The Urban Adventure Race Explained by Race Creator and Runner, Kathy Bratton
What is this mythical race? You may have seen people walking, jogging, sprinting, or snoozing along the streets of Tulsa this time of year. If they're wearing a numbered bib, they're doing it for fun! This is one of the best, least-known events around. Because its following is largely an underground mass of runners, we thought it prudent to shed some light on this race you should definitely sign up for--now!
Who better to explain this urban enigma than its creator and faithful finisher, Kathy Bratton? She'll tell you to talk to anyone who has done this race and you'll get the idea of it, but she's done every single Urban Adventure Race! In addition to being the owner of RunnersWorld Racing (which puts on tons of awesome races in and around Tulsa) Kathy is also co-owner of RunnersWorld Tulsa, the retail staple for runners in Tulsa and beyond. With her 50th 100-mile race coming up (and probably double that many sub-100s under her belt) she's more than an expert in this sort of thing.
Kathy, why should people do the Urban Adventure Race?
There's no reason not to! There's no better sense of accomplishment than having completed a distance and knowing that you did it by/for yourself. The unsolicited support from the community is incredible. Plus, if you do the 100-mile, the buckle is pretty great.
You can race it or go at your own pace. Some ladies shop their way through it. One year someone did the 100 in 18 hours.
If someone is new to 100-mile races, are there other distances in the Urban?
There are! There's a 50-mile distance and a marathon. At 30-hours, it's one of the longest time cutoffs for a marathon.
Describe the atmosphere during the start of the Urban
There's a sense of adventure, fear, dread, excitement, camaraderie, and blank stares that say "what have I got myself into?"
What are people like after the race?
It's the most exuberant, yet zombie-fied finish you can imagine. There's so much happiness mixed with something simultaneously more and less than exhaustion. There are always tears. The awe of knowing you just ran 100 miles mixes with being unable to process having just ran 100 miles.
For the other race distances, most people doing the 50-mile are doing it for their first 50. Those doing the marathon usually do it as a training run, adventure, or just to see the city/sites.
Where did this race come from?
We do a lot of nighttime training runs and use QuikTrips as "aid stations." One night a friend and I were out and jokingly said we should turn this into a race.
Later, another friend said he wouldn't do a 100-mile race unless it was in town. I told him he shouldn't say things like that. I made the race and signed him up for the 100 (and still sign him up every year since for his birthday)
Does your friend resent you for that?
Yes. In a friendly sort of way. He still starts it every year.
Can you give us some advice on running the Urban?
It helps to know the map (it's on the website), where QuikTrips and other food stops are, and where your favorite food is inside QuikTrip. You should also have the QuikTrip app on your phone for daytime pre-orders.
Kathy recommends the bacon, egg, and cheese croissant.
You have to wrap your head around the fact that you're going to be slowed down at aid stations (waiting in line, finding things).
There are other food vendors you can use, too. Sometimes the fair is going on!
Streets may be closed, which makes it harder to navigate--but that's what makes it fun. It's one of my favorite races because it's in my home town and you have to get through things on your own. You deal with stop lights, traffic, going through downtown during the nightlife excitement, going into QuikTrip 8am Saturday morning and then again on Sunday morning for the responses/motivation from employees, and people driving around cheering you on randomly.
You do it for the challenge of getting yourself through the distances. Because you want to do it.
Is RunnersWorld Tulsa open during the race?
Not to the public. It's the start/finish and an aid station though.
Are you convinced yet?
I think one of the most convincing aspects of this race is that it's happened more than once. It's an opportunity to do something truly, deeply challenging. You're on your own, but you're also part of a community working toward the same goal. Almost everyone who does it comes back for more.
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