Urban Adventure… 12-Mile Course, Checkpoints In ‘CITYTRAIL’ Race

Rain fell on the city. But by the race start time, 7pm on a Thursday night, the April showers were clearing and the skies over Minneapolis were getting bright.

A pack of racers — 60 runners in all, each one geared up with maps and an iPhone in hand — waited for a shout of GO! from the race director, and then they took off. They sprinted to all compass points on the open urban course.

Runners in the mist… chill time before the race begins; photo: Paul Vincent

As a part of its CITYTRAIL race series, Salomon partnered with GearJunkie to host this unique running event.

Held last night, April 24th at the GearJunkie headquarters, the Salomon/GearJunkie CITYTRAIL Race offered a choose-your-own-adventure course around the city.

Participant studies map and race manifest; photo: Paul Vincent

Checkpoints, route planning, urban navigation, a Sudoku puzzle, and a kettlebell challenge were all a part of the fun. Racers had 90 minutes to complete what they could on the course.

They relied on Salomon’s just-launched CITYTRAIL app to discover hidden spots and check-in virtually via GPS.

In a nod to the Barkley Marathons, all checkpoints on the course also featured a hidden paperback book. Each racer had to find the checkpoint and tear their corresponding bib number page from the book.

CITYTRAIL app and race manifest/cluesheet (top); photos: Paul Vincent

Hash-tagged photos and social media posts shared live while running were awarded points. A yoga studio next door to GearJunkie HQ, Bikram’s Yoga Minneapolis, hosted a special kettlebell challenge where racers were put through a 5-minute physical wringer.

And they’re off! 12 miles of running and challenges ahead; photo: Paul Vincent

In the end, the top racers put down more than 12 urban miles of running. The winners — Kelly Brinkman and James Brand — nabbed 15 of the possible 16 points on the course.

They finished a couple minutes before 8:30pm accompanied by a crush of participants streaming in to make the mandatory race cutoff. (Multiple teams or individuals scored 14 points on the course; full results are coming soon.)

Thanks to all who came despite iffy weather in Minneapolis this week. Spring is slow to the city this year, but the night turned out to be optimal for running, with moderate temps and just a trace of drizzle.

Kelly Brinkman and James Brand speed in to the start/finish area; photo: Paul Vincent

The GearJunkie office floor was muddy and strewn with footprints as the awards ceremony started. But a bonfire was lit outside, and people gathered around to share battle stories from the event. Wood smoke drifted inside, the smell of summer and the outdoors in the heart of the city. —Stephen Regenold

—Beyond the GearJunkie race, Salomon will run another event on May 18th in Minneapolis, the CITYTRAIL Loppet. See all the details here on this second urban trail race.

Race results on Page 2 of this post.

James Brand gets a high five (and Salomon gear!) for taking first place in the men’s division; photo: Paul Vincent
GearJunkie headquarters on the Greenway Path in Minneapolis served as race start/finish area; photo: Paul Vincent
Running the Greenway Path; photo: Paul Vincent
Two racers complete a mental challenge; photo: Paul Vincent
Salomon shoes to demo on site; photo: Paul Vincent
Bikram’s Yoga Minneapolis hosted a special physical challenge; photo: Paul Vincent
Volunteers checked racers off after completing a challenge; photos: Paul Vincent
Social media and hash-tagged photos mandatory to garner all race points; photo: Paul Vincent
Hung paperback books served as one part of the check-in process; photo: Paul Vincent
Sneaking over a fence to get off the path; photo: Paul Vincent
Runners come in at sunset; photo: Paul Vincent
Finisher’s table, pages from the book-checkpoints; photo: Paul Vincent
Finisher inside GearJunkie HQ; photo: Paul Vincent
Inside GearJunkie HQ… the after party begins; photo: Paul Vincent

—Beyond the GearJunkie race, Salomon will run another event on May 18th in Minneapolis, the CITYTRAIL Loppet. See all the details here on this second urban trail race!)

Race results on Page 2 of this post…

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.