It can be hard to find time for yourself. We’ve got to contend with endless traffic, constant work obligations, our kids after school activities…and don’t forget to work in that date night. But, somehow, you find the time to run, to bike, to get out and stay active and it feels great and you want more. So you race. You may be a doctor, or a barista, or a rocket scientist turned stay-at-home mom, but on race day – you’re all just athletes pushing yourself harder than you could on your own. You shed everything except your determination and you just go. And it’s fun, and for the first time in a long time, everyone is cheering for YOU.
And when it’s over, you feel great - alive and reinvigorated, with new friends, and a sense of accomplishment that only comes from really challenging yourself. This is the result, the feeling, the reason you race. You need this for your body, mind, and soul. This is an excellent experience and this is what EX2 Adventures offers you.
Listen to EX2 Founder and Race Director, Jim Harman share his story and inspiration behind EX2 Adventures - PODCAST (11/2/15)
Anatomy of an Excellent Experience:
- Unique Vibe – We run a tight ship. EX2 events are professionally operated, yet friendly, fun, and laid back - a unique vibe!
- YOU ARE WELCOME – everyone is welcome at EX2 events, from beginner to professional, junior to grandma – the EX2 community is the opposite of intimidating!
- Trust – we are headed into our 18th year and have successfully produced over 245 races. Most racers learn about EX2 by word of mouth. That says a lot.
- Course Design - we design courses that are fun and challenging, but doable. If it doesn’t hurt a little, then it’s not challenging enough.
- Consistently Smooth – parking, check-in, aid stations, emergency response, post-race food, awards ceremony – our operations are consistently smooth, like butter!
- Staying Informed – we use every way possible to keep you informed…updated website, pre-race emails, newsletters, facebook/twitter posts, photos, etc. We never want anyone to feel left in the dark.
- Fair - EX2 has very liberal, industry leading, and racer-friendly policies. Being fair - we just think that’s the right thing to do.
- T-shirts – you don’t race just for the t-shirt but it's a bonus when you get a nice one. You will receive a high-quality cotton, colorful, and artful t-shirt at all of our events. Why not tech tees? Well, because these cotton tees look and feel so good that you’ll want you to wear it around town, not just while working out.
- Plentiful Post-Race Food - includes good stuff like breakfast burritos, pizza, bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, watermelon, trail bars, yogurt, hummus, veggies, crackers, bagels, peanut butter, nutella, muffins, cookies, chips, pretzels, coffee, soft drinks, water, Gatorade, and our famous cups of M&Ms. All are welcome to partake - racers, volunteers, kids, the pizza guy, etc.
- Awesome Giveaways – our generous sponsors provide us with the means to randomly give away awesome swag – ipods, camelbaks, Benjamins ($100 bills), Washington Nationals tickets, outdoor gear, gift certificates, etc. And, we give that stuff away in a really fun way…come to an EX2 awards ceremony, you’ll see!
- Awards are for Accomplishment – we spread the wealth by going 5 deep in each class/age group. That means more people on the podium - sweet! We do not give away cash prizes because we believe that earning an award should be a measure of accomplishment, not a paycheck. Cash prizes attract cutthroat competition, 1st-5th place EX2 pint glasses attract healthy competition – and the latter is what EX2 is all about.
- Accurate and Timely Results – we take this seriously because we understand that your result is a measure of your achievement, and this is one of the main reasons you race. So, you can expect to see your results posted on-site on race day and on our website within 24-48 hours of the race.
- Incredible Volunteers – They arrive before sunrise, ready to make it happen and make your day. They show you where to park, they check you in, they keep you on track, they water you, they feed you, they cheer for you, they look out for you – they are EX2 volunteers and they’re a huge and crucial part of the EX2 community - and we love ‘em.
- Remarkable Staff - the EX2 staff are professional, friendly, energetic, knowledgeable, and fun. For EX2 staff, race day is game day and it’s time to rock and roll. We love this stuff!
Testimonials – Comments from Racers
- ‘Great race. Now I know why these sell out so fast. Glad to get in this year. Can’t wait for the others!’ Stephanie H. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Hemlock Overlook.
- ‘Awesome race. My first trail race and I don’t know if I can go back to running road races. Loved the mud and the very technical track. Great job making the atmosphere so casual, but at the same time very prompt and well put together.’ Kevin C. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Hemlock Overlook.
