I believe this was my 50th race ever (since my first in 2005), so I wanted to do something a little different. I found out about the Urban Dare on Cool Running, and quickly recruited three friends to join me. The Urban Dare is basically a one day Amazing Race. No course, no real starting line, just a sheet full of clues and a whole city to roam. The only rules are that you can only run, walk or use public transportation. Since we were in Providence, public transportation wasn’t really an option. (I hear there are buses, I just don’t know where you get them, when they run, or where you go in them).
Saturday was a beautiful day, a little warm for a race that starts at noon, but no humidity. It started at my least favorite bar in Providence, Ri Ra, but it’s not so bad with no people there. My teammate and I got these awesome shirts the night before, and met our other friends to start the race. The plan was to work together, and then we would pull away and win (I’m a little competitive). Here we are before the start:
We started the race with a bang, figuring out one clue and running to the State House while looking up other clues and making phone calls on the way (very dangerous for klutzes like myself). Most clues (like this first one) required us to take our picture in front of the landmark. While at the State House, we stood on the lawn and figured out the other clues. Thank God for iPhones. We seriously would have gone nowhere fast without them.
One clue required us to take a picture of a couple acting out this photograph:
The “couple” we chose were a father/daughter from NJ, who obliged after much begging, but we had to do them a favor first. We had to take their picture in front of the State House, very specifically, with no brick, but most of the building. With his big fancy camera. I let my pal B handle that one, I probably would have cut off their heads and they would have stormed off.
From there, we had a plan. Well, people who knew the city had a plan, I tagged along and periodically asked “now, where are we? what are we near? which way do we go?” My teammates also had CamelBaks, while I had one warm bottle of water. My only asset was my iPhone, I really brought nothing else to the table.
Providence is quite hilly. So hilly that I had to walk like I was riding a horse up the hills. Trust me, it works. We hiked up an extra hill to get bonus points on this one, and then wanted to die:
Our one real failure was phoning my brother for a clue answer. He neglected to note that Patrick Keely designed two churches in Providence, and sent us to the wrong one, clear across town from the correct one. We left a confused older man at the first one, looking for a memorial that wasn’t there. I hope he’s not still looking for it. (My brother’s free post race beer was revoked for this mishap, by the way. I don’t play around).
In addition to the picture-taking, we had to answer a few trivia questions, do a 3-legged race for some homeless people, and jump rope five times. Overall, we covered about 6 miles, and I’d say we ran almost as much as we walked. And we did not trip over any sidewalks or hoses while running, even if we almost tripped twice. (yes, by “we” I mean “I”. I told you I was not an asset to the team).
We sprinted in to the bar (beating the other team, of course) at around 2-1/2 hours. The judges checked our pictures, and we got some time bonuses, so our official time was around 2:05. I was pretty happy about that, considering I was afraid we wouldn’t make the 5 hour cut off. After the race, we had burgers and as much water as we could hold, plus a super late, super gross order of fried pickles. Not bad for race #50!
Next up: TBD. My training is all but non-existent, making the 10 and 13 mile races I had planned on impossible. There aren’t many races in July & August around here, but I’m hoping to get one in before September. My running bug is back, so I need to capitalize on it before I lose it again!