Since I haven’t been writing much on here about running as of late, I thought this might be a fun little thing to do. I don’t know about you, but I would like an increase in the amount of fun in my life right now.
My running club the New York Harriers has been finding creative ways to keep us runners on our toes, literally, since the beginning of this pandemic (that we are still, apparently, according to my notes, in).
The Harriers president, Margaret Aycock, came up with the idea: a running scavenger hunt for the summer, fall, and winter of 2020. (Technically, the winter hunt is in the late fall, but it’s just as cold as winter so we call it what we call it!)
Margaret, along with Harriers vice president Mirjam Lablans and coaches Scott Bartucca and Aaron Gaskins, came up with the clues. Each hunt lasts for about three weeks, giving runners ample opportunity to check off as many of the 25 clues as possible.
These are not items to collect but rather places to visit, food to eat, or things to do – the only rule being that you must be on a run of any duration and, if you’d like credit, provide photographic evidence that you were there.
Scott – who, by the way, is not only a superhuman runner but a topnotch baker – said of the hunt, “The whole point was to come up with a way to keep people (virtually) engaged with the team and each other, and to give everyone a little extra motivation to get out the door – to see places in the city they’ve never, or rarely, seen.”
I really like the variety of clues: some are specific locations, some are clues you have to figure out, and some are things you can find or do most anywhere. And I will never complain about being asked to consume holiday cookies and hot chocolate.
It’s also nicely representative of the city as a whole, featuring four NYC boroughs. (Sorry, Staten Island, but you’re far. Hope to see you next year on marathon morning, though.)
There are no monetary prizes for completing any of it, but club members are eligible for receiving awards at the end of the year if they complete a certain amount of each board. (I don’t need to get into too much detail about this but wanted to explain in case anyone out there thought this was an opportunity to discover buried treasure or become a millionaire.)
I completed only a couple of clues on the summer hunt before my left foot started being a little bitch, and I completely sat out the fall hunt.
But my feet feel better now, so… let’s do this, winter/technically late fall hunt!
What I’d like to try to do, if my feet will cooperate (please, feet) is use this little blog of mine to document each of my runs toward the completion of the New York Harriers winter scavenger hunt. Won’t that be fun?
As I am only running three days a week right now, this might take me the full three weeks. My aim is to check off all the clues, but let’s see what happens. No promises.
WINTER SCAVENGER HUNT RUN #1
- Clues: 2
- Miles: 3.02
- Time: 32:58
- Weather: 46º, overcast, windy
- Location: Upper Manhattan
CLUE 1: Ice skating rink
I decided to stay close to home for this first run. This meant visiting Lasker Rink on the north end of Central Park. My nephew used to take ice hockey lessons here. Today’s occupant was a sole Zamboni.
Next stop was going to be a donut, which meant a visit to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts (which I know is called Dunkin’ now but that still seems weird so just give me a few more years of saying Dunkin’ Donuts). Unfortunately, and of course, there was a line out the door, so I decided to get my donut from the bakery section of my local supermarket.
Before I got there, I realized another clue stood in the window of the CVS across the street.
CLUE 2: Holiday Decorations
Wouldn’t you know it, my supermarket was out of donuts. The donut shall wait.
About the mask I wear for my runs: my sewing expert aunt, who lives about a 15-minute walk from me, has been making me beautiful masks throughout the pandemic. She gave me the one I’m wearing in these photos, but it’s not homemade – it’s a cheap one she got for free from her building management. It’s not as pretty as the ones she makes, but I find the formless cotton is good for bunching up and creating a little pocket of space in which to breathe.
Anyway, that was it for my first winter scavenger hunt run. Two clues down, 23 to go. Next time, I’ll be venturing a bit farther than my immediate neighborhood.