- ‘Everything about this race was top notch. This was my first trail race so the pre-race discussion, the very detailed course marking, the emails beforehand all super, super helpful.’ Liz T. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Hemlock Overlook.
- ‘You guys really do a great job hosting these events. Everything from the communication to the giveaways are first class. It’s been years since I have participated in a running event and I mainly signed up to get in shape for others activities, but I have enjoyed myself so much that I can see myself signing up for the fall series as well. Don’t change a thing.’ Steven K. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Hemlock Overlook.
- ‘This race definitely exceeded my expectations. Being a former college cross country runner, this race was just what I needed to get my fix!’ Sarah B. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Wakefield Park.
- ‘LOVE LOVE LOVE your races - - incredibly well run, laid back atmosphere, friendly and dedicated volunteers and staff – always so much fun and such an incredible way to spend a Sunday morning. I keep spreading the word – Thank you, thank you for doing such an amazing job year after year and providing us with this outlet.’ Ferrall D. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Prince William Forest Park.
- ‘You guys put on some of the best races. I am new to the series (Fall was my first BYB series) and I love the vibe of the races. Everyone is great, low key and fun. Well done.’ Nelson M. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Prince William Forest Park.
- ‘Absolutely wonderful race!!! Every part of each of the races this year has been awesome.’ Thomas H. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Prince William Forest Park.
- ‘This was my first trail race ever and it was an absolute blast. I definitely plan on registering for more with EX2 in the DC area.’ Caitlin M. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Fountainhead.
- ‘Best racing series’ Robert H. commenting on the Spring Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Fountainhead.
- ‘This was an amazing experience….great location, so well run, and the sportsmanship of all the racers and volunteers made the day incredible. Very challenging for us beginners, but such a great feeling to finish competitively. Can’t compliment the staff enough….they made the day awesome. We will make this a yearly tradition.’ Stephanie B. commenting on the Greenhorn Adventure Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘I started racing with EX2 years ago, took a break, and came back, and I am amazed at how far and how fast EX2 has risen to the need and to the challenge of creating an amazing ‘racing empire’ in the NOVA/DC/MD area! Seriously, no one currently does it better in this area!’ Niki A. commenting on the Greenhorn Adventure Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘This was my first race of any kind, let alone an adventure race, and you could tell the organizers and volunteers knew what they were doing and how to make sure everyone had a good time and stayed safe. Really had a lot of fun and I anticipate dong more of these!’ Ryan K. commenting on the Greenhorn Adventure Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘One of the best relay mtn bike races. Great course, wet or dry. Fast and friendly check-in. This is a racers race.’ Christopher J. commenting on the 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘Ridiculously smooth race. Well organized and all directions were clear and easy to follow from registration, to e-punch and race directions. No problems at all.’ August C. commenting on the 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- The location was great along with the amazing attitudes of all the organizers and the volunteers. The course was on point, perfect amount of challenging climbs and technical sections mixed with fun, fast, recovery sections.’ August C. commenting on the 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘The course was awesome. It was just the right length for me and just technical enough. Nice scenery too.’ Arik W. commenting on the 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘Perhaps the best organized event that I’ve ever attended. Very professional. Staff and volunteers were competent, kind, supportive. Thanks so much for a very, very positive experience!’ David S. commenting on the 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘Best race experience I have had yet. Superb staffing/check-in/marshalling. Post-race snacks/pizza exceeded expectations. I raced the Cranky series in 2010 and they were all great, but 9Hrs of CM was even better. Thanks again, EX2! Scott C. commenting on the 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘The course was fantastic! It is fun, challenging and well organized. Perfect!’ Amir P. commenting on the 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘You have the unique ability to straddle the fence of the low-key ultrarunning race environment with the overly organized street races.’ Colin C. commenting on the EX2 Off-Road Half Marathon and 10K at Prince William Forest Park.
- ‘Thanks so much for a blast of a series of the spring backyard burn runs and the half just this past weekend. You guys amaze me. And I am reminded of your quiet, cheerful efficiency whenever I do other runs. And the comraderie you all foster makes each event just a really enlivening time.’ Mary G. commenting on the EX2 Off-Road Half Marathon and 10K at Prince William Forest Park.
- ‘My entire crew agrees – this was an EXTREMELY well run race. My first MTB race, and first with EX2 – you guys put on a really well run event!’ Mike S. commenting on the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Quantico.
