on the start-line increases dramatically, vs those who entire event kit is in their hold baggage, making its way around a carousel in the wrong airport far, far away.

EVENT INSTRUCTIONS

EVENT REGISTRATION AND PRE-EVENT ADMIN

 

Formal Registration for the event is completed in 3 phases.

1.) Online enrolment, payment – COMPLETE

2.) Submission of online event details form and medical form (by 30th March).

Complete pre-event form HERE

Complete medical form HERE

3.) Physical registration in Exuma on 15th May.

 

You will complete a final physical kit check with our event team, do a short final paperwork exercise including checking your insurance company contact details, present some ID and do a quick medical check-in.. You will also receive any PS devices you have rented, your tracker and other items. There will of course be some briefings. We will introduce you to the mighty team that will be with you every step of the way throughout the event and you will get familiar with the boats you will be paddling as we take to the water for some quick rescue drills and other kayak-related familiarisation activities.

ID

By entering this event you agreed that you have entered in your own name (not nickname) and will bring photographic ID to event Registration in Exuma to prove your identity. Clearly, having got on an aircraft in a seat booked in your own name, this should not be too difficult! It is however a requirement for us to know categorically know who at the event, hence the final physical ID check.

INSURANCE & MEDICAL

MEDICAL INFO

As this is a small expeditionary bucket list trip we do not have a dedicated medic accompanying us on the trip. However, the Rat Race staff on the team have a very high level of Emergency First Response training, Advanced Wilderness Life Support alongside general first aid and care.   We are there for you in case you have an incident with which you require assistance. We also retain a telemedicine link to Rat Race’s Medical Director in the UK on a 24-hour service, should we require the assistance of a doctor via satellite-comms link. He is a UK-based expedition-savvy Emergency Care professional working as a Consultant in the UK.

It is imperative that we all keep our health standards at a high level and to be open and honest about possible issues before they become a problem. We will be taking an advanced medical kit with us, including emergency care kit, AED (defibrillator), prescription-only medicines, various tapes, lotions and other items to assist in possible kayaking-specific injury and preventative care.

 

We ask that you please bring a personal first aid kit as advised on the kit list as our supply will quickly become exhausted if we all need the same general medicines.  This particularly relates to tapes and to paracetamol (or other pain relief medications).

 

 

MEDICAL PRE-SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE

We have invited you to take part in a medical screening process, which can be completed via the link below. Please complete this as soon as possible – and certainly please, no later than 30th March 2024. If you do have any condition that you feel we should know about, however small you feel it may be, please do share this with our Medics. Experience has shown that early pre-screening can assist both us and you greatly in enabling the care you need pre and during the trip. If you do not share information on conditions which are likely to affect your participation or decide to share them very late in the process (or not to disclose at all), we are all under pressure and this can have very serious knock-on consequences to the safety of others in such a small-group close-quarters undertaking.

We will always reserve the right to cancel your participation if we feel there is a medical issue that may affect yours, or others’ safety. But that is a very extreme outcome and is also extremely rare that this happens. Please understand, our medical screening team are not here to do that as any sort of Plan A. We would rather you disclosed any conditions you have to them so we can help and understand those conditions well in advance. We are not screening in order to remove folks from our trips. We are screening in order to provide the very best medical care and to discuss problems – if any are present – early.

So please, do share anything and everything you feel our team should know about, at the earliest opportunity.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS AND MEDICAL INFORMATION:

We are very fortunate to have an excellent Medical Director providing oversight, planning, and screening on all of our international trips, who in turn engages seriously professional and qualified staff to join you on the trip. Rat Race also conforms and has been audited to the rigorous BS8848 standard of expedition management. This means our approach to all things safety and medical is extremely thorough and it is designed throughout with your best interest at heart.

 

Your medical screening details will be sent direct to our medical team and under medical confidentiality rules, this will only be shared with our medics and no-one else. If they decide this is info that is in the best interests of everyone for us as organisers to be privy to, they will seek and gain your consent before doing so. It is therefore important you complete the link to the medical survey only which can be found HERE; do not send Rat Race medical information direct. If you have any queries at all on the medical side of things in relation to this event, you can email our Medical Director, Dr Patrick Musto directly and confidentially on office@trailmed.com and he will assist. 

