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Friday, November 15

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« The Chiditarod Cometh! Don't Play with Your Food »

Contest Sun Mar 06 2011

Chiditarod 2011

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It was noon on a Saturday and the crowd looked at each other expectantly, waiting with baited breath for the sound of the bull horn to signal the start of the race. Despite it being the month of March, winter wasn't giving up and there was a tingling chill and flutters of snowflakes across the cold air. Still, the costumed participants seemed to be too cheerful to notice, to of the moment and just as ephemeral as a fleeting snowflake. The glacial climate was canceled out with a gleeful rush and a promise to enjoy the day, no matter what, because something great was going to happen and all witnesses and racers could feel it down to the tingling of their spines.

For those unfamiliar with Chiditarod, it is an actual race...with shopping carts. Even more importantly, Chicago's Urban Iditarod helps raise money and canned goods for charity. Beginning at noon, the signal sounds and the costumed contestants compete against each other at top speed...well, as fast as one can run when pushing a full shopping cart and wearing elaborate costumes.

The race often lasts all day with key stopping points throughout the Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park area before the finale is reached. There are designated rules that all designated racers must follow but mainly it is a day of joy and fun for those less fortunate. For those witnessing it, it's like Halloween in March..a second coming filled with happy gnomes, ghostbusters, titanic shipmates, muppets, pacman ghosts, and more in a spirited parade. One can't help but smile at all the time and energy spent for the good cause. Proceeds from the race benefit Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation.

You can view the start of the race in live action via rpmime's youtube here.

Click here to view the complete photoset on flickr with larger sized photos.

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