I think it's fairly obvious that I like adventures.
You can imagine my excitement when my friend Jenny told me about the Great Urban Race in San Diego. Actually, they have Urban Races in pretty much every major city in the country, and the top finishers automatically qualify for the National Finals. Unfortunately, in my rookie attempt, we did not manage to qualify, but Darren and I, Team "Kick Your CompAss" (I came up with the name) finished 109 out of about 500! For first timers, it was a pretty damn good effort.
I know what you're thinking: "What the heck is this Urban Race, Arun!?? Is it another marathon? Is it a charity event like Relay for Life? Is it an Urban Modeling Walkoff?!?"
For those of you who are familiar with the television show "The Amazing Race" apparently its like that. Basically, The Great Urban Race is a citywide race/scavenger hunt. So all participants are part of a two person team. Each team must have coordinated costumes, usually either something outrageous or the official race shirts. Teams are also allowed to work together.
So Darren and I teamed up with six of my other friends in our "Alliance of Power and Good Looks." All participants met at Dick's Last Resort Restaurant in the middle of Downtown San Diego where we all received an envelope of clues. When the race starts, everyone opens the envelope and are presented with 12 clues we have to decipher.
The clues are things like trivia questions, logic puzzles, word scrambles, riddles, etc. Once you decipher the clue, the answer is usually a location in San Diego that you have to go to and perform a task, take a picture of yourself doing something, or collect specific evidence of completing the task. The kicker is that no private transportation is allowed! No bikes, cars, ore taxis. You are ONLY allowed to use your feet or use public transportation.
Some of the tasks we had to perform included:
- Going to a boxing studio where we had to take a lesson (which as some of you may know I need a little work
- Proposing to a total stranger
- Finding an obscure crafts shop and braiding a bracelet
- Finding an obscure Chinese restaurant and making origami
- Locating a roaming St. Judes rep and taking a picture with her after making a $5 donation.
- Riding Go-carts around a track
- Eating Pancakes from a specific pancake house
- Getting a temporary tattoo from a specific tattoo parlor
The list goes on, but we were basically all over central San Diego. In fact, it was hilarious seeing the expression of random residents who didn't know what was going on. Imagine, you see people running all over the place in no singular direction, everybody's got different costumes on, yet we all have race numbers. Suffice it to say, we were inundated with confused looks and inquiries. Because I like to stir the pot, I even did a couple of "Loop-de-loops" around unsuspecting citizens to further confuse them as to what the hell is going on.
When we finally finished our last task, we sprinted the last mile to the finish line where we were sure we were in the top 25! When we arrived to the approximately 200 people (100 teams) who finished before us, our hopes were a smidgen dashed.
Oh well. Next year!
Afterwards, we were all exhausted. Nearly four hours of running around the city under the hot sun (I love San Diego) will do that to you, so we dialed up a little Pizza and Beer to recover!
I highly recommend participating in this event. For those of you in the States, it's there's probably one in a city near you. Check it out, and if you do well, I'll see you in next years national championship!