The Wild Savedges take on the Kinzua Country Tango

When we first moved to Warren, PA, we learned that the town is home to a rather unique race – the Kinzua Country Tango. The Tango is it’s known in these parts is part triathlon, part adventure race, and part bada$$ fun. This year, my husband, 14-year-old daughter, and I decided to take it on. And of course, or team name was the “Wild Savedges.”

Here’s the breakdown of the race legs in order:

13.1 mile half-marathon (me)

20 mile mountain (hubs)

2.5 mile open water swim (teen)

7 mile orienteering course (hubs and teen)

2.2 mile trail run (me)

7 mile canoe course (me and teen)

The teen getting ready to tackle the swimming leg of the Tango race.

Whew! I’m not gonna lie – this was a lot but it was also so much darned fun!

From the moment we signed up for this race, I entered into a state of controlled panic. I made the rookie mistake of looking at the running times from previous years and almost choked…most of the half-marathon times were in the 1:35-1:45 range. WTF! I can’t hit these times on my best days. My previous PR was a 2:03 and that was on a completely flat course. Did I mention that the Tango course was comprised of many “rolling hills” as well as a few flat out monster hills?

Tagging out with the orienteers for my 2.2 mile (steep) trail run.

I was also nervous about how my teen would do on that swim. She is a swimmer and she does love distance swimming – her specialty on the high school swim team is the 500 meter – but 2.5. miles is a heck of a lot further than 500 meters (about 3500 meters to be exact!) Also, while I knew that my husband would have no problems finding the points on an orienteering course (he is a former park ranger after all,) I wasn’t sure how he would do with the 7 mile distance. He is NOT a runner and he really doesn’t like tackling anything other than a casual stroll.

But my teen really, really wanted to do this race and so of course, we had to say yes.

And I’m so glad we did.

I’m happy to report that I nabbed a half-marathon PR of 2:01:44 (and the steepest course I’ve ever run!) And the other legs of the race went by just as smoothly. Hubs rocked the bike, my teen killed it on the swim, and they both really enjoyed the orienteering course. By the time my teen and I found ourselves in the canoe, we could hardly stop talking about the amazing day we were having.

On my way to a half-marathon PR!

A few notes for anyone considering – and if you’re ever in this area, I highly encourage you to consider – racing the Kinzua Country Tango. This is billed as an adventure race, which means that the courses aren’t marked and the legs aren’t supported. In other words, you need to study this map so that you know where you are going (there are volunteers at key points, but no mile markers or signs) and you also need to carry your own fuel and water.

If you are a hardcore bada$$, you can tackle the Tango solo, or you can pull together as many as five friends to take on the race leg-by-leg. Either option guarantees you a crazy fun day running, biking, swimming, hiking, and/or paddling in the beautiful Allegheny Mountains.  Look for the ‘Wild Savedges’ to make a return appearance at this event next year for sure!