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Urban Adventure Race Adds Twist to to ArtPrize 2011

Adding breathless excitement to ArtPrize 2011, an urban adventure race is set for October 8.
Underwriting support from:

Race Details

When: Saturday, Oct. 8, 8:30 a.m.

Where: Founder's Brewing

How long: Four hours to complete the race, lunch is provided afterward.

What: Running, riding and navigating around ArtPrize

Why: Fun and team work. You get to make up a cool name for your team.

Cost: $130 per team

What you get: A tech shirt,  bag o' swag, lunch and sweaty. Maybe an award.

Sponsored by: Gun Lake Casino Celebration Cinema Kentwood Cycling & Fitness Ada Bike Delta Subaru The Grand Rapids Press and Founder's Brewing

Can't run or ride: Volunteer. Website has the scoop.

Bikers checking out the next stop on the July G.R.Urban Adventure Race

Bikers checking out the next stop on the July G.R.Urban Adventure Race /Courtesy of Downtown Alliance, by Terry Johnston

The start of the first G.R. Urban Adventure Race

The start of the first G.R. Urban Adventure Race /Courtesy of Downtown Alliance, by Terry Johnston

Victory or at least an enthusiatic finish

Victory or at least an enthusiatic finish /Courtesy of Downtown Alliance, by Terry Johnston

Now that it is in its third year, Grand Rapidians know there are many strategies to fully experience ArtPrize.

You can stroll around for a few whole days and take it in slowly, you can give it an hour or two every day for its duration, or you can hop on The Rapid and stop at the various venues. You can also take in some of it while riding a bike, running and using a map or clues to find your way around the art venues. Sound like your kind of ArtPrize experience? Mark VanTongeren race director hopes so.

The first  G.R.Urban Adventure Race was held in July and attracted 700 participants, about 55 percent of whom were women. October's cooler weather and ArtPrize are likely to bring even more participants to the October 8 event. "It is a two-person event, so everyone needs a teammate and basically you're running and biking all over Grand Rapids for four hours," said VanTongeren. "You'll be stopping at checkpoints during the race and winners are the team who get the most checkpoints completed in the least amount of time," he said. It does involve a lot of starting and stopping, so being a really great runner or a top biker isn't necessary. "You're always stopping to look at your map or punch your passport," he said. People need to be able to run and bike, but it isn't an all-out continouous bolt like a normal race.

Runners can expect to run 4-6 miles and bikers will go 14-18 miles, The running is in downtown, but biking goes further afield. "If people are intimidated by a road race or a triathlon, this event is a bit slower and more casual. People seem to like solving clues and navigating," he said.

There are bonus points for skill activities as well. Targeted egg launching was one challenge activity in the last race. So was climbing to the top JW Marriott parking garage to find a flag somewhere below. "People will face both mental and physical challenges. This year for sure we'll have people doing art challenges, looking in a gallery for something specific, perhaps," said VanTongeren.

Each team carries a passport and it is punched by either the participant or a volunteer at a station. The course has 40 checkpoint locations. Some are pre-marked on a map and others are clues. From the starting line at Founder's Brewing people can go off in any direction. "It's fun to watch how people spread out: sometimes people will see too many people heading in one direction and will head in another. It really doesn't matter," said VanTongeren.

Shannon and Ethan Cunningham (Team name The Sigsbees) participated in the first race in July and are planning on giving the ArtPrize version a go. "The event was well-organized, which is surprising for a first time event," said Shannon Cunningham. "I loved the fact that the event was truly spread all over the city." The Cunnnghams found the most challenging aspect of the race to be the unknown. "We went into the day not knowing what to expect. We were handed maps for both biking and running, but it was up to participants to plan their routes and make their way around the city," she said.

Teams can be single gender or co-ed and prizes are given in each division. "We see all kinds of teams, couples in their mid-60s to parents and kids," he said. Most of the participants are in the late 20 to mid-40 age range. The July race winners were a male team, second was a co-ed team. The first female duo placed 14th overall.

ArtPrize staff is helping race organizers with art-related challenges, clues and venues to make the race more of an authentic ArtPrize experience.

Part of the proceeds from the race will support WMCAT and Grand Rapids Whitewater.

Preregister here: . If you put in the code rapidian10 you'll save ten percent on your registration fee.


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I want to do this, but I don't have a bike!!! Hope I can find one before-hand, because this looks like a blast.

I keep a bike in at the Community Foundation. If you decide to race, it is yours to use. It is an old mountain bike so you can abuse it as you wish. I ride it up to The Rapidian from downtown sometimes!

Thanks Roberta, I may take you up on that....:)