Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Physiotherapy Student Avril Captains Ireland-USA Team in Endurance Race

06 October 2009

A third year Physiotherapy student, Avril Copeland, recently led a joint Ireland-USA team to a brilliant ninth place in one of the toughest endurance races in the world.  Avril and her Team Endurox R4 teammates Eoin Keith, Mark Lattanzi and Peter Spagnoli, completed the 2009 Eco Primal Quest Badlands expedition adventure race in South Dakota, USA.  After 966 Km over eight days, the team crossed the line in 9th position amongst the world’s top teams. 

Often referred to as an “expedition with a stopwatch”, adventure racing is one of the fastest growing extreme sports in the world. Teams bike, run, trek, swim, kayak, cave and climb their way around the course as fast as possible with the ultimate goal of being the first team to cross the finish line having hit all the checkpoints in order. These races take place under extreme conditions in some of the most remote, inhospitable areas of the world, away from all civilization.

Avril and her team in Endurance Race

The Eco Primal Quest is known as the “World’s Most Challenging Human Endurance Race” and each year, top teams from all over the world come to compete in what is regarded as the most prestigious adventure race around.  In an effort to achieve their top 10 placing, the team slept just 19 hours over the whole course.  Avril said that “by the end of the race we had ran 43.56 Km, trekked/orienteered 244.2 Km, mountain biked 535 Km, kayaked 132.12 Km, climbed 8.36 Km, swam 7.48 Km, and caved 3.2 Km non-stop, all within the eight days.”

Last bike ride to the finish line through the Badlands 

Avril’s passion for the sport developed when she moved to Nashville, Tennessee where she lived for 7 years prior to starting at RCSI. She said “From the age of 16, I represented Leinster and Ireland in hockey and had just been selected for the Irish national squad when I decided to move to the States.  After not playing any sport for my first year abroad, while home for Christmas, I saw one of the big expedition adventure races on television.  I was immediately taken by the sport and as soon as I returned to Nashville, I bought a bike and kayak, and started training and eventually racing.  Since then, I have competed in many adventure races including captaining a team in last five Eco Primal Quests and in the Adventure Racing World Championships.”

Avril concluded “Thanks to the magic of teamwork and medicinal properties of ibuprofen, we made it and got our best and most rewarding result ever.  Moreover, we are all still friends!”

To view a feature that appeared on Nationwide of Avril and he race, please see,null,228