The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'

…the Great Urban Race (Denver)


While the boy’s family was in town, his brother, Jason, registered the three of us to compete in the Great Urban Race (GUR). I have participated in this adventure race twice, a few years ago, both times with good friends. I love this race because it’s more than just running! It’s mapping, it’s strategy, it’s clues, it’s puzzles, it’s fun!


This is how it goes:
At noon, all teams receive their envelope of 12 clues. Teams must follow the clues around their city and complete 11 of the 12, in any order they choose, and then make it back to the finish. Each clue essentially leads you to a location in the city where one or all of your teammates needs to complete a task: mental or physical. You may only travel by foot or public transportation. No taxis, no cop cars.

The morning of the race, we headed to downtown Denver to check in, prep, and talk strategy. Because you have to. You can use your smart phone and even call a friend if you need extra help.

Our plan of attack:
Solve all the clues immediately and map out where the locations are. We would then choose the farthest location and complete each challenge on our way back.

The way it went:
The three of us spent about 15 minutes initially, just solving the clues, finding out the locations, and plotting them on our iPhones and a handheld map of the city (which we pilfered from a local hotel on our walk from the parking lot to the start area).

The challenges seemed to be clustered in groups of 3-4, each about a mile or mile and a half from the start. Essentially, it looked like a big circle on the map. So, we chose the group of challenges that seemed the farthest away and started running toward them.

I couldn’t possibly remember ALL of the challenges, but here are a few that we were required to photodoc or video:

At Little Man Ice Cream, one teammate (Jason) had to move an oreo from his forehead to his mouth without using his hands

We had to solve sports puzzles at Adrenalin

One teammate had to lay on a bed of nails (Jason) at West High School

We made a donation at the Ronald McDonald House

Other challenges included solving puzzles by sliding cans around on a table to create a certain picture, solving word puzzles at a candy shop, math problems involving cars, accupuncture, catching popcorn in your mouth, spraying/melting away a taped-on Alka-Seltzer on a teammates forehead…

It took us just over 3 hours to complete everything and we were so surprised when we were medaled at the finish and found out we were 6th place overall (out of 100)! Originally, it was 7th, but a team before us had a penalty and we were upgraded a spot.

The even awesomer part is that the top 25 teams qualify for Nationals in Las Vegas! It takes place the 2nd weekend in November.



4 thoughts on “…the Great Urban Race (Denver)

  1. This race sounds so fun! Congrats on qualifying to go to Vegas!!

  2. that race sounds like a lot of fun! congrats to you & the team for placing so well! i srsly HOPE YALL GO TO LV!!!!!

  3. I did a race like this around NYC a year ago- it was really fun, but the puzzles we had to figure out were crazy hard! Looks like a good time 🙂 Nice job on the 6th place finish!

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