Ottawa’s first COVID-19 case was reported on March 11, 2020 and by the end of March Ottawa was in lock down. Many of us were training for spring marathons which were being cancelled, one by one. In the span of a few weeks we went from running and traveling together, to running completely alone. With no races to train for, and no one to run with, we were at a bit of a loss. Race and event organizers had a problem too. You can’t hold a race with no participants.
Costal Mountain Trail Running in BC came up with a great idea. The CMTR Summer Scavenger Hunt. A series of 30 challenges to complete while running or walking. You had all summer to complete them in any order. The only rule was that you could only complete one challenge a day. Once a challenge had been completed you entered it online. Each completed challenge released a virtual badge and five of them also revealed a secret challenge. Posting pictures online was also encouraged.
Some of the challenges were pretty simple others required planning. Here are a few highlights.
Picking up trash while on a run/walk earned you the “Trash Talk” badge, Running or walking on a new street or trail earned you the “New Street” and “New Trail” Badges.
We were all a bit concerned about “2000 Stairs” as it required us to run/walk up at least 2000 stairs. The stairs to the Ottawa River behind the parliament buildings turned out to be ideal. There are 286 steps and they are shallow with several landings so you can catch your breath. There is a great view and it was not as hard as we thought it would be.
Running/ walking through midnight. We did this one in a together apart kind of way as most of the women in the group were not comfortable running alone at midnight. My husband Harold was a bit surprised when I left to go for a run at 11:00 pm. There were also challenges to run at sunrise and sunset. These would be much easier in the winter!
One of my favorites was “Flower Power” you had to buy or pick flowers while on a run and give them to someone. I left flowers anonymously for a friend. If you are ever going to do this buy the flowers at the end of your run. Running while carrying a bunch of flowers is a bit of a challenge but it does provide much amusement for people driving by. Similar challenges included “Run to Eat” and a run for ice cream. I would also recommend doing most of your run before the food and ice cream!
Ass backwards turned out to be harder than expected. We had to run 500m backwards at the end of a run. Everyone agreed it was tough but it made for some fun video!
Trail Hunter and City Hunter were both scavenger hunts and we had a lot of fun planning long run routes designed to get as many points as possible. Thanks to the local fire department for helping us get 10 points!
There were bonus points available for making a call on a pay phone.
There was a final secret challenge which was only revealed when you entered what you thought was your final challenge. It required you to run/ walk 10% longer than you had for any other challenge. Running is not required for any of these challenges my sister and her husband had a great time doing them and they walked them all.
If it sounds like fun (and it was) CMRT has come up with a Winter Scavenger Hunt which starts on December 1st. 60 days, 20 challenges and this time they promise there are no secret surprizes. You can find all the details here.