The Great Urban Race: Coming to a City Near You

Logistics, Logistics, Logistics

Once teams get their clues and set their course, they head off for a day of race fun on foot, by bus, or subway answering clue after clue. One race rule is that the use of personal or private transportation, such as a car, taxi, bike, or inline skates is forbidden. The public transit portion really adds an interesting element to the race.

Teams can save a lot of time if they play it smart and map out their day according to public transportation. But some cities are easier to navigate than others. Austin, Texas, for example, has buses, but no subway system, notes Reynolds. So that changes the game a bit.

Teams have until 5 p.m. to finish the race; most teams finish in an average of three hours, he says. Each race concludes with an awards ceremony and party at a local restaurant or bar.

Race cities for the 2008 Great Urban Race include:

2/2/2008 - Tampa Bay
2/9/2008 - Phoenix
3/8/2008 - Los Angeles
3/29/2008 – Atlanta
4/5/2008 – Dallas
4/19/2008 – Cincinnati
5/3/2008 – San Francisco
5/17/2008 – Philadelphia
5/31/2008 – Boston
6/7/2008 – Seattle
6/21/2008 – New York City
6/28/2008 – Madison, WI
7/26/2008 – Denver
8/2/2008 – Washington, D.C.
9/6/2008 – Chicago
9/13/2008 – Portland
9/27/2008 – Twin Cities
10/5/2008 – Austin
10/18/2008 – San Diego
11/18/2008 – National Championship in Las Vegas

Vegas, Baby!

Race prizes for local races will definitely have some teams scrambling to be first or second across the finish line. First place winners of each of the 19 local races receive $300, and 2nd place finishers garner $150.

The top three teams from every local race will receive free entry into the National Championship race in Las Vegas. Additionally, teams finishing in 4th through 25th place are qualified to compete in the National Championship as well. First place winners in the Family Division receive a gift card, as do teams awarded "Best Uniform" and "Best Overall Photos."

The 2008 Great Urban Race season will conclude with the Championship on November 8th in Las Vegas. The National Championship preliminary race begins at 7:00 a.m., and follows the same rules and format as local races, but with an added degree of difficulty. The top eight teams to finish the preliminary race, or "the Elite Eight," will compete later that day, at 1:00 pm, for the whole enchilada--a $10,000 grand prize.

A Three (to Five) Hour Tour

The Great Urban Race isn't just for local travel agents and history buffs. You don't even need to be familiar with the city that you're competing in to do well on race day.

"If you think fast, try hard, and run fast, you could easily win this race," says Reynolds.

This was exactly the case last year when a Chicago participant flew to Boston and teamed up with a friend from New York City. The two finished the Boston race in first place.
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