NOTE ON INSURANCE 

Mann Broadbent are Rat Race’s UK-based insurance broker, specialising in the leisure insurance market. This is a specialist sports travel cover product; however, Rat Race is neither an insurance broker or underwriter. We can recommend Mann Broadbent wholeheartedly as good people to deal with, but please remember that this is not a ‘Rat Race product’ and we have no say whatsoever on claims decisions made by the insurers, if you raise such a claim via one of these policies.  

 

We have no relationship with any of these providers, but previous customers have found them reasonable to deal with regarding some of our similar Bucket List challenges.  
 
For all insurance, please remember that cover is offered based on several factors, (the nature of the event disciplines being one of them), but your own insurance profile, age, health, and other details form a big part of this. As such, we are always happy to provide details to insurers in support of cover requests from customers, but we cannot influence their decisions as to whether to offer cover to individuals.  

INSURANCE FOR YOU AND YOUR EQUIPMENT

We have asked that you have in place Travel Insurance cover and specified Evacuation cover to last for a minimum period of the event duration for the days you are with us on the published itinerary. Evacuation and medical expenses cover should total no less than $500 000. A copy of this cover/covers (if separate policies) is required to be received by us by 30th March 2024. The details for submission can be seen at the bottom of this EEI in the ‘checklist’ section.

We recommend that participants have insurance to cover damage, loss, theft, injury, and non-attendance. Rat Race cannot accept any responsibility for the loss of, theft, or damage to any Participant property or the circumstances of Participant non-attendance. Within the 12-week departure window, we cannot provide any transfers, and, in all cases, we cannot entertain requests for refunds. We respectfully remind all participants that unforeseen circumstances preventing attendance is what travel insurance is designed for and is the reason for this as a strong recommendation on such undertakings.

You can submit copies of your insurance via the online form here. Alongside this, we ask that medical screening is completed, plus an online waiver. Please see the actions list at the bottom of this document for details.
 

Some suggested providers are as follows:

For UK and Channel Island residents Rat Race’s own insurer brokers have a brand-new product.


Note: This is Rat Race’s UK-based insurance broker, specialising in the leisure insurance market. This is a specialist sports travel cover product; however, Rat Race is neither an insurance broker or underwriter. We can recommend Mann Broadbent wholeheartedly as good people to deal with, but please remember that this is not a ‘Rat Race product’ and we have no say whatsoever on claims decisions made by the insurers, if you raise such a claim via one of these policies.
 

Other providers:

 

Note: We have no relationship with any of these providers, but previous customers have found them reasonable to deal with regarding some of our similar Bucket List challenges.

Note: For all insurance, please remember that cover is offered based on several factors, (the nature of the event disciplines being one of them), but your own insurance profile, age, health, and other details form a big part of this. As such, we are always happy to provide details to insurers in support of cover requests from customers, but we cannot influence their decisions as to whether to offer cover to individuals.

ITINERARY

The days below are counted from arrival and meeting day’, which is the day we pick you up from the airport on 15th May 2024. 

DAY ONE / ARRIVAL AND REGISTRATION DAY

15th May 2024

 

You will be picked up at Great Exuma International airport in the morning and taken to our accommodation. We will then get stuck into registrations and briefing activities. The afternoon can then be spent getting familiar with the kayaks and hopefully, a little relax on the beach.

Meals: We will walk down to some fish shacks near to where we will do our kayak activities and you can buy some local catch. We will keep it informal and get to know one another as the sun sets over the water.

Accommodation: Twin and shared rooms in hotel accommodation

DAY TWO / EXUMA FILES BEGINS!

16th May 2024

 

We will transfer early-doors to the very southern tip of Little Exuma Island to commence the Exuma Files. First up is 16km on foot, including a stunning beach run section along the length of Tropic of Cancer Beach – which – you guessed it – runs right through the Tropic of Cancer line of latitude. After some very hot, sweaty miles, you will jump on the bikes for around 59km up the length of Great Exuma to finish the day’s action at the picturesque dock at Barreterre. You will be transferred back to our resort for the last night in a bed for some time.

Meals: Breakfast, pit stops, and dinner provided back at the hotel or nearby

Accommodation: Twin and shared rooms in hotel accommodation

Distance: 75m approx.

