Questival—For the Young, and Young at Heart

While Questival encompasses high-energy, low-sleep, find-the-next-adventure territory, it’s definitely not restricted to the born-after-1990 crowd.

Julie Whitney- Words & photos originally posted on

Case in point: Team Empty Nesters. Their exciting Denver Quest earlier this year is an inspiring account of how one Gen X group of friends made the most of this action-packed, 24-hour adventure race. Read about Julie’s Questival experience below.

When my BFF called and asked if we’d like to register as a team with them for Questival, I said sure! I had never heard of it and when I watched the promotional video it looked very intriguing. As I read more, I knew I was going to be happy we said yes.

Questival for Gen X
Challenge 243- Pick two teammates and do your best impression of the giant white statues at check-in.

It’s a “24-hour adventure race that invites you to build friendships, push yourself, experience your surroundings, and have a whole bunch of fun. Your team of 2 to 6 people will do exciting, unpredictable, and downright good things you never thought possible. We guarantee it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever experienced.”

One day before start time, we were emailed a list of 247 challenges. They were categorized into the following: Sport & Fitness, Community & Cultural, Food, Adventure/Quirky, Service & Environment, Social Media, Camping & Survival, Hiking & Travel, Checkpoint Challenges, and Check-In Challenges.

Each challenge was worth a point value depending upon its difficulty. After spending a few hours coming up with a game plan, we were ready. Game day arrived and we drove down to Denver for check-in. Each team was given a “totem” (a nylon flag) that had to be visible in all challenge submissions. This was to ensure that the challenges were done during the correct time frame of 7 pm – 7 pm.

After a fun kick-off party, the race began. Thanks to our pre-planning, we were a well oiled machine. You submit completed challenges on an app that updates team rankings in real time. Each submission requires either a picture or video.

Some of my favorites were: Go tandem longboarding while singing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, Leave a book at a little free library/tiny library, Use kitchenware to perform a boy band song of your choosing, Eat at a roadside diner and order the 12th item on the menu, Take a load off and do some urban hammocking in a creative place, Donate food items (2 per teammate) to a homeless shelter or food bank, Cross the border with another state and take a video doing your best Michael Jackson dance moves, and watch a sunrise. Also, (because another teammate did it) Find a lactating farm animal (cow, goat) and with the owner’s permission squirt the milk directly into your mouth.

Questival for Gen X
Challenge 12- Visit a town with a population of less than 500.

My least favorites were: Eat 1 tablespoon of blue cheese and then immediately sing “I’m Blue” by Eiffel 65, Eat a worm, Eat two crickets (thank goodness for the guys for those last two!) and Challenge another team to a 20 foot cartwheel race. FYI, just because you could do flawless successive cartwheels 30 years ago, doesn’t mean you can pick up where you left off. Stretch thoroughly or you will pull a hammy. Trust me on this.

Doing this adventure race was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time. Not only was it fun, but educational (I never knew about Denver’s RiNo, “River North Art District” where there are gigantic murals painted on every building for 10 square blocks…so incredible!), and had a component of service to others. I also liked how you could make it as competitive or as chill as you wanted. We went the more competitive route, which always has the potential to make things go sideways, but I was really proud of our team. The fact that we went to dinner together after the race ended said a lot to us about our friendship.

Picking the right people to experience this with is critical. Crankiness is a given once sleep deprivation sets in, so it’s important that you’re pretty solid with everyone going into it.

Questival for Gen X
Challenge 87- 12th item on a roadside diner’s menu.

Questival is put on by Cotopaxi, a company that aspires to “alleviate poverty, do good and inspire adventure.” Things I think we all can get behind! The registration fee is $33 for the earliest registrants and goes up as race day approaches. With that fee you get a Cotopaxi Luzon backback, a $40 value, which comes in 10 or 12 different colors you can choose from. It’s pretty awesome and I see myself using it for a long time.

Finally, an observation…there were 717 teams registered for the Denver race. At 2-6 people per team, that’s a lot of people. As I looked around at the kick-off party something was quite glaring. Aside from a handful of anomalies, our team was the oldest by at least two decades. Millennials abounded. I hope next year Gen X will be better represented. Get out there and sign up! If you’ve missed your town’s event for 2017, do it next year. I promise you won’t regret it.

Looking for a Questival near you? Check out the event calendar here.

Julie Whitney lives in Fort Collins, CO with her husband and is a recent “empty nester”. She loves reading, hiking, snowboarding and trying new things, and hopes to inspire other people her age to have adventures, push limits and to live with no regrets. You can follow her blog at