Springtime in Chicago… it’s a beautiful thing. People cast off their coats and hats and start running around in shorts and flip-flops the minute the temperature moves above freezing.
And since 2007, the first Saturday in March is what I consider the official start to spring. That’s the day that 100s of costumed fools form teams, decorate shopping carts, and run through the streets of the near northwest side of Chicago for the most awesome party/pub crawl/costume party/food drive of the year: The Chiditarod (http://chiditarod.org).
This will be the 6th year it’s been in existence in Chicago… and the 5th year I will have participated. It all started one night in 2007, when I got a call from my friend asking me to join his friend’s team (they were confused and thought someone had to ride IN the cart and I was the smallest person they thought would be game). That’s back when walk-up registration still existed.
In 2008, I wanted to start a team, but couldn’t find enough people. Again, I got a call the night before when someone had to drop out of my friend’s team.
The next year, I finally scrounged up enough people to form my own team. Because we’re highly topical and up-to-date people, we went with a political theme:
It rained that entire race. And I had a wicked bad cold and was on a ton of cold medicine. Let’s just say that corralling 4 inebriated teammates in the pouring rain is NOT something you want to do when sick and completely sober…
2009 brought the best weather EVER! I was team captain again (which essentially just means I’m the one who registers us). Due to people’s jobs and the end of a relationship, we had to make two substitutions and that’s the year we came up with the perfect team: all women with adolescent humor who don’t believe this race is made for running. Awesome.
I’ll admit, when one of my teammates said, “Let’s do Strange Brew”, I was secretly thinking “NO one is going to know what we are!”. But boy howdy, I couldn’t walk through that crowd with people calling me a Hoser and high-fiving me. 🙂 Apparently that movie is a hipster staple that I’d been missing out on. And to be honest, a theme that is primarily about warm clothing, beer and donuts is really a can’t-lose idea.
This year, we’re trying to top ourselves… and I think Go Go Gadget-arod might just do it. No the cart hasn’t been built yet, but here’s a sneak peak at our extremely official plans:
If you live in or near Chicago, you MUST at least come watch the start of this fantastic race. There are over 100 teams registered, which means 500 people in hilarious costumes racing through the streets. AND, the most important part of all: we’re all raising food and money for the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation. Each team is required to cross the finish line with 42 lbs of non-perishable food. Organizers have set up a way for us to create fundraising pages as well, if we so choose (my team chose… it’s here if you’re interested: http://www.giveforward.com/gogogadgetarod2011).
This is a video of last year’s start (my team goes by at about 0:40):
If that doesn’t make you want to come check this out, I don’t know what will.