DAY THREE / THE PADDLING BEGINS!

17th May 2024

 

We transfer back to Barreterre this morning. We will spend some time sorting boats and kit and ensuring you are all outfitted with everything you need. 

Our stage today isn’t very long – around 25km in total. As you reach the end of the stage at Lingumvitae Cay, you will pull the boats ashore onto a pristine deserted island and string up your hammock between the palms. Dinner will be served on the beach, with the sun setting on a perfect first day’s paddling in the Exumas.

Meals: Breakfast, We will provide items to make your own lunch in the morning, provide your own kayaking snacks, dinner provided by us at camp

Accommodation: Beach camp

Distance: 25km

DAY FOUR / LINGCUMVITAE TO BLACKPOINT

18th May 2024

As we pull away from Lingumvitae we will pass between Darby and Little Darby Islands and you’ll witness one of those classic Exuma scenes that you will get so accustomed to over the next few days – a lagoon-like section of sea between Cays, with a pure-sand bottom. It is like paddling through the world’s most picturesque open-air pool – the water all the time maintaining bathtub warm temperatures.

As we approach Musha Cay about 12km into today’s stage – an island owned by the magician David Copperfield – an unusual opportunity for a dip may occur. Sunken on the seabed in shallow water is Copperfield’s Piano, complete with mermaid seated and tickling the ivories.

Meals: Breakfast, you provide kayak snacks,  dinner provided by us (pizza night!)

Accommodation: Beach camp

Distance: 35km

DAY FIVE / BLACK POINT TO O'BRIANS

19th May 2024

15km into the day, we make our way first to 15km to yachties’ favourite Staniel Cay, home to the world-famous Exuma Swimming Pigs and the Thunderball Grotto – a beautiful sunken cave feature used in the eponymous Bond movie. Today we are also met by our Catamaran to continue supporting and provide an alternative accommodation for those that wish.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch/brunch at Staniel Cay on us, you provide your own kayak snacks and  dinner provided by us on board the cat

Accommodation: Beach camp or Catamaran

Distance: 40km

DAY SIX / O'BRIANS TO HAWKSBILL CAY

20th May 2024

 

Deep now within the Land and Sea Park, we head for Shroud Cays where we will put into the HQ of the Land and Sea Park before attempting what we dub simply as ‘The Crossing.’ We have been doing mini crossings of varying distances between islands and cays throughout our passage thus far, but today a bigger crossing looms large.

 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch provided by us from the cat, plus dinner provided from the cat

Accommodation: Beach camp or Catamaran

Distance: 30km

DAY SEVEN / JOURNEYS END!

21st May 2024

Towards the end of the stage you will see Norman’s Cay looming on the horizon – Journey’s End. Situated around 1km offshore from Norman’s is one of the area’s most interesting and famous wrecks – that of a 1970s drug-smuggling plane which crashed on take-off from Norman’s when the island was owned by one of Columbia’s most notorious cartel figures. Lying in around 3 metres of water, it provides a final evocative Pit Stop for us to anchor up our support boats as you dive down and snorkel on the wreck, with tropical fish flitting in and out of the windows of its rusting hulk.

A few more km now and it really will be journey’s end as you pull up to our uniquely Caribbean finish line on the beach outside the legendary MacDuff’s bar. The beers are on us, as we toast a quite incredible week together adventuring in the Exumas.

 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch provided from the bat, kayak snacks provided by you, plus celebration dinner and a couple of drinks provided by us at Macduffs

Accommodation: Catamaran in Normans Cay Marina

Distance: 21km

DAY EIGHT / DEPARTURE DAY

22nd May 2024

We will sail back to Nassau, setting off in the morning, to end what has been an extraordinary adventure.

Meals: Breakfast provided on board

Accommodation: None

Distance: Zero paddling!

PARTICIPANT SAFETY ADVICE

GENERAL SAFETY AROUND VEHICLES

This event takes place on the trail and open roads whilst on land. There are vehicles, this is not a closed road event. Vigilance must be always taken when in the vicinity of other road users. On the water, we may experience other traffic in proximity to us. We will brief you on etiquette with other water users but in general, we will keep high levels of vigilance around any other water-borne craft, particularly those travelling at high speeds.

