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 moved on to introduce his concept to the continent of South America in Ecuador and recently put on an incredibly successful week for 100 participants.  His next stop is Guatemala!
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.


Santiago Lopez, Race Director

Santiago has been attracted to the adventure race world since 1998, when the Raid Gauloises (French Adventure Race) came to Ecuador. He started an adventure race events’ firm with Rodolfo Peralta in 2003, creating the first Ecuadorian Adventure Race, HUAIRASINCHI.  Santiago has been the Race Director of more than 30 races over the past 7 years, and has been volunteering for Primal Quest; the support crew for team Ecuador at the AR World Championship in Brazil; and worked for the AR World Championship in Portugal. Santiago has been an enthusiastic adventure racer since 2005 with his team Proyectoaventura.com with whom he shares the love of nature and the continuous desire for its conservation. His biggest event, HUAIRASINCHI, is a member of the AR World Series and qualifier for the AR World Championship with 11 other nations around the World.


Julioandré Piedra Santa AKA "Chiqui," Race Director

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.


Rodolfo Peralta, Course Director

Born and raised in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes, Rodolfo has developed a passion for the outdoors. He has been involved in adventure sports for a long time. In the year 2003 he co-organized the first adventure race in Ecuador, The HuairaSinchi.  Since then he has been in charge of the organization and course design for 35 adventure events throughout Ecuador. 


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.

Carter Shields

Carter Shields, Staff

Carter is the clown of the crew.  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. He has worked for every one of our races in the past five years.

Mike Fricke

Mike Fricke, Staff

Mike is a 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. He missed Ecuador this past year and was absolutely crushed about it.  That said, watch out!  He is itching to rejoin the crew in Guatemala.

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.

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.