2012 Urban Dare Austin Race Recap

Urban Dare

A few weeks ago I hit the jackpot yet again on Schwaggle, scoring a $90 race registration for the Urban Dare Austin on March 3, 2012 for only $31.50.


From the Urban Dare website:

Urban Dare is the race where smarts can beat speed. Teams of two solve clues to find checkpoints, where they must take photos or perform dares. It’s like a one-day Amazing Race. Take the dare!

We checked in around 11:30 and received the shirts we needed to wear throughout the race.



Next up, judging for the costume contest:




After the contest wrapped up (the fairies won), clue sheets were distributed and the race was officially under way!


Our strategy was to solve each clue, map it out, and figure out which would be the most efficient route. Once we were finished, we took off out of Duncan Park heading towards 5th & Lamar. On our way, we noticed a couple holding hands who would be PERFECT for part one of clue #9: PHOTO HUNT: Get a picture of 2 people not in the race reenacting the famous WWII photo by Alfred Eisenstandt.

They happily obliged, even though they had just performed the same move for another team only minutes earlier.


Clue #8 stated: This law changed collegiate sports big time and gave women opportunities they never had before. Oddly enough, the bill never mentions the word sports. Get your picture in front of the shop that goes by the name of this bill.


Just around the corner was the answer to clue #3: Natalie Portman won an Oscar for best actress in this movie. Get your picture in front of the yoga studio that goes by this name.


Now, this is where we lost quite a bit of time. One of the clues Brad solved was #6: Macchiavelli’s famous book, the Prince, was dedicated to this man. Get your picture in front of his cafe.

He found the name of the café, went to the website, and grabbed the address off of the site. The address on the website was actually pretty far west, and probably halfway out to the location I asked “Are you sure this is right?”

Brad whipped out his phone and Googled the name of the café, scrolled down the list of results, and then he realized: there were 3 locations in Austin. And this one (A) was by far the furthest out of the way.

Caffe Medici

We made a quick u-turn and headed back east as he apologized profusely for not realizing it the first time around.

10-15 minutes later we came upon clue #7: ROMAN MATH TIME – Get your picture in front of District (VII TIMES XLIII)


And our photographer didn’t waste any time volunteering when we asked her to help us out with part two of clue #9: Get a picture of someone Angelina-ing.


Next we headed to 3rd Street for clue #2: Cujo was this breed. Get your picture in front of the store that goes by this name.


Then a little bit further south to Cesar Chavez for clue #5: This tower was named for an Austin fireman who died in the line of duty in 1972 while attempting a rescue. Go there for a 3 legged dare. Once we arrived at the Buford Tower, our legs were tied together while we participated in a 3 legged race. This is especially interesting when the person you’re paired with is over a foot taller than you.

At this point we were right around the corner from the café we were looking for earlier:


From 2nd & Congress we headed northeast to 718 Red River Street for clue #1: Dawn Zimmer is this city’s first female mayor. She recently rejected a permit to film in her city for Snooki and JWoww. Get your picture in front of the pizza place which goes by this city name.


We headed back west on 8th Street to Colorado, for clue #11: The state capitol burned down in 1881, so they built a temporary one while today’s capitol was being built. Go to the site of the temporary state capitol which was used until 1888 for your Scrabble Stick Dare. Using the scrabble sticks we provide, you must find the Scrabble value of the word on your passport.

And this was where I messed up. This clue was mine, and when we arrived – an Urban Dare official was nowhere to be found. We did a lap around the building, still nothing. We encountered two other teams looking at the same building, for the same clue. We were stumped.

I pulled out my phone and Googled again. This time it told me the temporary state capitol was located at 11th & Congress, and we took off running.


There were stakes in the ground with letters on them, and a corresponding number, just like a Scrabble piece. The word on our passport was ENVIRONMENTAL. Once we found the value for each letter, we were to add it up and submit to the onsite Urban Dare official. The letter ‘N’ gave us a bit of a trouble but we found it, had our passport stamped, and were on our way in about 5 minutes.


Once we were nearing the Capitol, all of the hydrating I had been doing since 5:30am was finally catching up to me. Oh, did I forget to mention I did a 10 mile run with my training group that morning? Yeah. I never said I was the smartest girl. The giant bottle of Gatorade I consumed during the first half of the race probably didn’t help either. We made a quick pitstop at the restroom in the Capitol building and then headed to the other side of the Capitol grounds where clue #4 was located: Get your picture with the memorial to those that survived the attack on the date will live in infamy.


We only had one clue left and then we were in the homestretch! Unfortunately the last clue was on the UT campus and Saturday was also the same day as Explore UT. SO MANY DAMN PEOPLE! The campus was a zoo.



We checked the inscription on every statue we passed for clue #10: “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore” This inscription surrounds his campus statue. Go there for your wheelbarrow dare.

Found it!


The wheelbarrow dare took about a minute, and then we were DONE! We passed a few teams entering campus on our way off-campus, so we knew we definitely weren’t going to come in last. Not that it mattered what place we came in, since this was our first Urban Dare and made a few mistakes along the way.

The trek to the finish line seemed to take FOREVER. We passed a few teams who were already leaving the bar, so that was a bit disheartening. I checked in with my sister to see if she was able to find the answer to the 10 Minute Bonus: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short played gunfighters in this movie. In the 6th Street District, get your picture in front of the sign where a local drinking hole has a special named after this trio. No such luck.

Finally we arrived at the finish, the Kung Fu Saloon!

Kung Fu Saloon

photo credit

Our passport was reviewed, photos checked, and our first Urban Dare was officially complete!


We finished in 2:36:26, 16th out of 52 teams. Not too bad considering we got a bit turned around in the beginning. The winners came in at 1:02:42 – absolutely incredible. 2nd place finished in 1:28:55, so the winners had a HUGE lead. Probably not their first Urban Dare.

In hindsight, the best option probably would have been to take a bus (the only form of transportation permitted besides running or walking) to the UT Campus and work our way back. I think that would have shaved a considerable amount of time off of our total. Overall we covered 7.03 miles, and that was with me starting my watch late!

Time for celebratory beers:


And then I spotted something VERY exciting:


I LOVE skeeball. I could play for hours. Or until I run out of quarters. However in this case, skeeball was FREE and we couldn’t pass this up.



I missed that one. That’s my disappointed face.


I beat Brad in a mini-tournament AND scored the highest overall between the two of us. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Urban Dare   America s Adventure Race

We both really enjoyed the Urban Dare and can’t wait to do it again next year!

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  1. Oh I love me some skee ball! Sounds like a fun different type of challenge! 🙂

  2. That has to be the coolest sounding race ever! I’ve always thought the mud races look bomb, but I think this tops it!

  3. These races always look so stinking fun!

  4. This looks SOOOOO fun! They are going to have one in Orlando????

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  6. Hi Melissa!! I’m moving to Austin in 2 weeks, so have been finding some ATX bloggers. I’m not a runner, but I do love skee ball, ha! I used to play on a bar skee ball league that was super fun. Looking forward to following your blog!

  7. Pingback: Better than a PR « Melissa Runs

  8. The general public at present determines exactly what it likes for entertainment, not the main studios and representatives. At the time you add to that distribution on the web, press, internet sites, from chat to complete motion pictures. It’s just a brand new world. A lot of it very good, some not.

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