Shopping carts transformed into artistic sleds race through the streets of West Town as the Chiditarod returns. Inspired by the Alaskan Iditarod, each team consists of four pullers and one musher. The 5-mile race also serves as a food drive, with each team required to donate at least 69 pounds of non-perishable food on race day. Registration is closed, but you can keep tabs on the teams at a series of checkpoints.
CHIditarod is Chicago’s 100% volunteer-driven Epic Urban shopping cart race, charity food drive, costumed beauty pageant, talent show, fundraiser and chaos generator all in one. It’s probably the world’s largest mobile food drive, benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the CHIditarod Foundation.
Details: 12:30 p.m. Saturday at various locations. Starting point at The Cobra Lounge, 235 N. Ashland Ave. Free / MAP
ABOUT THE RACE
At its core, CHIditarod is an annual urban charity shopping cart race that takes place annually through Chicago’s West Town and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods. The date of the event was chosen to coincide with the kickoff of the Alaskan Iditarod ® (whom we are not affiliated with in any way). There are some basic similarities between the races, but there is plenty more whimsy involved in this urban setting. Instead of sleds, we use shopping carts. Instead of dogs, we have teams of five humans: four pullers and one musher, all in costumes they have designed for themselves and their cart. Also, each team is required arrive at the starting line with their cart full of food for donation. The event draws together 1,100+ people, both participants and spectators, and has collected over 209,770 pounds of food and more than $352,527 in direct donations since its 2006 inception. CHIditarod is a one-of-a-kind event dedicated to self-expression — part charity food drive, part beauty pageant, part bar crawl, all costumed shopping cart race. An epic spectacle like no other.
Teams come back year after year with new theme ideas, bigger and more elaborate carts, and a thirst to express their creativity while helping others through charity. If you’re racing CHIditarod for the first time, make sure you do your homework so you understand what’s expected of your team, and what the event will be like. Realize there are hundreds of costumed Chicagoans ready for an epic day. Realize your team may get sabotaged. Realize that there is no such thing as bad weather — just poor wardrobe choices. You may be asked sternly to get on the sidewalk. These things are okay — at the end of the day, CHIditarodders take care of each other, have a blast, and run roughshod over hunger.
Still interested? Good. Gather your team of 5 humans. Read the rules, and the FAQ, then read them again. Register your team. Figure out an awesome theme. Aquire a cart, then trick it out. Get acquainted with the sabotage rules & fundraising opportunities. On race day, bring at least 69 pounds of non-perishable food in your cart to the starting line. Space is limited, and we always fill up. Don’t delay. Mush.
The CHIditarod is a not-for-profit based in Chicago. We lay claim to being “Probably the World’s Largest Mobile Food Drive.” Our philanthropic efforts address urban food and hunger challenges by partnering with organizations that provide immediate hunger relief (like food pantries), and sustainable food empowerment through urban farming, community gardens and education.
Every CHIditarod team has to show up to the starting line with at least 69 pounds of non-perishable food in your cart. At the end of the race, all that food is donated to our friends at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. More than 209,770 pounds donated to date!