Scavenging Around San Diego | Exciting Fun at The Great Urban Race

November 7, 2013

By Megan Gallagher | SanDiegoVille Contributor

Arriving at the Great Urban Race on Saturday morning, our team (Team SugarRush based on our candy-themed costumes), was full of anticipation and excitement about what was going to happen over the next few hours. Perhaps one of the greatest elements of the race is that you really don’t know what to expect going into it, so it is anybody’s game. We had researched clues and challenges given in previous races and eagerly wondered, “will we have to eat something strange?”, “will we have to solve a Sudoku puzzle?”, and “is there actual running involved?” The answer to all of those questions, as we found out throughout the afternoon, was yes.

The Great Urban Race kicked off with a bang at noon as all participating teams opened the clue sheet and the race clock started. Here were the rules: the 12 challenges could be completed in any order, only public transportation or travelling by foot were allowed (no bikes or cabs), teams were allowed to skip 1 challenge without being penalized, any other missed or incomplete challenges would result in docked points at the end of the race.

San Diego Great Urban Race Winners!
When the race began, we quickly solved the first clue – a word puzzle – which led us to the first destination – Basic Pizza on 10th Ave. We sprinted the half mile to the destination, took a photo in front of the business and moved on to solve clue number two. We later learned that our strategy was a rookie mistake, and one that surely made us get a better cardio workout than many other teams. You see, veteran teams worked smarter, not harder, by solving all of the clues on the clue sheet first, mapping out their addresses, and choosing a concise and logical path around town. With our strategy of going clue by clue, we quickly found ourselves bouncing around town and doing a lot of backtracking. Next year, things will be different.

The clues throughout the race took us everywhere from Seaport Village to Bub’s Dive to The Little Yoga Studio on Ash St. where we had to show off our best tree pose. Bystanders wondered what people dressed in crazy costumes – some teams dressed as Motley Crue, Super Mario Brothers, Superheroes, Thing 1 and Thing 2  - were doing running around town in a race against time. Many stopped to ask, and if I had a dollar for every time my teammate said “it’s like the Amazing Race but in one city,” I’d be rich.

Each of the clues varied in difficulty and required different skills, so the entire day really did require a team effort, and everyone on Team SugarRush did their part. Though teams who were new to the area weren’t at a total disadvantage, knowing a bit about San Diego certainly helped. For example, one clue read: “Head to this Local bar and get ready to complete a challenge brought to you by Bacardi Oakheart.” We immediately knew to head to The Local on 4th Ave., but others may not have been so lucky. Upon arrival at The Local, we completed a game of plinko and Instagrammed a photo of our team at the bar in order to complete the challenge.

Other challenges that we had to complete included guessing the flavor infusions of oil and vinegar at Seaport Oil and Vinegars, posing for a Michael Jordan jumpshot at Bub’s Dive, taking photos with various items at a Supermarket, and eating larva – luckily only one teammate had to complete that task. One of the most difficult challenges was done at The Old Spaghetti Factory, where our teammate had to get 6 pieces of uncooked penne onto one piece of uncooked spaghetti, only using his mouth (see video above. One of our most exciting challenges was at FeeLit San Diego where our teammate Lauren, showed off her Jenga moves (seen in the video on the left) and completed the challenge that took other teams several attempts, in just one try. That certainly shaved minutes off of our completion time.

Team Top Gun finished 2nd in San Diego's Great Urban Race
Overall, the event made for an exciting and challenging day in San Diego. Running around to our different destinations, we saw parts of the city that we never knew existed and made a mental checklist of at least a dozen new spots we need to check out. It was also a fun and unique team activity that put each of us to the test. More importantly, it was a great fundraiser for St. Jude’s. Participating teams helped contribute to the $14,271.39 that The Great Urban Race has raised so far this year.  And, as all of the teams completed challenges across the city, we raised awareness for the cause by explaining exactly what we were participating in.

Team Sugar Rush finished the race in about 3 hours, and the last teams made it back to the finish line at Whiskey Girl within 5 hours, and enjoyed complimentary Bacardi Oakheart drinks. At 5pm, team Carpe Bearum (pictured above) was announced as the first place winner and took home a $300 prize. Team Top Gun took home $200 as second place winners and Team Whales Vagina came in third, winning a $100 prize.

Here’s to next year, when we’ll be sure to make use of Google Maps, and hopefully take home a prize.