Last night, during a short break in the rain, two of my running buddies, Dustin and I participated in a #CITYTRAIL Race.
This “choose-your-own-adventure” type race was sponsored by Salomon and Gear Junkie. It was also an opportunity to test a new app by Salomon called “CITYTRAIL”- you can download it for free for your iPhone or Android.
This race was 90 minutes long, and it included 9 different “checkpoints” at different landmarks around Minneapolis. The phone app included the map of the checkpoints, but you were on your own to decide how to get to each point. There was a hard deadline of 90 minutes to hit as many checkpoints as you could. For every minute after 90 minutes that you returned to the starting line, you would lose a point. Therefore, we had to choose carefully before heading out to determine our route to hit the most checkpoints via the most efficient route!
Did I mention we got extra points for posting pictures with #CITYTRAIL to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook? You could also get extra points for answering a few trivia questions or by completing a “kettlebell” challenge; the event was definitely more than just running.
The actual running event started at 7 pm at the Gear Junkie headquarters on the Greenway. We were encouraged to arrive at 6 pm to try out Salomon gear, Suunto gear, and get a tutorial on the app that we would be using.
Before we started, we reviewed the map and the checkpoints and determined what we thought would be the shortest route to hit the highest number of checkpoints in the shortest amount of time.
When 7 pm rolled around, we were off! We started by heading through uptown to Lake Harriet to cross off the checkpoints in that area, and then made our way back towards Lake Calhoun and finally back to the headquarters. We arrived back at 8:29 pm. Just barely squeaked in!
|Grabbing one of the “books” at the checkpoint on the Lake Harriet lifeguard stand|
As we hit each checkpoint, our phone would “vibrate” to let us know that we had been “checked” into that point.
But just in case the app wasn’t working so well, there were books hidden at each checkpoint. You had to tear out the page that corresponded to your number (i.e. I was #76, so I had to tear out page 76 in each book)
We probably didn’t even need the books though, as the app worked just fine for us. In fact, on the quick sprint back to the headquarters, we passed a checkpoint we hadn’t even planned to hit, but our phones vibrated, so we quickly turned around to find the hidden book!
Throughout the run, the four of us stuck together, and treated it as more of a fun run. And fun it was! Searching for the checkpoints made it feel like an adventure and by the end we had completed 9 miles (with lots of stops at the checkpoints).
In the end there were some really impressive prizes awarded to the top 4 finishers, such that Dustin was definitely second-guessing his decision to stick with the ladies rather than run hard for a potential prize!
After the awards there was a raffle for other awesome prizes (Abby won a pint glass, but that was the only win in our group).
They also had beer and tacos from “Rusty Tacos” restaurant/food truck in St. Paul. It was such a fun event and totally FREE!
This event was held partially to promote the phone app, and partially to promote the City Trail Loppet that is happening May 18th. The City Trail Loppet is organized by the same group that organizes the Surly Trail Loppet (my friends Kelly and Abby did a guest post about that race HERE). This is the first year that the Loppet group is organizing this City Trail race. It will be different than the “scavenger” hunt type run that we did last night; there won’t be any checkpoints or “choose your own adventures” but instead, it will be more of an urban trail run via city streets, trails, railroad tracks, etc.
Register for the City Trail Loppet here: http://www.loppet.org/citytrail-loppet/
I am definitely considering this City Trail Loppet for a fun change of pace. It will only be a few short weeks after the Flying Pig Marathon, so I definitely won’t be running it hard…FUN run all the way!
As for the gear we tested last night, I didn’t really like the Salmon trail shoes that I tried out. They were a little stiff and heavy to me, and the top of the shoe actually dug into the top of my foot in a strange way. Although I am interested in purchasing a pair of trail shoes, I’ll have to keep looking for a better fit. It was still really nice to have an opportunity to try these ones without purchasing them first.
I believe Gear Junkie is going to organize similar types of “adventure runs” in the future, so if this is something you’re interested in, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get added to the newsletter and to stay up-to-date on all these adventure runs!
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