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Yesterday [ profile] kirstenfleur and I competed in another mini-Amazing Race Pursuit. There was a bit of a kerfuffle starting the day before when we belated realised that the plans we had made were not in fact going to work - doing these races has become increasingly complicated as our children start participating in Saturday activities!! Fortunately Dean and [ profile] kirstenfleur's sister-in-law were able to help out and so we headed off, leaving two children with Dean at home and one child with the sister-in-law at jazz ballet. We made good time into the city, especially considering there was football on, and arrived at our start/finish point at Federation Square roughly half an hour early.

Then we spent the waiting time finding toilets, checking in and avoiding being photographed. That last part worked well until we ended up in the front row AGAIN for the group photo... we need to get better at hiding behind tall people.

"Captains come this way and get a clue sheet... everyone's got one? OK, we're starting!"

We looked at the first clue, which was for a Challenge. The mini races have four Challenges, where you get to do an activity, four Pursuits, where you have to go to a location and clip your bib, and four Collects, where you have to go to a location and find an answer, or find an item en route. Everyone does all of them. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph the clue sheet this time, so all clues are from memory.

Clue one started: "Go to a park named after a caped superhero, who has an adversary named after a flightless bird..."

"Batman!" said the team next to us loudly and very helpfully. We marked it off on our map and started plotting our route out. Five minutes later we had an entire route and were off to our first Pursuit:

"The tallest building in Melbourne named after the cry when gold was discovered at Ballarat..."

Off we walked to the Eureka tower, finding it and clipping our bib by 1.15pm. This is probably the fastest we've ever completed any challenge in any race we've done actually. Off we headed again, this time for the first Collect stage which had a numerical keypad clue, as well as the line "count the number of totem poles". Ignoring the numbers in favour of googling "totem poles melbourne cbd" we were off to Enterprize Park. The first time I counted 30 and [ profile] kirstenfleur counted 31. A recount confirmed there were 30, and so by 1.30pm we were two down, 10 to go.
The third location was Batman Park, where there was a choice between two challenges - eat two mealworms, or do a 3D circular puzzle. I looked at the mealworms. They had tiny legs and were moving. We opted for the puzzle. 30 minutes later, with the challenge due to close at 2.30pm we were still doing the puzzle. I decided to switch. Looked at the mealworms. Still had tiny legs and was moving. We went back to the puzzle and did it in less than a minute. I really didn't want to eat those mealworms! Unfortunately this had set us back quite a bit as it was now about 2.15pm, so now we started running to our next location. Originally we were heading for Flagstaff Gardens, but then realised that it would make more sense to head for another Challenge in West Melbourne first.

This was a Crossfit challenge ([ profile] kirstenfleur: Not again!), and it was in the same street as the one we'd done in 2013, so we figured it was the same mob. As it turned out, yes, it was... but they'd moved into a new building across the street. Fortunately there were teams coming out of it as we came down. This time the challenge was a four part one - 90 seconds of squats to a medicine ball, 90 seconds of pushups, 90 seconds of step ups, 90 seconds of burpees. You could divide it up with your team mate, so you didn't have to both do all of it.

"What do you want to do?" I asked [ profile] kirstenfleur
"Squats and step ups! NOT burpees!!"

Off we started. "Chest must touch the floor for the pushups!" called the trainer as we were about to start.

"Yay for boobs!"

The couple next to me were obviously much fitter and showing off by doing one-handed pushups. I was cheating and doing them on my knees (this was permitted, I'd just normally do them on toes!) on the grounds that I wanted to still be able to move afterwards to get to the next challenge.

The burpees they wanted you to jump and touch a bar at the end... this might have led to amusing photos, as even the lower bar was pretty high for me, and I wasn't the shortest person there!

Finished everything at 2.35pm, got the bib clipped and started off running again. Yes, after the Crossfit challenge. We were really determined we were going to finish everything and come in before the cut off time!

