The Great Urban Race Report

My mentee and I did The Great Urban Race on Saturday. The challenges extended from Downtown Los Angeles to West Hollywood. The race started at noon with the Start and Finish line at Pershing Square Park in Downtown Los Angeles.

I wasn't as prepared as I had hoped to be. I had my new North Face Recon in truckee green with sunblock, water, snacks, a borrowed GPS, and an AAA guidebook. I had counted on the AAA guidebook including a map but unfortunately, it only had a small map that showed a small section of Downtown Los Angeles. We also didn't have a dedicated individual standing by to look stuff up for us over the phone.

A big part of The Great Urban Race is the team costumes. We saw 'Dirty' Runners, Lunch Ladies and Mormans, Roger E. Mosley and Magnum P.I, Where's Waldo?, and even toothfairies.

As soon as we were instructed to open our envelopes, we ripped it open and sat down in the shade. The clues were a lot harder than I had expected. I didn't realize how crucial Internet access was going to be.

One of the clues consisted of a tic tac toe board of challenges. We knocked these out right away:
  1. Picture with stranger wearing Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor shoes
  2. Picture with stranger wearing shirt and tie
  3. Picture of at least one teammate shaking a real dog's paw
We actually had to do 2 takes on the 'shaking a real dog's paw' because I freaked out the first time and the dog didn't want to cooperate after my breakdown. Note the terror on my face as I touched the dog.

The next clue we did took place at the lounge inside REDCAT. We had to watch a slideshow of books and then identify the author of each book by looking at bookshelves behind a glass case.

In the heat, we walked all the way up to Sunset Boulevard and hopped on a Metro bus to head to West Hollywood. Unfortunately, I had assumed we could purchase a day pass on the bus but that was not the case.

When we got off the bus in West Hollywood, we made a stop at a check cashing place to purchase TAP day passes. We also stopped to get some socks to donate to the Shelter Partnership for another one of our clues.

Our next stop was Calumet Photo for a GUR mug shot. Just down the street was the Frosted Cupcakery where we had to take a picture of both of us feeding the other a cupcake. From there, we went to the CROWN Bar to solve a murder mystery and get a ruby stone. Next was a physical challenge where we had to ride a butt scooter around the perimeter of a tennis court and jump rope 100 times.

Once we completed that clue, it was time for us to head down to Staples Center where we got our picture taken in front of the Nokia Plaza sign and then we quickly imitated Oscar De La Hoya's pose.

We considered trying to get to PAWS LA to fill the 5 pound bag with dog food or kitty litter but it was getting late.

We realized we had wasted too much time riding the bus out to West Hollywood. Taking the Metro would have been much more efficient. Now, we had less than an hour to complete 5 more clues. We both agreed to return to Pershing Square Park. We were both disappointed that we couldn't finish all the clues but we agreed we'd head back since we wanted to see the costume contest results.

Yes, it's true, the Operation Jump Starters DNF'd at The Great Urban Race. They gave us credit for donating the socks to the Shelter Partnership when we turned them in at the Finish Line so in the end, we were only short 2 clues.

The Finish was nothing like a running race. Most of the teams went through the arch from the back. I lost my mentee on the way because she got distracted by the food and drinks. They did have a giant clock with the official race time but it was all very informal - at least for those of us who crossed the 'Finish Line' after the 5 hour time limit.

The costume contest was very entertaining. My hands-down favorite was 'Tiger and Elin' and my second favorite was 'We didn't sleep with Tiger Woods' - 2 girls in normal clothing.

After the costume awards were given, the top 25 teams received medals. The winning team 'Now You Know' completed the challenge in 2:08. The announcer mentioned that this team had won last year but got disqualified. I have no idea how they managed to do all that in just over 2 hours. I also couldn't help but wonder why they got disqualified last year.


  1. That sounds like so much fun! Congrats!

  2. Wow, so much running around! It sounds like you had fun and you touched a pup! Go Mary!
    P.S. Don't worry, we have plenty of Rad races to run this year where we will pass right threw a real finish line :)

  3. looks like fun...you should check out CitySolve Urban Race. Cheers, Jason



Related Posts with Thumbnails