Duos test Minnesota knowledge in Minneapolis race

About 400 people turned out for the second annual Great Urban Race in Minnesota.

Great Urban Race

Matt Mead

Great Urban Race

Thing 1 and Thing 2 started with the first clue, translating a Pig Latin message that unveiled: âÄòthe greatest smelling museum ever created.âÄô They ran from PrestonâÄôs Urban Pub to the Mill City Museum where someone would have to take their picture proving they were there. The Things, University of Minnesota juniors Lindsay Prowizor and Maren Haas , were participating in the Great Urban Race , which came to Minneapolis on Saturday for its annual scavenger hunt race. Since 2007 the race has taken place in a variety of cities in the United States, giving teams a chance to explore a city by solving a series of clues. Most tasks were completed by solving a clue, finding the corresponding location and having someone take a photo. Other tasks were completed by having a Great Urban Race staff member give a team a stamp. Prowizor and Haas said the race was the first âÄúoutrageousâÄù thing they did this summer. There were a variety of tasks the Things completed: they posed by the Black Eyed Peas star at First Avenue , canoed in Lake Calhoun, got ten strangers to pose like a âÄòsuperstarâÄô in front of the Hard Rock Café and obtained a childrenâÄôs hard cover book to donate to the Minnesota Literacy Council . Prowizor and Haas donated Are You My Mother? by Dr. Seuss , the man that inspired their costumes. This is the second time the Great Urban Race has been in Minnesota, owner Joe Reynolds said. âÄúThe original inspiration was from the TV show the âÄòAmazing Race ,âÄôâÄù Reynolds said. âÄúWeâÄôre kind of a scaled back, local version of that.âÄù The 2009 race started in February and will visit 20 cities by October. New Orleans will host the championship race in November. Casey Dahl, 22, and Ryan Ritzer, 24 , competed in the Minnesota race last year and made it to the championship race in Las Vegas. âÄúIt was probably the most fun that IâÄôve had in a race ever,âÄù Dahl said. Last yearâÄôs Minnesota race had about 300 participants; SaturdayâÄôs race had about 400, Reynolds said. âÄúOur main goal for the Great Urban Race is to provide a fun day for people,âÄù he said. First place prize was $300, two $50 Columbia Sportswear Company gift cards and free entry into the national championship. Teams that placed first through 25th place qualified for the national championship. Dahl and Ritzer ranked 23rd. Prowizor and Haas ranked 25th and are undecided if they will be attending. Clue ideas for each race are written from Reynolds and his teamâÄôs Chicago office, using things like Google Earth , phone calls and emails to people in those cities. During the week of the race, one person from the company does a test run to make sure all the clues work. Participants could coordinate with friends and family for help with clues, using cell phones and have friends at home using Google for clue answers. Teams also had to be in matching outfits. SaturdayâÄôs race had a variety of team themes: from Thing 1 and Thing 2, to princesses, the made-up âÄúMinnesota LooniesâÄù and Wonder Women, who won for best costume. Prowizor and Haas said they want to do the race again next year. âÄúWe crazily ran around the city for two hours and had a lot of fun,âÄù Prowizor said. Haas agreed. âÄú[Our friends] should be jealous that they didnâÄôt do it,âÄù she said. Reynolds said while most people are from the cities in which the races take place, they are geared toward residents and non-residents alike. âÄúPeople who have lived in a certain city for their entire life write us and say âÄòwow, you really showed us all kinds of new things in our city we never knew existed,âÄôâÄù Reynolds said.