Great Urban Race

I love The Amazing Race and since there is no way I will ever be able to take enough time off of work to be on the show, I do the next best thing- I participate in the Great Urban Race in Washington, DC.  The Great Urban Race is an urban scavenger hunt where teams participate in challenges and puzzles while discovering and racing in a city.    I’ve raced in 2009 (with a good friend) and 2010 (with my boyfriend/now husband) and unfortunately had to miss out on last year’s race because I was at a friend’s wedding.  If you enjoy scavenger hunts or exploring a city or just having a great time with a friend, register to participate in the Great Urban Race in Washington, DC on Saturday, May 12, 2012 or check and see when the Great Urban Race will be near you here.  Visit the Great Urban Race website for more information!

I’ve always done the race for fun and never to win, but I’ve always placed pretty well without sprinting the whole thing and here are some of my tips for success:

  • Make sure you and your partner both have a smart phone of some kind so that you can look up answers to clues and locate your next destination
  • Have a phone-a-friend.  Having a friend standing by at a computer who can help you look stuff help is a lot faster than typing on your touch screen smart phone.  My partner usually talks with our phone-a-friend to figure out clues while I search using my iPhone.
  • Figure out all the clues in the beginning so that you can formulate the quickest plan to complete all the challenges and map out where you need to go.
  • Use a large paper map.  Before each race, I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased an actual, old school map of DC so that I can plot the location of each challenge on the map so that I can see the big picture of where we are going and plan the quickest route.
  • Load up your metro card before the race so that you don’t need to spend time adding money to your card.
  • Drink plenty of water and wear comfortable and weather-appropriate clothes and shoes.
  • Try to run or power walk if you can’t run.  It is a race.
  • Be courteous to people in the city who are not participating in the race. One year, we had a challenge on the George Washington University campus where graduation was being held at the same time and there were graduates and their families taking pictures around campus and some GUR racers were practically running into the graduates and families, which I thought was very rude and unnecessary.  There are always so many tourists in DC and we don’t want their impression of the city to be based on rude GUR racers.
  • And most importantly, have fun with your team!

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