The Sassy Unicorns take on City Chase Canada: Toronto #1, 2011

Getting photo-bombed pre-Chase

Today my best friend and I (the one who dubbed me Chancy years ago) ran our 3rd City Chase competition in Toronto. We came in 14th – the 4th all-female team to cross the finish line. Actually, I hobbled, coughed and sputtered over the finish line, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Backstory: We ran our very first chase in June 2010 and came in 11th place! We were proud, damn proud. And immediately knew we were bitten by the “City Chase bug”. That was our first race, but we weren’t about to let it be our last. Our second chase in August 2010 landed us in 24th place; we blamed an injured leg (Sarah’s) and an illness (mine) on our “poor” finish.

Present: After 3 hours and 1 minute of running, holding tarantulas and eating dog food, we came in 16th place. Out of 499 teams in this city, we are 14th best. Not bad for a couple of 30-something women who haven’t exercised in months.

Fortunately, Lady Luck was on our side, because our team number was 1121 this year.  Sarah and I both believe that the number 11 has significance in our lives. Good things come to those who see 11, in other words. If it wasn’t for the slow TTC streetcars holding us up, we are certain we would’ve done even better. So we can blame the slow “rocket” and our shitastic cardio for not coming in Top 10 like we’d hoped.

Here’s a little description of some of the Chase Points we earned today.

Earn $50 (or more) for your first Chase Point. We raised $150 this time around for Right to Play, which goes to children in Malawi. Right to Play is a fantastic organization and it was relatively easy to raise the money. Using Facebook as a means of reaching out to family & friends was the key to success for us.

Blind taste test: I was blind-folded and had to guess if Sarah was feeding me dog food or human food. She fed me both. Yuck!

Creepy crawlies: After sticking my hand into a bucket full of mice and pulling out a blue pebble, Sarah had to stick her hand in a blue box and hold the contents — a tarantula! Check her out, all zen-like and smiling while that creature crawls all over her! Gah!

A brave soul

Guess the flavors or eat a cricket: hop over to the local ice cream parlour and guess the flavors of ice cream you’re sampling! Wrong answer? Too bad! Your partner now has to eat a cricket! Fortunately for me, the crickets had already been eaten and a lucky few escaped. This mean I had to instead consume a dog biscuit. I got my nutrition in the form of dog food this Chase, that’s for sure.

Make like Demi & Patrick: in the movie “Ghost” they shared a pretty sexy scene with clay. In Toronto’s City Chase, we had a pretty sweaty (and very non-sexy) challenge with clay. We worked together like a well-oiled pottery machine and were done with that challenge in no time.

These stilts are made for walking: we paired up with another team to pretend we were all “slalom-skiing” on a wooden board. Four people, two planks, hard stuff. From there, we tried our hands (or feet?) at walking on stilts. Sarah did pretty well, but I thank my years of playing on a pogo stick in my childhood for mastering this task very quickly and moving right along.

The day went by so quickly that I can’t even remember the other challenges at press time. But you get the idea. Adventure, smiles, getting you out of your comfort zone — that’s what City Chase is all about.

I didn't feel nearly as stupid as I looked

Hints for newbie Chasers:

  • Sometimes they repeat challenges, sometimes locations are repeated. We are learning this after having participated in 3 Chases. But more important than the challenges is your strategy. If you don’t have a strategy planned, get one if you want to place well.
  • Don’t panic when given your clue sheet – take the time to figure out which clues you want to (or can) decipher
  • “Phone a Friend” – an idea taken straight from “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” is so very important. Fortunately for us, Sarah’s girlfriend is a master Googler and was our 3rd team member, essentially.  Thanks, Sarah! 
  • Map out where you’re going to go and in which order — it is imperative to success.
  • Either run like hell or cross your fingers that the TTC is going to be reliable for once. We know for certain we would’ve done better if we’d been in better shape. We would’ve opted to run a lot more and skip waiting for streetcars and subways (yes, even for long distances) – we figured that we wasted about 25 + minutes just waiting for public transit. We were only 31 minutes behind the winning team…if we hadn’t waited for the TTC, we would’ve guaranteed a better finish time.
  • HAVE FUN! Most of the fun comes from seeing your partner eat dog food, make a silly face while dancing & singing Pokerface, talking to other Chasers and of course, holding your partner’s hand as you cross the finish line. Or, if you’re me, eating his/her dust as you cough & sputter. Whichever!

City Chase is incredible and I tell everyone I know about how wonderful it is. It wouldn’t be quite as wonderful if I didn’t have my favorite person in the world running along next to me, slugging down protein gel packs as we move from station to station. Will The Sassy Unicorns return to City Chase again? You bet! And you should participate, too!

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