Recently I had an opportunity to participate in my very first urban dash experience. I’ve never even considered participating in one before, not for any reason other than it’s just never crossed my mind. However, when Athleta promises a $100 gift card to each of the winning team members, you know I have to form a team and sign up!
I’ll cut to the chase and tell you we didn’t win. We weren’t even in the BALLPARK of winning! But we had the most fun I’ve ever had running all over Northwest Portland, and we got to check out all kinds of cool fitness hot spots in the process: Yo Yo Yogi, Revocycle, Greenleaf Juicing, Aleda Fitness, The Bar Method, Studio Blue, Upper Echelon, Barre3, and Burn Cycle, and certainly not in that order!
Check in time at Athleta was anytime before 11AM, we arrived downtown, parked and grabbed a cup of coffee before checking in at Athleta at 10:45 where my best running friend and I did some pre-dash browsing.
We got our clue envelope with instructions not to open until the word GO! It was like being given a Christmas present a week before the holiday and asked to hold onto it the WHOLE TIME! I so desperately wanted to tear into that envelope!
Our other team members arrived, we all wore some pretty sexy pink and black socks, and waited for our instructions. Almost immediately we realized we were outmatched by several experienced teams who had laminated (yes, LAMINATED!) maps of the area.
While the eventual winning team looked up all the clues and plotted their path (note to self: next year find those people, follow them everywhere, then beat them on the sprint to the finish!) we just took off running from place to place.
We all had smart phones, which apparently weren’t smart enough, but it was a heck of a lot of fun anyway. We each looked up a fitness spot and figured out which was closest to us and took off running.
I wish, desperately, that I had worn my Garmin to track our mileage. I estimate we covered anywhere between 3-5 miles on a mostly sunny, but cold, Sunday Portland morning.
Each hot spot had specific instructions on what we were supposed to do, and we had to take photographic evidence at each location. I’ve included a few of our better photos so you can see the variety, my personal favorite being the Ginger Shot at Greenleaf Juicing. The look on my friend Brandi’s face kind of says it all!
Rachel Consolo, Athleta’s amazing assistant store manager, estimated about 89 participants for this first year event. She indicated they will host this FREE event again next year, though they are toying with a different date.
I really love that this event was FREE, team oriented, and showcased many really cool fitness options in NWPDX. Kudos to Rachel and her team for a well-organized and incredibly fun event. Back at the store, us non-winners were still treated to goodies and a SWAG bag FILLED with free classes and such from all the participating businesses. SCORE!
One final note, this event was not exclusive to women either, there were plenty of men out there (though I bet I know who the gift cards would have gone to!). I am really looking forward to doing this event next year too!