Are you up for it?

Published 9:42 am Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some parents use the Urban Adventure Games as a way to spend fun, active time with their teens. (Submitted photo)

Some parents use the Urban Adventure Games as a way to spend fun, active time with their teens. (Submitted photo)

Urban Adventure Games offers diverse challenges for Michiana athletes

SOUTH BEND — If you’re an athletic person who has wanted to get to know South Bend and Mishawaka on a more intimate level, then the Urban Adventure Games are an event you won’t want to miss.

Scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. with a mandatory rules meeting on July 26, the Sixth Annual Urban Adventure Games will set racers on a course of checkpoints set up throughout the urban area, beginning and ending at Kamm Island Park, located at 600 W. Front St. in Mishawaka.

“Our new thing this year is that the start and finish will be at Kamm Island in Mishawaka,” said Kyle Everett, a member of the event’s leadership committee. “The course still goes through South Bend and Mishawaka, but moving the course allows us to change up some of the checkpoints.”

Set up in a format similar to “The Amazing Race,” the Urban Adventure games pits teams of two racers against each other as they complete a scavenger hunt, travelling from one checkpoint to the next via bicycle. Once at those checkpoints, team members must complete various physical and mental challenges.

In the past, checkpoints have included rafting on the East Race, riding elliptical bikes at Howard Park and riding a mechanical surf board. However, that doesn’t mean those challenges will be included this year.

“Part of the fun is that we try to mix up the activities and checkpoints each year. That keeps it fresh and fun for us and the participants,” Everett explained.

In order to make the race accessible for everyone, organizers have developed three different courses for three divisions: Elite, Open and Fun.

“The elite division is for the more extreme, athletic racers,” Everett said. “The Fun Division is more family oriented, and in the middle, we have the Open Division. That’s where most racers sign up.”

The Urban Adventure Games’ website,, lists the physical expectations for participants in each group, including the distances that participants should be able to run, bike and swim. The site also has information about the type of gear that racers should bring.

“Racers must bring their own bike helmets, but all the other safety gear, like harnesses, will be provided,” Everett said. “Safety is a big priority for us when we put this on. We always make sure we have safety personnel available for all of the events.”

Participants as young as 13 are welcome to join the race, and Everett said that the parents of many younger teens use the race as an opportunity to spend some active time with their children.

“What we’ve seen in the past is that kids over 13 will team up with a parent. Older teenagers often team up with a friend,” Everett said. “We’ve seen a really nice mix of age ranges.”

In addition, awards are given to different divisions within each group based on the genders of the participants.

“There are awards for male/male, male/female and female/female teams,” Everett said. “There’s also a costume contest. It’s a lot of fun, and that keeps it exciting.”

Once the race ends, the after-party will begin with entertainment provided by the band Everyday People.

“Our after-party is taking place on Kamm Island, and the party goes from about 12 to 3:30 or 4 p.m. There will be free beer for the racers over 21, and other people are welcome to come out, too, including kids,” Everett said. “People should bring lawn chairs and blankets so they can enjoy the afternoon’s entertainment and hang out in the park.”

Those who are interested in participating in this ultimate urban race can learn more and sign up on the event’s website. More information is also available on their Facebook page. However, as Everett noted, there isn’t much more time to sign up, and space is limited.

“We already have close to 400 teams signed up, and we cap it at 500 teams, so people should sign up soon,” Everett said. “If you haven’t done it before, you should come out and try it because no matter what your skill level is, we have a division for you, and it’s really a lot of fun.”