- ‘Very professionally ran race…great set and execution…EX2 is a top notch organization and I will race with you folks again.’ Vance S. commenting on the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Quantico.
- ‘I have been away from DC for a few years and this is the first race I have done with EX2 in as many years. I have raced and volunteered with many different companies and cannot begin to explain in works how much I enjoy your company! You all are true professionals. The courses are always challenging and the support is fantastic. I have never had to wonder about any detail. You guys always have it covered.’ Kimberly A. commenting on the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Quantico.
- ‘Everything was supreme, the organization, the people in the aid stations….Just a great environment to make the suffering a little easier to handleJ….Can’t think of anything to make it better, that is how good it was. The course is tough and this was the hardest think I have ever done in my life (done solo men cat), but am surely coming back next year with hopes to do 11 laps (managed only 10 this year). Keep doing what you are doing because you are doing a wonderful job! Amir P. commenting on the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Quantico.
- ‘The people who come to EX2 events are great to be around, the type of people you’d have as friends outside of the race world. EX2 puts on one heck of a show!! I’ve raced with many different promoters and NONE come close to the level of detail you guys put into a race event. Everything from registration to closing remarks was seamless. Thanks for what you do!’ Chuck S. commenting on the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Relay Race at Quantico.
- ‘Most organized and well run race I’ve ever competed in. The post-race spread was also well done. I’m used to a couple of bruised bananas, a stale bagel, and a slice of cold pizza if I’ lucky. I’m spoiled after this race. Volunteers were friendly and aid stations were abundant. Great work.’ Anonymous commenting on the XTERRA EX2 Off-Road Triathlon and Duathlon at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘I am a novice triathlete (lots of road running experience though) and just completed the EX2 event this weekend. I did the whole triathlon and my daughter (another novice) competed on a relay team. What a great experience! I have seen a lot of road races, and have some idea of the logistics involved; however, the EX2 team pulled the more complex triathlon off without a hitch. Having no idea what I was getting into, I never once felt confused, worried about getting off-course or not understanding directions. An incredible positive experience and my daughter (who was initially very reluctant) has announced that she wants to do another one. Hopefully, it will be as well done as your EX2 event! And, I plan to be back next year too.’ John O. commenting on the XTERRA EX2 Off-Road Triathlon and Duathlon at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘This was my second triathlon ever. I am going to do this race every year until I die-no doubt. Amazing campsite, scenery, and course. Good people all around.’ Richard P. commenting on the XTERRA EX2 Off-Road Triathlon and Duathlon at Rocky Gap State Park.
- ‘This is the first race I’ve done in the Cranky Monkey series and I LOVED it!!!’ Michael V. commenting on the Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike race at Wakefield Park.
- ‘I do the Backyard Burn Series, XTERRA, and now the first Cranky Monkey and I just want to say how AWESOME ALL your events area!!! I have attended some other organization’s events this year and NONE compare to EX2!!!! You all spoil usJ Love ya all!!! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. When my kids get older I will be sure we all volunteer at races!!! Thanks again.’ Jenny R. commenting on the Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike race at Wakefield Park.
- ‘Thank you for such a well-organized race. I have run 8 marathons and countless shorter races around the country, including triathlons. I compare your race to those that I have run in and as evidenced by the ratings above, you came out on top! Grace C. commenting on the Blue Crab Bolt 10K Trail Running Race at Seneca Creek State Park.
- ‘This really is the best all around race series in the region. I hate driving to events, but it’s worth it for the best. Great trails, great support, the most fun post race ceremonies around.’ Taro A. commenting on the Blue Crab Bolt 10K Trail Running Race at Seneca Creek State Park.
- ‘EX2 races are head and shoulders above the other races in comparison with their organization.’ James C. commenting on the Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike race at Schaeffer Farms.
- This was my first mountain bike race. I’m new to the Virginia area and had a blast seeing how large and diverse the MTB community is. My overall experience was excellent. There was information available from sign up to race day! The website is well organized and the email update was a help. The class organization and delayed start time was great. Thank you for an excellent race and awesome day!’ Rachel V. commenting on the Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike race at Schaeffer Farms.
- ‘Awesome race!!! You guys work really hard to put on a good event and it shows.’ Jeff R. commenting on the Blue Crab Bolt 10K Trail Running Race at Little Bennett.
- ‘This was my first trail race, and it could not have been a better experience! Thank you. Post race food was fantastic and the overall attitude of volunteers/staff was exceptional.’ Travis F. commenting on the Blue Crab Bolt 10K Trail Running Race at Little Bennett.
