Chicago Urbanathlon 2008

By Carlos Portocarrero

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Last weekend I ran the very first race of my life: the 2008 Men’s Health Urbanathlon here in Chicago. I was excited/nervous because it was my first race ever of this kind but I’m glad I did it. Here is the breakdown of what we had to do:

Run 10.5 Miles

Just about as hard as it sounds. And believe it or not it would’ve been a cinch if it wasn’t for the stuff we had to do in between…

Jump Some Hurdles and Crawl Through Tubes

Not too bad really, the adrenaline really gets going once you see the hurdles and since it was a little wet I just slid right through the tubes. Once you finish it you feel like you just used up ALL your adrenaline. Not good.

Cargo Net Crawl

Another adrenaline rush—though I did scrape my legs up pretty good. You hear people cheering you on and you just want to blaze your way through it. I did something to my neck here, which bothered me the rest of the way. No big deal though, I had bigger things on my mind…like stairs.

Monkey Bars

Monkey bars? Easy, right? Anyone who can’t do monkey bars is pretty weak. Not so much, actually. The bars are a little wet with dew/sweat and all of the sudden your body feels REALLY heavy. If you fell to the ground you had to do a penalty lap. Luckily, I made it through, but it was a LOT tougher than I thought it would be.

Marine Hurdles on the Beach

No one told me this was going to be on the beach. At the southern-most tip of the course, these things were killer because of the sand and how tall they were. Luckily, I’m tall so it wasn’t as hard for me as for others. People were boosting each other up and over to get through. At this point I was so gassed that everything was hard. But there’s only one thing on my mind…the stairs.

Soldier Field Stairs (aka Hell)

The one obstacle I actually trained for. We had to run up to the top section, then go up the stairs three times. There was such a bottleneck that it was slow going at first, but once people got all excited everyone got pumped up and powered through it. One girl almost passed out. This was HARD and it left me completely GASSED. But now I only had one thing on my mind…do I have enough to clear the wall?

Jump a Cab

This is a fun/quirky one. You’re supposed to go across the way cops do in 80s—90s sitcoms, but everyone was just walking on the hoods—no energy for smooth-looking moves at this point. Plus, you can already see the finish line…it’s lurking somewhere behind that wall over there…

The Wall

That doesn’t do it justice. Here, try this instead:

Think about that for a second: that’s 10.5 miles, crazy obstacles that sap your energy, TONS of STAIRS, and then you have to find the energy to clear this thing. I did the exact same thing as the guy in the video: just go as hard as you can the first time because otherwise you won’t make it.


Next year I’ll cut that by at least 10 minutes…I hope.

PS I was going to use real pictures but there are copyright issues. To see all the “official” pics that were taken check them out here.

5 Responses to “Chicago Urbanathlon 2008”

  • StarL Says:

    This ubanathlon seems so fun and cool—sure, sure I know it’s tiring. But I bet the experience completing this was awesome. :)

    Congratulations for this accomplishment. :)

    Great blog btw! More power to thee!


  • JLJMONKY Says:

    HOw many times did you do each event within the 10.5 miles? my brother is trying to talk me into running it with him and my concern right now is with the distance, but if you tell me you did multiple sets of each event then i will shift my focus to them more…

    • Nut Says:

      Hey JLJMONKY, the distance is really the least of your problems. Running 10.5 miles is nothing compared with mixing in all those obstacles in between. That is the tough part. But as long as you pace yourself, train hard, and don’t try to do each one too fast, you should be fine. And it’s a blast so I highly recommend it!

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