On Saturday, I was able to experience a little bit of the thrill of the Amazing Race, albeit on a much smaller scale. My friend and I competed in my city's version of The Amazing Race, which was put on by High Trek Adventure. Billed as "the ultimate urban adventure race," it was part scavenger hunt, part trivia contest, and part race. The hubs paid our entry fee for my birthday gift this year.
The race started at a local bar. A quick survey of the competition revealed that there was no typical racer. There were buff 20-somethings (some of whom we totally smoked!). There were 40-year-old marathon runners. There were a few families. I'd say 90% of the racers were in shape, which can only help you compete, but it certainly wasn't a prerequisite. However, some racers actually showed up in jeans. Um, what?
The founder of the company, a native of my hometown, stood on a chair and held up a huge sheet of paper with the first question on it. As soon as he did so, all the teams sprinted to the destination that corresponded to the answer they chose.
My friend and I chose correctly, and ended up in a nearby coffee shop. Our clue packet was waiting for us there. Once we tore it open and scanned through the clues, we commandeered the laptops belonging to a group of hipster college students, and began trying to figure out the clues and the addresses that corresponded to the places (or "TrekPoints") we needed to visit. A lot of other teams whipped out their Internet-capable phones and began searching that way. At each TrekPoint, we had to take a photo of our team in front of whatever it was we were looking for.
For example, in the photo above, the clue read, "This one-word TrekPoint's name is a hip section in Manhattan. You'll find this location in the hip section of the High Falls District." The answer was the coffee shop called Tribecca.
We solved anagrams and crossword puzzles that corresponded to landmarks, restaurants, and statues. We matched song lyrics to a band that was also the name of a bar. We matched clues to establishments all over the city. We chose a "Detour" that required us to take a photo of our team with seven people on any bridge that crossed over the river that runs through the city (not an easy task on a Saturday afternoon when our downtown is deader than dead. But we lucked out and found a family of eight (with one on the way!) who graciously agreed to let us photograph ourselves with them.We finished 12th out of 43 teams with a time of 1 hour, 45 minutes. The winning team ran it in 1:17. Not bad for first-time racers (the top three finishers were teams who had ran the race before), and a team where only one of us is a runner (me). My friend has bad knees and fought through the pain so were able to run a lot of the race (about 5.6 miles), which we didn't anticipate we would be able to do. I am so proud of you, Jenny!
If this race comes to your city, I would highly recommend you do it! You don't have to be a runner (although it certainly helps).
I had a fantastic time. I had five blissful hours away from my children (my mom, my dad, and my grandma assembled a 3 on 3 childcare team at my house). It was a gorgeous day outside, perfect for running. I managed to avoid lactating all over my team shirt during the race, and for the first time in quite awhile, I felt young and alive.
Can I race again tomorrow?