LITTER 

We want to show that this event has exemplary control of littering. Please help us achieve that. Pack your litter into your pack, pockets, or nearby bin bag (trash sack) at a vehicle. No exceptions, Great Exuma is a beautiful environment, and our absolute commitment is to keep it that way.

MUSIC PLAYERS 

While these are allowed, please control their volume according to your environment. Always use your judgment when listening to music or audiobooks. Please also be aware that if you cannot hear general voice levels you might miss instructions or warnings from crew, other participants or approaching vehicles or boats. We suggest that when you re riding or running, you run the leads behind you so that persons or vehicles approaching from behind might be able to see that you are wired for sound.

COURSE CUT OFFS & WITHDRAWALS 

This event is not about cut-offs. But, having a ‘cut-off’ and a ‘sweeping’ structure is an important part of our Event Management Plan and Risk Assessment processes. Our ‘sweep function’ is carried out on the run anbd bike with motor vehicles and on the kayak, we would use the cat where it is with us. Cut off times are independent of any other factors that occur earlier in the course such as start time, injury, going the wrong way, time taken at Pit Stops, head winds; and whether it is your fault or not. We understand that missing cut offs can be tough to take but please remember this is not the crew member’s fault that breaks the news to you, should it happen to you. Please also remember that if this does happen to you, the Event team’s decision is final.  

If you are cut off, there will be no option to re-start from where you were cut off the next day. (The event only ever moves forwards). You may however re-start the next day from the official re-start location, subject to the discretion of the event team. We can discuss this more on the webinar but the long and the short of it is – do not worry too muhmuch about this.  

EMERGENCY PROTOCOL

In the event of a true emergency or serious incident you will be notified of protocols at the orientation in Exuma. If you are with an injured party whilst on the bike or run route, stay with the casualty and await assistance. In the event of a non-emergency incident but for which action is requested from the organisers, then you should place a call (we will give you numbers) or if no phone reception, you should send a message forward to the next Pit Stop with another participant if possible and/or await an event crew member approaching via vehicle/or on foot from behind. This might be medical, logistical or kit/ equipment breakdown as examples. We politely ask that you stop and help someone that is in difficulty – you will be the first person to find them – remember to take note of time, place (number of km, or minutes/ hours from last Pit Stop) and participant number/ name at the incident site. Remember we are all in it together and we are in effect one big team.

On the water, we will use different protocols and will explain these to you in person when we are all together.

POOR WEATHER CONTINGENCY

The Rainy season on Great Exuma normally spans between May and October but fear not, even the Tropical rainstorms in the Bahamas are relaxed, normally only making an appearance in the guise of brief summer showers. However, we are jnot far away from the hurricane season which historically spans between late June through to the end of November.

 

The event will proceed in many conditions, but if it is deemed unsafe to continue due to weather conditions, the event will be halted at the current camp (or destination camp). If required, we will await more favourable conditions to re-commence and take shelter on shore or perhaps onboard the cat. This may result in some stages being cut short to achieve daily mileages within the time available.  In all cases, the decision of the Event team is final in these matters. We will monitor weather throughout. 

OTHER ADMIN MATTERS

EVENT ETHOS: ‘RACING’ AND OUR FINISH TIMES SERVICE

Completing not competing. Rat Race’s ethos has always been about inspiring folk to undertake challenges in awesome outdoor locations. Exuma is just that, taken to an epic level. This is not a formal race environment and there are no winners and losers. We do not award prizes for the fastest folk. There will be no splits. Indeed, there will be no timings. It is fully expeditionary in feel and character. Rat Race totally appreciate the incredible commitment of those taking on the challenges we lay down and each participant is as important as the next regardless of how fast you can cover the distance. As stated, this is far morehis is akin  to an expeditionary undertaking than anything else.

In delivering this unique challenge we prioritise factors such as safety, camaraderie and environmental concerns. Respecting the wishes of local stakeholders with our route management and litter policies is vital in being able to bring folk together for this unique experience. Safety above all else is paramount, as you will fully appreciate. To reasonably balance all these factors, we emphasise that the event is not a formal race environment, rather it is a challenge in the great outdoors where great folk come together with a common purpose.

