This weekend I participated in ‘Urban Pursuit’. This was an event run by Easter Seals NL and took most of my Saturday. I partnered with my sister-in-law, the person with whom I did Drop one this summer. At the celebration party for Drop Zone (where we rappelled down a nine story building) I was told of Urban Pursuit. We decided to sign up and history was made – Team Acrophobia was ready to go.
But what is Urban Pursuit? Urban Pursuit is a race around the city (and surrounding areas) for 10,000$. Teams had to pay to sign up and then were encouraged to fundraise – every 100$ they raised gave them a 30 second time advantage. All money raised went to Easter Seals NL, a group that works hard to give kids with disabilities and their families opportunities and support. For a Divergent person like me – dauntless, erudite and abnegation – plus being a reality tv viewer, this was a great opportunity.
To begin Urban Pursuit, we had to show up at a local mall at 7am Saturday morning. All of the 22 teams were there, ready to run the race. A fast forward was awarded – a team that called themselves Barbie and Ken raised over 12,000$! We were given the first clue as well as our start time – dependent on fundraising. There were rules about speeding, rules about being kind to other teams, rules about leaving our phones in the car and then told to have fun and be safe. We left, ate breakfast in the car as we drove to our first site – the playground behind a town hall. Our team could begin at eight and we were super ready to go. Our first task was running around the woods, looking for hidden clues. Behind each clue was a scrambled word and a number. We had to find all six clues, retrieve all six words , get all six numbers and then return to the start to solve the phrase and add the numbers. We surprised our volunteer – we ran and ran and ran (at one point he was heard saying behind us ‘running…. why is there always the running…?). However, all our running meant little -we couldn’t find one of the clues and had to keep running while looking. When we finally found it, the team that started with us had been back at the start for a while trying to solve the puzzle. Luckily we were able to solve the phrase (Children with disabilities have dreams too) and added the numbers (122222) and we were off – huge comeback to finish our first leg.
Getting back in the car we had a mix of frustration and excitement – we’d done it, but we did mess up a little. We tried to focus on our comeback and went to the next task. And then the next, and the next. Ten tasks in total, each one spread around the city. We found ourselves throwing water balloons, each time saying a wish that it wouldn’t smash on our partner. We played Bocce while sitting, an awareness task to show us the amazing abilities of seated athletes. We identified celebrity mug shots and priced houses, ran with bottles of water to try to fill up a larger bottle and tried to get lucky, finding a key from a pile of 200 to fit our lock. And we climbed stairs. Oh did we climb stairs. We had to climb nine stories of stairs – each story 17 stairs – where each bottom and top stair was labeled with a number. We had to add every fourth number, giving the solution to the people at the bottom. It took us two tries, meaning we climbed EIGHTEEN sets of stairs. Quickly. Doing mental math. IT WAS HARD. My partner kicked butt at a tetris competition while I did pretty darn good at a lego challenge. It was awesome.
We didn’t win. But we came 14th out of 22, a result with which we were pleased. We know that if we had found the clue quicker in the first activity we could have been a contender for top ten. Maybe next year.
As yes, we plan to do it again next year. Urban Pursuit was never about the money – we knew we weren’t going to win. It was about testing limits, using our minds and our physical abilities to their full extent. We were challenged in so many ways – logic, physical ability (THOSE STAIRS!) and teamwork. We never fought, we tried to listen (yes, I fell down on that once) and we played a fair game. We communicated. We both tried to remember to say thank you to all the volunteers – just because we’re in a hurry doesn’t mean we can’t be polite! And we really tested ourselves.
I try to encourage my students to test themselves in as many ways as they can. Run for student office, go out for the musical, try out for the team. Read books, try to do your best academically and be ready to say yes when someone asks you to do something that means you have to stretch your comfort zone. I never thought I’d be running through the woods at eight on a Saturday morning – and I never plan to climb the stairs at Atlantic place again! – but I did it. And I plan to do it again!
If these types of activities are your thing, look up what charities local to you are doing. For this particular one, you have to be over eighteen. However, I’m sure that there are others that you can participate in, even before you turn eighteen. This one was great – I got to challenge myself and a charity got exposure and money. Really, look around and see what you can do, age and money wise. If you need to fundraise, the internet is a great place for that, and your English teacher might chip in some cash as well. Don’t be afraid to get out and do it – you’ll never know unless you try. Get involved, get out there and do it!