Mark Your Calendar: City Chase Comes to Philly This Weekend!

If you want to hang with your friends, see the city, boost your brain power, and torch calories without even realizing it, we have the event for you. On Saturday, July 31, the T-Mobile City Chase returns to Philadelphia for the third year in a row.  In what is touted as “the largest urban adventure race series in the world,” participants race around the city in teams of two in a quest to be the first to complete 10 of 25 challenges—some mental, some physical—and to win a spot in the City Chase National Championship.

Conquering the Chase requires a killer combo of speed, mental agility, guts, and the ability to make a game-plan without any advance information. “All the challenges are top secret until the day of the chase,” says Carina Holtby, the national event director for City Chase, and they can involve anything from a Fear Factor-like encounter with reptiles to brain teasers, memory tests, and bootcamp-style exercises, and will take racers from Fairmount Park to Old City and beyond. “We give people an experience they wouldn’t typically do on a Saturday,” says Holtby.

Though the day can involve a workout like no other — Holtby estimates that some teams can run the equivalent of a 5K throughout the day, in addition to the various physical challenges — a transit pass is provided to all participants, and you don’t need to run like Usain Bolt in order to win.

Those with a competitive side, take note: the use of smart phones is allowed to look up information and public transit routes, and some past participants have even used a “home team” to sit by a computer, ready to Google search and check for clues posted on Twitter.  Private cars or taxis, however, are strictly prohibited.

If you think you have what it takes to be Philadelphia’s City Chase champion — or if you’re just looking for a more creative way to fit in a weekend workout — registration is still open, and will remain open until 12 a.m on July 31 (the day of the event).  The cost is $175 for teams of two, and participants must be at least 18 years of age.  Holtby recommends that everyone racing should bring a good map of the city, a water bottle, comfortable running shoes, a costume (the day includes a costume contest, too!), and a good attitude.

The Chase will begin at 10 a.m at Dilworth Plaza (City Hall, 15th and Market), and if past success is any indication — the 2008 Philly champion team went on to win City Chase Nationals — the day is bound to be, well, an amazing race.

“Philadelphians are very competitive, in a fun-loving way,” Holtby said.  “People that live in Philly know Philly like the back of their hand.  And the after-party usually lasts quite a bit longer than in other cities, too!”

For more information or to sign up, check out the website.