Summer is here. Let the play begin.

Adam Nelson, the fun-loving organizer behind City of Play and Obscure Games has returned with the second annual City Spree, an unconventional race that will hit the streets on June 1.

City Spree follows no particular course. Runners and walkers start in the middle of the East End surrounded by a course made up of 25 checkpoints. Once participants take off, they are free to follow their own path through the city to discover and visit the checkpoints, taking in the communities as they go.

Individuals and groups are welcome. Racers compete on speed, distance, and cleverness—as long as participants make it back in time. The idea is not to finish the race first, but to explore, says Nelson. “This second race represents the growth of City of Play because not only is it an awesome event, but it’s a fundraiser with GTECH and TechShop to create more community spaces around games.”

In addition to being downright fun, the funds raised from City Spree will support Community Lawns, a project that is working to reclaim and revitalize vacant spaces in the East End. Lots and spaces in these neighborhoods will be cleaned up to make way for the installation of lawn games like cornhole, horseshoes and Tube.

City Spree will start and end at GTECH in Larimer. Those wishing to run a 10K will need to hit 13 checkpoints in two hours tops. 5K runners must visit six checkpoints within one hour. Walkers need to get to as many checkpoints as they can in 1.5 hours.

“The more clever you are, the more unique path you take, the greater your chances are of winning the race,” Nelson says. “It’s still a race, but runners that choose to go out of the way places will pick up more points.”

Registration is required. The race is $30 with a $5 discount for NEXT readers, using the code NEXTPGH. Winners will be recognized.

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...