Today was The Great Milwaukee Race in downtown Milwaukee. This is a unique race, more of an urban challenge which took us all through the main downtown area of Milwaukee. We were required to find 11 different spots via clues and then complete a challenge at that spot before going on to the next challenge spot. All in all, this was a very fun race and challenge and I know they will do it again.
My team consisted of my friends Mike and Paul who run with me often. We were the green team but then again, so were about 15 other teams. There were a total of 60 teams participating with teams of between 2 to 4 people. Before the race began, the race director went over the rules and then we got our packets of clues and off we went. They supplied us with map of downtown (I already had one), a card to get stamped after each challenge, clues, and a Bonus Clues sheet where we could find certain things to have time "taken off" our final time. The map I brought was more detailed than the one supplied which ended up helping us a lot.
We read the clues and knew 9 of them and marked them on the map before we took off. We wanted to try to run the shortest possible distance while getting to all the spots. We ended up starting off in a direction most teams did not go. Only a yellow team was close to us and they were close to us most of the race. We were on the phone asking for help on the clues we did not know (this was OK by rule) and marked them off on the map.
The first challenge was at a park where we did a small word search. The remaining letters we did not use spelled out a clue for bonus time off (get any city bus schedule). We left and went to our next spot and also found a bus schedule. We ended up being the first team to this spot which was at MacAurther Square near the courthouse. Mike did this challenge which required him to run up and down some steps 10 times. Then we were off to the to the Wisconsin Walk of Fame right outside the US Cellular Arena. There we had to find the plaque for the famous coach from Wisconsin with one of the most prestigious NCAA career as a coach. Of course this was Al McGuire. Mike found it before Paul and I did and the off to Pere Marquette park where Paul and I did a 3 legged race.
Off to AJ Bombers bar for a quick picture in front for some bonus time and then to the River Walk to find the Red Phone Booth were a clue was hidden inside. We relayed the clue to the judge and then we made the first mistake of the race. I decided to try to go to the fire station we needed to find and we ran 3 block in that direction (finding a food vendor cart for another time bonus) but realized it was too far in the wrong direction so we back tracked to Cathedral Square for our next challenge. Paul did this one where he had to to a sack race around a few parts of the park before we could go on. We ran to Juneau Park next where we had our first 2 small injuries. Paul and I did a "wheel barrow" race. I carried Paul's legs first and the half way we switched for a bit and then switched back. As I was leaning over to pick up Paul's legs, he kicked one leg up right into my chest really hard. Almost knocked the wind out of me and hurt like hell for a bit. Also, Paul's back was hurting after this challenge.
We headed off to Veterans Park. It wasn't too far there but you had to go down a steep hill. We decided to take a short cut through some trees down the hill but since it rained last night and yesterday, it was muddy and slippery as I found out as I fell and tumbled through the brush and trees. We made it down and did the next challenge which was finding the Medal of Honor recipients at the Veterans Memorial. We then hoofed it to the bridged to Lake Shore Park where we had to count the spokes on the bridge. Mike counted one section, then counted how many sections and we did the math.
Here is where we made the second and biggest error. This spot was on the lake east of the Summerfest grounds. Instead of running through the park to the next challenge which was located just north of the Marcus Amphitheater, we ran completely around the Summerfest Grounds adding (we think) about 5 minutes. this added about 0.6 miles to our route. the good thing is we found some people to make us a 6 person pyramid to get us more bonus time. At this spot, we had to throw bean bags into wood holes before going to out last spot, the Fire Station which ended up being right on our way to the finish. Here all we had to do was guess how many pieces of bubble gum in a jar. We didn't know that this could have given us more bonus time, we guessed too high.
The race ended at the Milwaukee Ale House where once we arrived, we had to find 30 different 3+ letter words with in "The Great Milwaukee Race". After we turned that is and showed pictures of all our bonus items, we were done. Tired, but done. There were already some teams there before we arrived which surprised Mike a lot. He thought we kicked butt. All in all, we ran a little over 8 miles to complete all challenges and get to the finish line.
We drank some beer and had some food while we waiting for the results. The top 5 teams received prizes and turns out we ended in 5th place! We were awarded some gift certificates for AJ Bombers Pub (hey, I know where that is). It took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes to do the entire race so with the bonus time taken off, we did really good. Mike and Paul had a really good time (except Paul and his back). this was a very unique and really fun race. I would love to do it again and next year I will either run or or volunteer for it.
Paul took some pictures of the bonus clues we needed to find so I will post a few of those when he shares them with me.
I know most of you who do not live near Milwaukee won't know any of these places I said we went to. Just imagine your closest city and running through the downtown area looking for statues, parks and monuments. I just hope I am not too sore tomorrow morning.