Behind the Scenes of UrbaCity

When you hear “UrbaCity Challenge,” what comes to mind? Solving Challenge Stations with your teammates? Making a difference to our local Island Prostate Centre? Taking home a trunk full of prizes?

The UrbaCity Challenge Planning Committee thinks about those things, too. And much, much (much much much) more.

Ever wonder who we are or how we create UrbaCity? This post is for you!

Who’s running this monkey farm?

We’re a group of five employees from MAXIMUS Canada, the Presenting Partner of the race. Four of us are regular employees who plan UrbaCity with a passion off the sides of our desks throughout the year, and one is a university Co-op student dedicated to full-time event support.

Then we’ve got our professional course designers at Pinnacle Pursuits, the “woo-hoo” experts who build the race and Challenge Stations with care, enthusiasm and creativity.

UrbaCity planners have fun, but we also mean business. Each of us is dedicated to creating an amazing event that thrills our participants, recognizes our sponsors, and, ultimately, benefits our charity.

When do you start planning?

Fun fact: Planning for the 2017 UrbaCity Challenge has technically already started – we’ve got a spreadsheet going for potential Challenge Station ideas, sponsors to approach and anything else we might note while working on the 2016 event.

We’ve got a lot of moving pieces to co-ordinate, and starting our planning well ahead of time ensures that we get everything exactly where it needs to be, exactly when it needs to be there.

So, what actually goes into planning the race?

What doesn’t! Naturally, course design is top of mind. Together with Pinnacle Pursuits, we work to develop new Challenge Stations that show off the best of our sponsors, while providing a heaping helping of fun. Plus, there’s a lot of logistical work to ensure that the race and awards ceremony go off without a hitch. Let’s just say this: we use a lot of spreadsheets.

We also rely on our sponsors, prize donors, and Friends of UrbaCity for products, services, financial support and gift donations. We can’t do it alone, and researching and communicating with so many different businesses takes a lot of co-ordination!

UrbaCity also requires approximately 100 volunteers on race day to staff Challenge Stations, assist racers, and set up/take down the course. We start recruiting volunteers from MAXIMUS Canada and Island Prostate Centre several months before race day, and then we help train them for their roles.

On a regular basis, we also develop advertisements, attend community events and, of course, keep in touch with our racers via newsletters and social media.

Do you run the race yourselves?

Sadly, we can’t. We know too much. And we’re also needed on race day to ensure everything goes smoothly. However, making an amazing event for our attendees is very rewarding itself. Which brings us to our last question…

What’s your favourite part of working on UrbaCity?

Some quotes from our Planning Committee:

“My favorite part of UrbaCity is finally meeting the competitors on race day. I see all their names so often that in my mind they are like mini-celebrities. Some of them I correspond with ahead of time, but most start and remain unknown to me. Seeing all of them on race day brings it all together.”

“A highlight for me is the tremendous sense of pride as a MAXIMUS Canada employee on race day. It’s wonderful to put on your colourful volunteer t-shirt and work alongside so many colleagues and family members to support our charity event. I try to make sure that every racer and volunteer that I come in contact with knows how grateful we are for their participation.”

“It’s hard to pick a favourite part…but I would say it’s working with our awesome team! I love that when we have our planning meetings we can laugh and have fun together. I think it’s what makes us more creative and brings forward the best ideas for the race.”

“My favorite part about UrbaCity is race day – seeing our long months of planning and work come together to create a truly memorable event for all who attend and participate. When I hear from racers and volunteers that they had so much fun, and that they can’t wait for next year, that’s truly what it’s all about for me.”

Now that you’ve had your behind-the-scenes tour of UrbaCity, tell us what you think! Leave a comment below!