Race Staff
Merritt Hopper

Merritt Hopper, Founder and Event Director

Merritt has helped orchestrate races with the world’s most popular adventure race of all time, the Eco Challenge, in New Zealand and Fiji.  He then went on to be the Logistics Director in Tahoe, Volunteer Director in the San Juan Islands, and Director of Operations in Moab, Utah for The Primal Quest.  Since then, Merritt moved on to develop his own race in Costa Rica that pulled elements of an adventure race, but simplified the experience so that just about anyone could be a part of it.  After three successful years in Costa Rica, he has moved on to introduce his concept to South and Central America.

Merritt has been planning events for the past 15 years.  One of his more recent endeavors is to attend every winter and summer Olympics with as many people as he can bring.  Please visit www.journeytothegames.com for more information.  

Helen Russ

Helen Russ, Ground Operations

Born in Guatemala, Helen is the proud mother of 3 children. She has been organizing flawless social and corporate events for the past 10 years. She specializes in destination weddings and bringing people from abroad to have a great time in various Latin American countries! She has worked in and placed stamps on numerous countries including Guatemala, Republica Dominicana, Costa Rica, Salvador, Aruba, Nicaragua, and Columbia.



Julioandré Piedra Santa AKA "Chiqui," Race Director

Chiqui is an adventure sports specialist and self-proclaimed patriot without a cause. He has managed to quench his thirst for travel through expedition style adventure racing around the world, from Scotland to the Amazon to Patagonia to South Africa. While training for these races he has come to think of Guatemala as his own natural playground. In his free time he organizes adventure sports events to share his new training routes with fellow adventurers.  Chiqui put on an incredible week for everyone in his home country of Guatemala last year and will be working with local racers in Panama to create a fantastic adventure for us this upcoming year.

Sergio Sanchez

Sergio Sanchez , Course Director

Sergio has been working in race course logistics since 2005, developing numerous international events. He also played important roles in various biking and adventure races such as the Trio Adventure Challenge, Costa Rica Solo Adventure Race, Rios Tropicales Challenge, and Guanaride, among others. He’s been competing and racing since age ten! He also participated on the Costa Rican swimming and triathlon national team. Now it’s all about making successful races in various countries throughout Central and South America.


Kevin Hickey, Medical Director

Kevin's first experience with eco-tourism and racing was with the Eco Challenge in Fiji.  Since then he has worked in logistics for Primal Quest Tahoe and tours in Costa Rica.  Kevin has 14 years of guiding and outdoor education experience and is the owner of The Tahoe Adventure Company.  He is also EMT certified and a ski patrol guide in the Lake Tahoe area for the past nine years. 

Jamie Randazzo

Jamie Randazzo, Staff

Jamie has competed and worked on the logistics side of racing since 2005.  Born and raised in New York, Jamie relocated down to Tampa, Florida in 2000.  He continues to support races throughout Central and South America in his free time.  He has been with us for all six years.

Carter Shields

Carter Shields, Staff

Carter is the clown of the crew.  He is a mechanical engineer that works around the clock for Race2Adventure when we’re on the ground.  Carter began his career in race logistics in 2005.  If something is broke, Carter can fix it.  If something is not, you can find Carter working hard to make sure all of our racers belongings are getting from A to B.  And if he’s not doing those things, he’s with you, having a great time.  Carter has worked for every one of our races in the past six years.

Mike Fricke

Mike Fricke, Staff

Mike is a realtor, ski instructor, musician, and event planner in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe California.  He’ll have a smile bigger than anyone’s and makes sure to be the last one in bed every night.  Mike has played a role in two of our past three races in Costa Rica as well as Guatemala.  He’s ready for the new adventure even further south. 

Angela Botta

Angela Botta, Staff

A native from New York, Angela is the Mom of the race staff. She is a world traveler who has spent a good deal of time throughout South America, South East Asia, Europe, and most recently India. She also has a background in herbal medicine. Angela is a certified yoga instructor and has been known to put on a few complimentary sessions for the group througout the week.