The next stop en route was a Pursuit stage where the clue had been a URL which came up with a picture of Witches in Britches, a local theatre restaurant. It was pretty much on a direct path from the Crossfit challenge to the next Challenge, so we ran to it, clipped our bibs again and headed straight for the Challenge stage in Fawkner Park.

The clue for this had said something like "between two streets named for Monarchs, near the corner of the street." Given the streets were King and William which run parallel to each other this was not the most useful information ever. We ran towards the corner of Latrobe and William Sts, mostly because we hadn't seen anything on the corner of King and Latrobe Sts on the way up to Crossfit. Sure enough, there was a person in red with lots of cones.

We jogged down the hill and were handed a colour in sheet with four crayons - red, blue, orange and yellow. You had to run to the coloured in sheet about 15 metres away, memorise where you had to colour, run back and colour in your sheet. No recording other than memory allowed, only one team member at a time could go and look. I took yellow, [ profile] kirstenfleur took red and I headed off first to memorise the first couple of rows. [ profile] kirstenfleur headed off as I started colouring in, and there was a bit of frantic colouring before I went out again to memorise the next lot of rows for yellow.

At this point it also started spitting, which made colouring in proportionally harder!

We were nearly done when the event volunteer started moving the templates closer in to us - by the time we'd finished, at about 2.58pm, the templates were 5m away and facing the colouring in teams. This was because that particular Challenge closed at 3pm and she was giving the teams that had just rocked up a chance to finish as quickly as possible I think. We got clipped, and ran down Latrobe St to our next Pursuit point, St David's Presbyterian Church, better known as the Welsh Church. The clue for this had a picture of the Welsh flag, with something about it being a place of worship and the dates it was built.

I actually didn't know it was called St David's before that, but we clipped our bibs and headed off quickly again to the next Collect stage at the State Library.

This one required us to lie down in front of the State library and make a heart shape with our body, then get a photo of that with the state library in the background. We made the most half-arsed heart shape - couldn't get our bodies in the photo with the library, and didn't have anyone around to ask so we just did it with our hands... and then they moved as I was trying to take the photo. It was kind of an... impressionistic heart shape. But you could see the state library and that we were lying down, so close enough!

About 3.10pm by now, and we realised we could get a collect point from the newspaper shop across the street - so in we went to buy a postcard featuring a Melbourne tram. Doing well, only one challenge and one collect stage to go!

The collect stage had the clue: "The corner of the two streets, one where the Australia Day parade starts, and one where the sculpture 'The Public Purse' is, has four poles on it. Name the animal with wings on its back." "Pig." I said. [ profile] kirstenfleur looked at me. "How do you know that?" "It used to have the giant banner advertising Windows95 on the building behind it, and the flying pig in front always cracked me up." We had to go past the corner of Bourke and Swanston on the way anyway, so we checked it out. Yep, pig.

The last Challenge stage was at 202 Bourke St. This turned out to be a snooker and pool place, where we had to wait for another team so we could play snooker with them. After waiting five minutes with no teams arriving a volunteer came over and we played against her. She was terrible. I wasn't much better, but fortunately [ profile] kirstenfleur managed to get three balls of the same variety (large or small) in the nets very quickly - in four shots in fact. I managed to pot the black, which is pretty much typical for me. The volunteer potted the white, so even less competent!

Everything finished, we came down the stairs and headed back to the finish line, coming in at 3.40pm with 20 minutes to spare. Which after our fairly long time at the puzzle challenge was a bit of a relief! The volunteer at the finish line looked at us and said "oh you're finished!" in a mildly surprised tone. She was the volunteer at the colouring challenge, I think she thought we were a lot further behind than we were.

The winning team finished at 2.31pm, which is just insane - they ran the entire way (obviously).

And I've just realised I've missed out a stage somewhere and can't remember what it is... I knew I should have photographed the clue sheet! Now I'm really hoping we didn't inadvertently miss something, but I'm pretty sure we didn't. I just can't remember it.
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November 2016


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