Tom Chadbourne

Tom Chadbourne is one of the most mysterious figures in the contemporary adventure racing circles. Most winning teams consist of people who have been around last 5 years at least with minor exceptions. Vast experience is considered a must have for successful expedition racing when we’re talking about public perception.

When Tom appeared on the podium  of X-Marathon  2017, all what we knew was his WA origin and super fitness. Soon after (in adventure racing terms) he is winning XPD and going to the World Championships this year

When I asked what photos can I add up to his article he said:” I don't do pictures. I was in the States in 2005 and travelled with an Indian, Argentinian and Malaysian. After that I said I would never take pictures again. It’s been good and bad. Good because it’s one less thing to waste time on and I think you look around more. Bad because I have no pictures and it makes tinder harder”.

Lucky to get him to talk to us  and find out some details:

Tom: "In 2012 friends of mine needed someone to paddle in their multisport team. After initiation by fire with a friend and some Youtube, I managed to get around the course averaging about 10 km/h. I followed this up with a fun run and held around 4 min/km plus I swam a bit as a kid. This all sums up what people call my natural ability and although I wasn't going to go to the Olympics, I decided to spend the next few years trying to find out what I was capable of.

I went into work in late 2015, we were down to working 3 days a week due to the oil crisis. I don’t know if it was a crisis, they had too much oil, doesn’t sound like a crisis. I walked out at lunch time having been put on garden leave which means you get paid but don’t work. I went down the beach and sat on the sand in my work attire, I haven't worn those clothes since. I finished off some uni in early 2016, the degree has been really handy.

My brother had gone full gypsy with his kids at the end of 2014 and had been living in a caravan ever since. He was set up in Cairns and as soon as I finished uni I drove over with a tent, 2 bikes, a ski and my dad. It took 6 days, I did a race when we got there, it didn't go well. My nephew managed to impale himself on a star picket after a vine broke that he was swinging from. He was basically recovered when I got there and after about a week, I forgot about uncle duties and started to cruise around.

6 months later I finished up on the Great Ocean rd. I learnt a fair bit about how to live outside, how to avoid old people and how not to race. I capped off the year by going home to a wedding. My dad once said that it doesn’t matter what you say when public speaking as no one will remember. He made this comment after being talked into giving eulogies at a few funerals of people who he didn’t know that well. I took this advice into the wedding where my speech got cut off before I finished, I won't go into it but I can be a liability at times. I had just finished a year without working and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do in 2017. Sometimes you just have to wait at home for a call. It might sound obvious but when you're not working then you're available.


In 2016 I had met the group who were set to be team Peak Adventure for the 2017 edition of X-Marathon. A couple of them got injured and I got the call to fill in. 2017 soon turned into the year where I moved ever couple of weeks and flew over East for the A1 series every couple of months. Along the way I met people in the AR scene which was different to 2016 where I met people in the multisport scene. Knowing people is one half of the equation when getting into AR teams, the second half is how strong people think you are. Since AR is raced in teams, you can use smoke and mirrors to adjust how good people think you are.

In late 2017 I got asked if I wanted a room in Melbourne. Seemed like a good idea so I moved over for a few months but before I knew it I was living in a tent again in the High country. I will give you a highlight and lowlight of tent living. Highlight: 2009 Tenerife - camping at the beach when Eurovision was on. Lowlight: 2018 Falls creek - spent too long up high, got sick, started wondering if I was going to come good for the upcoming XPD.

So to XPD 2018. I basically got myself into a good team by meeting people in 2017. I met the 2017 people via the people I met in 2016. End result, if you want to get into a good team, know lots of people, be available and tell them how good you are in a crafty way. Could most probably have achieved the same thing by being rich or being married to a good navigator. Rich would be easiest just with the added challenge of dodging the gin and cocaine at the morning buffet".