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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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