Ottawa City Chase Rush

City Chase is a Canadian urban adventure race, taking teams of two+ to various checkpoints by-way-of a scavenger hunt throughout the city. While the traditional City Chase distance of events past was longer, this past weekend’s Ottawa City Chase Rush offered participants a more condensed version. It comprised of a map including twelve clues, which teams used to navigate around Ottawa’s Downtown, Centretown, Byward Market and Sandy Hill neighbourhoods. Participants had three hours (10am – 1pm) to find and complete 8 of the twelve checkpoint challenges, three of which were mandatory. City Chase always had a huge charity component. Three local community organizations that support children and their families who are faced with the diagnosis of a serious illness benefited from Ottawa City Chase Rush. These include: Kids Kicking Cancer Canada’s Heroes Circle Program, Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and CHEO Foundation.

The race began at the Startline located at the Royal Oak at 180 Kent Street in Downtown Ottawa just after 10am, with chasers locating the course map on the other side of the building. Chasers then proceeded to decode the checkpoint challenge clues and strategize as to their route of choice, or simply run to the first checkpoint they recognized. City Chase is truly a “choose your own adventure” type race, as not all checkpoints are mandatory. Although there are always a few overachievers who attempt and even complete ALL checkpoint challenges. My team located and completed the following checkpoint challenges in order:


  1. Money, Money, Money (a scavenger hunt at the Bank of Canada Museum
  2. Let’s dive in (Locating the hockey puck at the bottom of a pool with a number that corresponded with the rubber ducky you selected)
  3. Power, Peace, Purpose (Karate instructed by Kids Kicking Cancer Blackbelt Volunteers)
  4. Tug-o Truck (a firetruck pull)
  5. Can you find him? (Finding Waldo at Bayward Market)
  6. Tasty Treats (Fish heads, dog biscuits, hot peppers, M&Ms, gummy worms)
  7. Stretch it out (Bunny Yoga!)
  8. The Yard (a scooter and hopscotch obstacle course)

City Chasers were to locate all checkpoints by foot. This resulted in a total of 14kms (8.7 miles) ran by my team. This was excessive due to critical errors. The atmosphere is cooperative with an emphasis on fun and charity over the competition.




Canadians are outraged about Spartan Race USA’s new Spartan Rig!

The Temecula Trifecta weekend saw Spartan Race unveil some new obstacles including the new Spartan Rig on display in the festival area. What a great idea! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Well someone did, in Canada. Killington Ultra Beast finisher Dom Maurice founded Platinum Rig in 2012, a company that specializes in high quality modular, portable and stationary rigs for Crossfit Boxes, back yards and OCR events.


In OCR races the Platinum Rig includes an always changing series of rings, Tarzan ropes, chains, monkey bars, swinging horizontal bars, etc… which Spartans must traverse using their upper body strength. They were quickly incorporated into Eastern Canada Spartan Races amongst others and have organized three Master of the Rig competitions. By 2014 Platinum Rig began to sponsor OCR athletes including 12-time consecutive Canadian Spartan Race winner Benjamin Morin-Boucher and Helene Dumais who made 17 Spartan Race podiums in 2014, including a 2nd place Killington Ultra Beast finish. In short, Canadians love Platinum Rig.


On June 8, 2014 Joe DeSena visited the Toronto Spartan Super where he took a liking to the Platinum Rig and decided to feature it in the Spartan Race World Championships located in Killington Vermont. Spartans may vaguely recall the orange Platinum Rig hidden away in the woods after the dreaded sandbag carry. It was far away from spectators, as Spartan USA likes to keep its proprietary obstacles by the spectator zone; it was not a talking point of the Spartan Race World Championships. Fast-forward to the OCR World Championships where Platinum Rig was again featured, but this time was placed in the middle of the action drawing a large crowd and truly inspirational moments. Some say the Platinum Rig made the OCRWC.


Now fast forward to the 2015 Temecula Beast, Sprint and Super held from Jan 17th – 24th where a new Spartan Race branded Spartan Rig makes it’s debut appearance in the spectator zone, outside the race course for Spartans to demo leaving Eastern Canadians thinking “really??” Actually, they took it further, some claiming they will boycott the new Spartan Rig when they travel to US Spartan Races, doing burpees instead of crossing an obstacle they have a lot of experience with. Some members of the Platinum Rig Team even went as far as to cancel their plans to race in American Spartan Races. When questioned whether he is surprised about the Spartan Rig, Dom maintains; “not really. We are still in business with Spartan Race here (Eastern Canada) and its a huge draw for us. Platinum Rig will keep looking forward and challenge all OCR racers in the best events in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Netherland and the OCRWC”.


Is this an overreaction? Sporting events copy other events all the time. It’s not as if Platinum Rig invented the rig and with all those attachments including a trampoline, it appears to be aimed to the commercial gym market. What maybe more of a “blatant rip-off” could be the new Multibar obstacle that is actually featured in Spartan races now.

But wait a minute! I’ve seen that obstacle before: Hangin’ Shaft at World’s Toughest Mudder. Actually, I’ve seen a lite version of it two months before WTM, at Tough Mudder Alberta. You can see it here in my report of that event. So is Spartan Race really to blame in an industry that copies and renames obstacles from other OCR events all the time? Aren’t they bringing in a giant slip-n-slide this year? How many races had that obstacle before Spartan Race decided to jump on that train, or slide? And how many OCRS have copied obstacles (and stolen photos) from Spartan Race? The problem I see with the Spartan Rig is that the name appears to already have been taken, Google it! And you can bet this Canadian won’t boycott that slip-n-slide!

*Photo Credits To: OCR World Championships, Epic Action Imagery, and Spartan Race