- ‘Very challenging. Great race, though. It was my first EX2 race and I was very impressed. Great low-key, relaxed atmosphere. Nice venue. Keep it up EX2.’ William F. commenting on the Fountainhead Off-Road Duathlon at Fountainhead
- ‘The spirit of the race staff and racer amid cold, windy, soaking conditions was fantastic. Misery has never been so much fun.’ Quentin L. commenting on the Rocky Gap Adventure Race at Rocky Gap State Park
- ‘My teammates and I have done several ARs locally and the EX2 ones are by far our favorites.’ Austin S. commenting on the Rocky Gap Adventure Race at Rocky Gap State Park
- ‘Literally the best race I have taken part in.’ Eric B. commenting on the Rocky Gap Adventure Race at Rocky Gap State Park
- ‘It was way more challenging than your standard road race and the fellow racers were the NICEST I’ve ever ran with!!!’ Rachel W. commenting on the Fall Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Prince William Forest Park
- ‘OK seriously, I returned to the area about 2 years ago and this is my first year back with EX2. I did the 12 hours of Cranky Monkey this year as well and I love your company! The support, the volunteers and the venues. You all and your races rock.’ Kimberly A. commenting on the Fall Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Prince William Forest Park
- ‘EX2 feels like my athletic family, and I get reinvigorated and motivated every time.’ Anon Y. commenting on the Fall Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Prince William Forest Park
- ‘You guys are great….very organized and still chill!’ Myriam K. commenting on the Fall Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Laurel Hill
- ‘Everyone—racers, volunteers, and organizers made this such a relaxed and fun atmosphere. The race hurt like hell, but a good kind of I-just-ran-ten-miles-through-the-woods kind of hell, you know?’ Kevin K. commenting on the Fall Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Fountainhead
- ‘I do lots of road races and they are not nearly as friendly and welcoming as this one was….I definitely plan to come back for the spring series!’ Kate K. commenting on the Fall Backyard Burn at Hemlock Overlook
- ‘Awesome job. My first trail run, and I am completely hooked, thanks to all of you for doing a great job organizing the event. Really appreciated.’ Shera R. commenting on the Fall Backyard Burn Trail Running Race at Hemlock Overlook
Trevor B. from Baltimore, MD posted this review on Yelp.com on 5/21/12
(Rated 5 out of 5 stars)
EX2 rocks! I truly believe they're the best race organizer in the DC/MD/VA region. I've run close to 10 races with them since last year, and every single one has been fun, well-planned & supported, and reasonably priced.
I live in Baltimore now, but have no problem braving the traffic down to VA to take part in one of their events (hoping for a few more MD events in the future!). The courses they use are beautiful and well-maintained, after-race food is great, and they give away tons of schwag at each event. I placed third in a recent event and got a brand new $80 Camelbak! Even if you don't place, they give away tons of stuff after each event, from T-shirts to hydration packs to $200 exercise watches.
If you've never run trail before, I highly recommend trying an EX2 event. You spend enough time in traffic...get off the pavement and give your joints a break!
Joey D. from Bristow, VA posted this review on Yelp.com on 9/12/11
(Rated 5 out of 5 stars)
I have been running in trail races with EX2 since late 2010. Have run in the backyard burn fall series and spring series, and am looking forward to this falls series. All of the events are well organized and ran. I always feel as if they are looking out for the participants. The courses are always marked clear and fun and challenging. Always seems to be a nice long hill to run up at the end of the races :) Results are up quickly. Post race food and festivities are always top notch as well.
Monty C. from Arlington, VA posted this review on Yelp.com on 5/5/10
(Rated 5 out of 5 stars)
EX2 Adventures trail running and mountain biking races are awesome!
These races are planned by runners, for runners. This isn't some elementary school fundraiser or overcrowded destination race where all they care about is your entry fee. If you are a runner, you know what I'm talking about. These aren't the kind of races where they charge inflated entry fees for a crappy cheap t-shirt with a hundred logos on it, a couple cookies and a warm bottle of water, and lines around the block for overflowing port-o-lets. Oh no, the people at EX2 Adventures are very well organized and actually care that you have fun.
