In the last fifteen years or so, a new competition has swept across the country’s metropolises- not jaw dropping parkour or awe inspiring marathons, but the unlikely, unbelievably goofy urban iditarod. Less of a race than an afternoon-long, costumed bar crawl, the fun-filled take on the infamous dog sled race through Alaska invites teams to drag shopping cart “sleds” through the streets, stopping at bar “checkpoints” on the way to the finish line.
The first urban iditarod was held in San Francisco in 1994, and has since spread to 13 other cities, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles and Toronto. The lack of a governing body allows each city to make up its own rules and honors. Boston gives prizes to the first three finishers, Portland just gives a “Best in Show” award, some offer no prizes at all.
Based on this video from the Portland 2010 event, the urban iditarod is all about having fun- and getting dressed up. Participants come disguised as leprechauns, astronauts, basketball players, basketballs, pilots, referees and many more unidentifiable characters. The event may more often than not devolve into a boozy parade, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a whole lot of fun for the “sledders” and “dogs.”