Start gathering your teams and making your cold-weather costumes: The Idiotarod XIII is coming to the streets of New York on January 28. Organized by the Department of Homeland Absurdity and IDIOTS Labs, the annual outdoor event is back—and the NYC Marathon, it is not.
For those who have missed out on the last 12 editions of this seriously silly competition, the Idiotarod calls on teams of five or more to decorate shopping carts and complete wacky trials and tests at checkpoints around a particular traffic-light neighborhood on a day that is almost guaranteed to be pretty damn cold. Unlike Alaska's Iditarod, however, the best race time at this winter event is not nearly as important as creativity (and clever bribery).
Teams typically pick a theme from pop culture to compete as (past examples have included a group dressed as the Scooby gang with a cart decorated like the Mystery Van and a Star Wars team with an X-Wing cart), but any imaginative idea is welcome. The event has a clandestine air, with the race's designated stops and trial obstacles and activities only revealed the day of the race. The anything-goes atmosphere encourages some good-fun sabotage (no wrecking another team's artfully crafted cart or trickery that could physically harm anyone involved) and using bribes and flattery to get prizes and other favorable results from the officials at the checkpoints.
Find the official rules and register for the race here, and registered teams will learn the start location before January 28. On your mark, get set, art!