Case in point, in April I ran the final race of the 2010 Spring Backyard Burn series out in Prince William Forest Park, Virginia. The EX2 Adventures sponsors gave away so much post-race food and prizes, I really felt like I came out way ahead of what I paid in registration fees. Beyond gorging myself on pizza and other goodies after the 10 mile trail run, I also randomly won a gift certificate for a half hour massage for having the worst race injury; a set of ridiculously bloody nipples.
I've only ever participated in the Backyard Burn races, but have heard great things about the Cranky Monkey mountain biking and Greenhorn Adventure races. If you are looking for a fun and challenging adventure you can't go wrong with an EX2 event.
Laura T. from Rockville, MD posted this review on Yelp.com on 11/2/09
(Rated 5 out of 5 stars)
During these tough economic times some might consider this a luxury item. Anyone can just hop on their bike or throw on some running shoes and get a great workout for free. So what do you really get for your race fee?
"a Date". That's right.... you have a date on your calendar. We all say we're going to get up and go for a 6am run on Monday, but how often does that happen? Once you commit to the race, you're much more likely to get your butt out of that warm, comfy bed and put your running shoes on.
"the Experience". Sure, you can join various local running or cycling groups, but where else can you meet up with a few hundred other like minded athletes to push and challenge yourself to run or ride your hardest and fastest? How cool is it to give your child the opportunity to watch from the side lines as mommy or daddy races past them, sometimes giving out a high-five as they go by?
"aid stations". Multiple aid stations are set up every few miles on the course ready to offer water, Gatorade and medical attention, should you need help while out on the course. Staff and volunteers are set up with radio communication for any possible situation that might arise.
"action photos". High hopes to be the fresh face for Nike or Under Armour? Brian Knight Photography is out on the course catching your athletic endeavors.... leaping across a creek, tumbling down shock-a-billy, scrambling up the rocks at Rocky Gap, or your relieved expressions upon seeing the finish line.
"a marked course". Feeling apprehensive about checking out a new area by yourself? Afraid you might get lost out in the wilderness? If you're like me, I never trail run or mtn bike by myself solely for safety purposes. Too bad all the trails I ride don't have "XXX"danger signs when approaching a crazy rocky descent!
"post race party". Fresh, hot Papa Johns pizza awaits you at the finish. Instant gratification for getting out of bed early in the morning. Fruit, granola bars, yogurt, cookies, M&Ms, and other refreshments are provided at every race. Great prizes such as Ipods and gift certificates to running stores like VA runner, and the Bike Lane are also given out during the awards ceremony.
"fond memories". You'll always remember picking up your pace to pass the girl in front of you so that you could get on the podium. You'll remember your off road 1/2 marathon finish time. You'll remember how you felt when you rocked shock-a-billy in front of a crowd of spectators. When you bump into a complete stranger wearing the EX2 hat, or race T-shirt, you'll find yourself curious as to which race he or she participated.
I've raced in a few EX2 events, and volunteered for many more. I have had the pleasure to see the race experience from both sides, and I know how much hard work goes into putting together a well run race with high levels of support. I also have experienced the feelings of camaraderie with fellow athletes, the joy of crossing the finish line after a particularly difficult physical challenge, and the satisfaction of knowing I was able to push myself farther than I ever imagined.
When you consider all of this, the race fee becomes more of a long term investment in yourself.
Dave R. from Washington D.C. posted this review on Yelp.com on 10/20/09
(Rated 5 out of 5 stars)
If NAKID is in Yelp, then EX2 sure should be also. These guys put on a couple dozen cool outdoor races a year including trail runs, mountain biking, and adventure races. I did my first trail run with them after arriving in DC last year and was hooked (limping, but hooked).
The races are held at various parks across VA and MD. You get to hang out outdoors, run/bike with a bunch of good natured people, and pretend it’s a race. The people who show up for these events come with a good mindset and the EX2 staff with the help of volunteers keep everything well organized and fun.
Full disclosure, I've got to know many of the staff and mountain bike with them for fun. But it all started because I enjoyed their events so much.
Tommy K. from Burke, VA posted this review on Yelp.com on 1/20/10
(Rated 5 out of 5 stars)
I forget how I found out about these guys, but I'm glad I did. I've made it a habit to run their "Backyard Burn" series trail races in both the spring and the fall. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the race to win it. I do it b/c I love to run, be on the trail and I love the atmosphere of being out there with folks who appreciate being outside getting some exercise. Don't be intimidated if you're not a world class athlete. All shapes and sizes show up and I great time is had by all. The folks who manage these events are top notch!