This past weekend, I abandoned my other two “Chicks” and teamed up with my partner to form Those2Chicks and participate in City Chase. As you know, I love to run. I’m also a huge fan of The Amazing Race, so when I heard about City Chase, I couldn’t pass it up.
City Chase is a Canadian created adventure race event that takes part around the world. Toronto hosts two City Chase events per year, one in June and one in August, attracting 400 – 600 teams per event. It’s probably best described as an urban Amazing Race. The premise is simple: you’re given clues to figure out the location of over 35 chase points around the city. You then map out your own route around the city using only city transit or your own foot power to get from point to point. Some chase points are mandatory and others are optional, but you must complete a minimum of 10 chase points within 6 hours. At each chase point, your team must complete a task in order to be credited for that chase point. Some are physical challenges, like the military boot camp at the Columbia sponsored chase point. Some are emotional/mental challenges like eating live millet worms (thanks to my team-mate for taking on this task) or having a tarantula crawl on you (I conquered a huge fear in completing this task). And others are just plain fun like singing karaoke while dressed up in 70’s garb.
One of the great things about the event is the people it attracts. You’d think that you’d see a lot of very young, very fit people. What I saw were people of all ages (over 18), shapes and sizes. While being fit is an advantage (we covered 24km around the city, over half of that on foot), there are many other things that are a great help or even a necessity in this event: the ability to figure out clues; knowing the city and its history; having problem-solving skills; and having a good sense of direction. Having a good sense of humour
is also key, not to mention being a good team player.
And play is at the heart of this event. City Chase has partnered, as a fundraiser, with Right To Play, an international organization whose mission is “ To improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace.” City Chase turns a city into a virtual playground for adults, so in my opinion the partnership with Right To Play is a perfect fit.
I loved the spirit of the event. There were teams helping other teams with clues and tips and directions to various chase points. My partner and I teamed up with some gals and
texted updates to each other about various challenges, lineups and locations. My partner and I, knowing Toronto very well, often found ourselves helping other racers with less
knowledge of the city by either guiding them to chase points or helping them with locations when we knew they were headed the wrong way. Others helped us with tips as well. Even a TTC driver gave us a tip that he’d learned from other racers and wished us luck. All of us complete strangers, helping other strangers. It felt great!
Would I participate in City Chase again? Absolutely! In fact, I’ve already talked to a few friends and family members about entering teams next year. There are so many ways to participate: by acting as a volunteer; cheering on your family and friends; being that friend on the other end of the phone helping solve clues (Nancy, your ability to solve jumbles is incredible); or enter a team. It’s a great opportunity to lose those inhibitions and remember how fun it is to just play. Your inner child will thank you.