"Think on the Run!" That's the slogan of Urban Challenge, a unique combination of athleticism, adventure sports, and mental acuity that's been thrilling competitors looking for something different since it grew out of a casual treasure hunt planned for a twelve–year–old girl's birthday party by a fun–loving dad. Contest creator Kevin McCarthy, the "guru of fun," devised a challenging adventure game for his daughter and her friends — hiding a series of clues all over town, and challenging them to solve them all and find their way to the end of the course. From there, the idea just grew and grew, to where now the same game is a summer fixture in cities from Boston to San Francisco, from Atlanta to Seattle, all leading up to an annual national competition in New Orleans.
The contests might be described as a cross between a TV reality show and a good old–fashioned scavenger hunt. Two teams of contestants, drawn from entrants representing a cross–section of every walk of life, match wits and strengths to be the first team to hit a series of twelve checkpoints hidden throughout the host city and take digital photos of each location. Complex clues must be solved in order to reveal the locations of these checkpoints, which could be anywhere at all, up or down or all around. On foot, on bikes, in taxicabs, or on the subway, contestants never know where the route will take them or what they'll find when they get there. It's a game that challenges the mind and the body.