LOCAL PAYMENTS

Most locations in the Exuma stake credit and debit cards. Having some US Dollars is a good idea, however. When we are staying in hotels, you may charge incidentals to your room if the hotel has that facility. All room accounts should be settled prior to leaving the accommodation in each location.

EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY

The event is very lucky to have secured the services of Leo Francis as official event photographer. He has worked on several of Rat Race’s Bucket List events before, meaning not only is he an excellent photographer but he also really ‘gets’ these types of events.

For this Challenge, we are doing photography a little different than run-of-the-mill standard event photography, but an entirely standard approach for us and it’s tried and tested – to 100s of customers’ satisfaction. Instead of Leo shooting and you then you select several photos post-event from a fairly unwieldy and piecemeal selection (leading to a lot of wastage in the shots and hours spent spreading the editing thinly across ‘anything and everything)’ we want the service to be as personal as possible. We think that something this epic deserves that.

Leo will therefore be offering a one-price, advance purchase arrangement. He will shoot you in action and provide an amazingly varied series of shots of you out there doing your stuff; plus, a selection of general event photos, provided as a digital album. He will also include individual portrait shots of yourself, working with her directly to create some special shots.

The price for this service is £250. If you would like to use this service, please tick the box in the form in the email and you will be sent an invoice. The service is available for participants and crew. The crux here is that he will ONLY shoot those who sign up to the service in advance, ensuring he is concentrating on those who have taken the plunge. This ensures that he can 100% focus on the job in hand for those who wish to purchase; and avoids the wastage of hundreds of shots on the edit-room floor. For clarity, Leo is doing this at his own risk and all proceeds of photo sales go to him. We believe this is an excellent service, at a very keen price, from a class photographer. It is of course not in any way compulsory.

EVENT MEMENTOS

A small array of one-off specially commissioned merch items will be produced for the event. You may choose to buy all, some or none at all. The choice is yours of course.. Highlights include clothing, souvenirs, personalised hoody, personalised event print with route map, ‘coffee table book’ with event imagery telling the story of your event week. We will bring some samples with us so you can browse the wares!

You will of course receive the highly coveted Exuma Files medal on completion of the challenge when you arrive at the finish line.

CONTACT DETAILS AND ACTIONS CHECK LIST

To facilitate the very best support for you whilst embarked on the event, we have prepared some contact information below that should assist you and loved ones throughout your Event experience. Please find a series of phone numbers and email addresses and instructions on which is to be used; and for what. 

 

1.) For ALL pre-event email correspondence prior to departure:

events@ratrace.com - for challenge-based questions, kit, training, bikes, prep and admin-based questions.

office@trailmed.com - for any medical-based advice or discussion on medical conditions in confidence

You will also be issued phone numbers for this arrivals period which will be issued much nearer the time.

2.) Emergency correspondence from people who need to get in touch with you (i.e. from those who need to contact you) IN EMERGENCY ONLY while you are embarked on the event: events@ratrace.com.

The originator should quote ‘Emergency correspondence for (yourname)’ in the email title and they must provide a phone number for return comms. This will be patched through to our crew’s mobile phones, (or satellite messaging platform if we are out of reception) from our office and a satellite phone will be made available for you to return the comms to the originator. We would aim to provide a suitable response period of within 24 hrs for this service to the originator.

Please, please, please do tell your family and supporters not to contact us about Tracker Emergencies!

3) A WhatsApp group will be created a few days before departure. This will; be the main point of contact leading up to the event itself.

COMMS COVERAGE AND DATA

You will most likely have phone reception in Great Exuma itself and until day 2 of the Kayak. After which mobile phone coverage is limited.  We will have use of a satellite phone that can used for non-emergency comms, subject to availability of credit and battery power, at the rate of £5/ minute. No internet or data services are available upon departure from Great Exuma.

FINAL CHECK LIST 

Submit insurance details and complete online waiver to be submitted by 30th March 2024.

Medical forms must be filled out by 30th March 2024.

That’s it. Pheeeww! 

 

See you in the Bahamas and hopefully before then too, at our webinar at 1730 local UK time on 22/4/24

 

Jim Mee

Event director, The Exuma Files

Rat Race Managing Director  

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