PAWS/LA and the 4th Annual Great Urban Race

Apr 2

On Sunday, March 20, 2010 PAWS/LA participated as a destination along the fourth annual Los Angeles Great Urban Race course.

The event called for the nearly 700 racers to navigate the streets of downtown Los Angeles and West Hollywood as quickly as possible using only public transportation. Split into teams of two, the pairs solved clues and completed twelve challenges before they crossed the finish line. One of the clues led participants to the PAWS/LA Food Bank.

It read: “PAWS LA is dedicated to preserving the loving bond between people and their companion animals.  Make your way to the parking lot behind PAWS on W. 12th St. between S. Grand Ave. and S. Hope St. and get ready to lend a helping hand!  Each teammate must fill one five-pound bag of either dog food OR kitty litter using the materials provided.  Once full, seal the bags and place them on the rolling cart.”

For five hours, teams stopped by the food bank to scoop pet supplies. PAWS/LA volunteers directed racers to one of ten stations that were pre-setup with the packaging materials. Alan Campbell was the PAWS/LA lead volunteer. A slew of volunteers from Kohl’s, a major GUR sponsor, also showed up. By the end of the day, at least 200 bags of litter and 300 bags of food were filled.

“This is an event we want to do again. We got a lot done and had fun at the same time,” Scott Dunlevie, the PAWS/LA Client Services Coordinator said. “We really enjoyed participating.

While at the PAWS/LA Food Bank, many racers also checked off another task on their list. One of the other clues was to “take a picture of six people total making a 3-2-1 human pyramid” using only teammates and strangers. Dunlevie explained that the PAWS volunteers went above and beyond, and were willing to build the stunt with teams. A piece of cardboard was put on the concrete because volunteers got down on their hands and knees so many times during the day for the challenge.

Some of the clues were obviously straightforward, but others were more of a puzzle. Examples included: “My birth month’s flower is the violet. My birth date is the smallest composite number. My birth year is the same year the movie “American Graffiti” was released. Take a picture of all teammates in front of my statue in Los Angeles.” Another read: “Make your way to the photography shop in West Hollywood that boasts the slogan ‘It’s where the pros go’ and prepare for your GUR mugshot!”

After completing all 12 clues, team “Now You Know” was declared the winner of the race for finishing in a mere two hours and eight minutes. To keep things fun, there was also a costume contest. Team “Happy Birthday Felicia” won dressed as a birthday cake and a piñata.

The Great Urban Race is held in major cities across the country to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other local charities. The top 25 teams from each city qualify to compete in the National Championship in Las Vegas later this year.

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