Have you ever watched "The Amazing Race" on TV and thought to yourself, "That would be fun to do!"? On June 7, you and your family have the opportunity to participate in CityQuest -- an event in Downtown Indianapolis that is very similar in concept to the popular television show, but with a few major twists.
CityQuest is a 5K urban adventure fun run dreamed up by Hendricks County residents (and Villagers!) Steve and Joni Kisner.
This isn't the Kisners' first rodeo when it comes to planning race events. They are also behind Danville's popular Mud Soap Run (which will be held July 26).
The premise of CityQuest is similar to that of "The Amazing Race" in that contestants travel from one destination to another and complete challenging tasks at each checkpoint.
CityQuest is different, however, because the entire race takes place within Downtown Indianapolis, stretching from White River State Park to Monument Circle and the surrounding areas. It's also different in that it's family-friendly and it gives back to the community.
While contestants can choose to complete the course as quickly as possible, families are strongly encouraged to navigate CityQuest at their own pace, making lasting memories together as they complete fun and silly challenges.
I had the opportunity to sit down with cofounder Joni Kisner recently and talk to her about CityQuest.
She said that she and her husband, Steve, have participated in urban fun runs in other cities, but the events weren't family-friendly, leaving the kids bored or excluded altogether.
The events were also planned by organizations outside of and unfamiliar with the host city, often resulting in confusing clues that left contestants lost.
Having grown up in Indianapolis, the Kisners decided to take the urban fun run concept that they enjoyed and improve upon it.
They're sending contestants to the coolest parts of their home city, they're making navigation to checkpoints simple and easy, and they're specifically designing quests to include the entire family.
Best of all, they're allowing registrants to choose from a list of beneficiaries -- including Rupert's Kids, The Wounded Warrior Project, Maeci & Gracie Give Back Foundation, and Share Our Strength -- to which CityQuest will donate 20 percent of their registration fee.
During CityQuest, getting to the checkpoints isn't the challenge. It's getting out of the checkpoints that will require some family bonding ... and a whole lot of laughter.
"Families bond when they have fun and laugh together," said Joni, and the primary goal of CityQuest is to provide lasting memories and strengthen family bonds.
Contestants are encouraged to wear costumes -- there will be a costume contest, in fact -- as they navigate the 12-15 quests throughout the course.
Racers will begin with a passport that sends them to their first checkpoint, but teams enter the course at a variety of locations and travel in a variety of directions so that racers don't get bogged down by human traffic at any particular station.
As contestants complete each quest, their passport leads them around Downtown Indy to the finish line. Joni said that she anticipates the event taking leisurely contestants about two or three hours to complete.
It's part scavenger hunt, part photo opportunity (bring the camera!), part adventure, part exploration, and a heaping helping of goofy family fun.
As the "disclaimer" on the CityQuest website warns, "CityQuest is only for those who want to have fun. In order to preserve the happiness of the event, Party Poopers, Stick-in-the-muds, Fuddy Duddies or Nay Sayers should stay home. Thank you."
Fuddy Duddies and the like: consider yourself warned!
CityQuest is a rain-or-shine event, so make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, pack plenty of drinking water and dress for the weather.
While I had Joni's attention, I tried to convince her to give me some inside scoop as to what some of the quests will be in CityQuest. She was coy, though, not wanting to spoil the fun surprises that await contestants.
Since Wheel Fun Rentals and Rocket Fizz are already listed on the website as sponsors, I guessed that challenges involving pedal boats, gondolas, bicycles or Surreys will be involved, along with quests that have something to do with soda pop or candy.
Since it's family-friendly, I'm guessing that there won't be any quests involving wrestling mountain lions, juggling chainsaws or rappelling down the Chase Tower.
Joni confirmed the family-friendliness, but otherwise would only smile, leaving me and my family to discover the quests for ourselves on June 7.
(All photos courtesy of CityQuest's Facebook page.)
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