When we checked in we all received an even number race bib. This was a critical piece of the race! We received our bib inside a Ziploc bag which also contained a list of 10 clues. The fastest to cover the ground between all 10 clues would be the winner. One clue included a 5 minute time bonus and was optional but had to be done to receive the bonus.
Most of the crowd took off in one of two directions from the square heading to some of the easier clues. There was Bogle Park and The Hare which seemed to be the two popular ones. The Hare is a sculpture on the paved trail to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It is actually just one half of the sculpture...The Tortoise and The Hare. There was quite a backlog at the stop as people searched for their page number within the book there. Remember how we all had even number bibs? That allowed us to tear out our page from a book so we could confirm we had been at the stop.
The complete list of a Mystery Locations was the list of clues below. We were given boundaries for the search area so that we knew at most how far a place could be. The boundaries included three trail systems...the Slaughter Pen single track trails, Crystal Bridges art trails, and the city's paved multi-use trail. We also had other resources like cell phones and people we might encounter which we had to use a couple of times.
The Place Where They Cry
Angus Chute 10
Base of the Bush Push
Safety Point 16
Park Springs Spring
Safety Point 14
The hardest places to find were the 5 Rock and Angus Chute 10. The 5 Rock is one of the numbered rock sculptures along the Crystal Bridges art trails. There is just a small problem...they aren't placed in numeric order. We finally ran to the front of the museum and asked the shuttle driver where the rock was and he pointed us in the right direction. There was no one searching for this particular clue so we felt like even though it took us a while to find it we were ahead in the long run.
|Rock 5 and getting our sheets out.|
The other challenging location was Angus Chute 10. We knew that this was a checkpoint on one of the trails called Angus Chute. We just couldn't figure out the best way to get to that point on the trail so we got some extra trail time in and we even bushwhacked our own path to connect to the Angus Chute trail from the Urban Trail.
|Finally found it!|
|Running the single track|
The Safety Points were two safety entrances to the Slaughter Pen trail system...both of which were well hidden by the spring foliage Also on the trail system was the Base of the Bush Push. This is a notorious hill that was ridden by former President George W. Bush when he visited the area and rode mountain bikes along the trails. The Slaughter Pen trail system is something that we are so lucky to have just a short 1 1/2 miles from the town square.
Off the trails, there were a couple clue spots including the local Track where the book was hidden near the PortaPotty. Park Springs Park is a park near the track and Bogle Park is about 3/4 mile away closer to the downtown square.
One clue that could have gone two different ways was The Place Where They Cry. The options were either the Crystal Bridges Hill or the local Cemetery. Both were within the boundaries of the race course. We were closest to the Crystal Bridges hill after doing our jaunt through the art trails so we went ahead and checked that location and sure enough that's where it was at! The book was on the other side of a small creek so we nominated one of our crew to get all of our pages!
|Rock 5 helped us out for a group self portrait.|
Our race crew was Mandy, Jody, Mark and Pauline, and me. We stuck together pretty well through the first half of the race. We split up around the half way mark so that a couple could walk out some leg cramps thinking that by the time they walked to the next clue we would catch up to them. We did not estimate how long it would take us to find Angus Chute 10! We regrouped at the last clue and ran it in to finish together.
Joining me on the run was my dog Sidney...I was expecting to run about 4 miles which is the perfect distance for Sidney. Surprisingly we went over 7 1/2 miles for the night. It was Sidney's longest run ever and she was a total champ. I took some walk breaks with her over the last mile. The race was a lot like doing intervals. We would race to get to a clue spot and then have a little time to breathe while getting our pages torn out and figuring out where to head to next. Sidney won the dog division...she was the only dog tough enough to enter!
Overall, it was a fun race event. It was similar to the Hash House Harrier runs that I did when I lived in DC. It's not really a race but rather a scavenger hunt for grown-ups! We came in within the top 25 and our mileage was right in the middle. The shortest distance was somewhere around 5 1/2 miles and the longest distance people traveled was over 13 miles.