October 31, 2012

Urban Dare Adventure Race

Urban Dare is the race where smarts can beat speed. It’s part trivia, part photo hunt, part mental and physical challenges, and all fun.  Think of it as a 1-day Amazing Race.”  That paragraph from the Urban Dare Web site sums it up but I will add that Urban Dare also is a great team event and it’s coming to a city near you!

My sister, Abbie, her daughter, Ciara, my friend, Kesha and I rose to the challenge this past weekend. We registered online for the DC race, so on Saturday morning we arrived at McFadden’s bar in downtown DC, signed our paperwork and changed into our new Urban Dare T-shirts.

By noon, 93 teams were pawing at the sidewalk ready to start.  A few teams made the extra effort to wear costumes, which added to the fun. At the appointed hour, the organizers herded everyone to a nearby park, reviewed the rules and passed out a sheet of 11 clues and 1 photo challenge. 

We immediately used our phone-a-friend option and called our pal Eithne who was at home with her laptop. Between Eithne’s computer and a couple of smart phones we solved all our clues in short order. Then, Kesha secured her place as MVP by pulling out a DC map.  We spent a few extra minutes charting a course to take us to each clue’s destination with the least amount of wasted effort and we were off! 

Bring back any Muppet-y memories?
One clue took us to a statue that “was filmed and subsequently used in the opening title sequence of Sesame Street during the show’s 20th season” (the huge sculpture of Albert Einstein on Constitution Ave.) where we secured a quick team photo.

Another clue took us to a park that “was originally the site of several natural springs. The government purchased the property and by 1832 had installed pipes to carry water to the White House.” This site turned out to be Franklin Square where we had to jump rope 5 times before continuing our journey.

All in all, we solved 11 clues, conned one very nice couple into re-enacting the famous WWII photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, completed several dares and covered more than 6 miles on foot (public transportation is allowed but no taxis or bikes).

We finished 3:17:59, which put us in 35th place. We were pleased to be in the top third-ish (especially because we had a few potty breaks and stopped at the Air and Space Museum for some freeze-dried ice cream) but were amazed to learn that the winning team completed the challenge in 1:18:45.

Urban Dare has 4 more cities scheduled for 2012 and 23 already on the list for 2013. To see when Urban Dare is coming to a city near you, check out their Web site.