What do you get when you cross a shopping cart with a costume contest with a pub crawl with an epic race, all while raising food for charity? An urban iditarod of epic proportions.
The 4th annual Boston Urban Iditarod will once again be tearing up the streets of Boston while collecting food for the Boston Medical Center Food Pantry on March 1. Teams will decorate shopping carts to adhere to their theme, fill them with food, and race from bar to bar to complete challenges all for the purpose of benefitting the community.
Tim Jones, who founded the race with Kevin Doran, said this race is the only one of its kind in Boston. He said that after racing and participating in scavenger hunts and silly races around the city, he and Doran decided they wanted something with a little more excitement.
“It’s great in Boston because it’s not like anything that’s here,” Jones said. “Boston has a lot of bar crawls and 5ks, but nothing that really pushes participants to get out of their comfort zone in such a great way with other people being just as crazy and wacky as they are.”
Jones and Doran soon discovered they weren’t the only ones who craved a ridiculous race. Since the race’s inauguration in 2010, the number of participants has grown to almost 600 racers with about 100 shopping carts being pushed throughout the city. This year, they expect even more.
Jones said that while the variety of the race’s components—dressing up in team costumes, decorating the carts, having an excuse to visit multiple bars early in the afternoon, the race aspect—is a huge draw to participants, the best part is that it benefits a local charity. He said that many people participate in this race not just because it’s fun to get crazy, but because it’s also fun to do it in a way that benefits someone else.
“The shopping cart and food drive really go together in our mind. You’re literally pushing a shopping cart that brings food,” Jones said. “It’s perfect and it really resonates with our attendees. We think we got about 3000 1bs. of food last year for the food pantry.”
The race starts and finishes at Lansdowne Pub in Boston. Jones said that this gives everyone an opportunity to see the other teams and check out their costumes and shopping carts and meet some of the other racers. He said that it’s great to see how different teams latch on to the differing aspects of the race, and it shows how the race is inclusive to all different types of people.
“It’s got a little bit of everything for everyone. We have teams like November Project that just come and race. They’re in it to win it, in terms of running,” Jones said. “Then we have other teams competing for our last place trophy. People have raced to be dead last, where teams are going down the street and there’s a stand off of who’s slower.”
Jones said that if people have loved the race in the past, they’re going to love it even more this year. He said that everything is tuned up to make this year the most dynamic year yet, and that people should get teams together and race for charity.
“If people are looking for something that’s one of the funniest things they’ll do all year, just look at the pictures and there will be no question that you should sign up,” Jones said. “We’ve been told by people who have done all types of events that this is literally the most fun they have at an event all year.”
The 4th annual Boston Urban Iditarod will take place on Saturday, March 1. For more information or to register, visit the event’s website.