(Image courtesy of District Race.)
Are you sick of all the marathons that pop up every year? Afraid you may not be fit enough to take part in more strenuous and challenging races? Do you find regular walks and hikes too boring? Don’t worry, there may just be the thing for you.
Happening on Saturday, 3 March 2018 at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay from 7am to 2.30pm, District Race will be making its global debut in Singapore, and it’ll be a very different kind of race you’re used to.
WHAT EXACTLY IS DISTRICT RACE?
If you’re a fan of Pokemon GO or have even dabbled in Ingress, then you’ll know all about how the innovative and fun ways Augmented Reality (AR) can enhance your real life. District Race aims to make full use of AR to make your urban exploration experience a special one.
The objective of the game is simple: navigate your way through the different districts shown on your map (The Grid) and make your way to the numerous checkpoints shown in the app. Each checkpoint will grant you points which you can monitor on a live leaderboard, making the competition even more intense.
The Singapore Grid features 5 Districts – 1) Gardens, 2) Chinatown, 3) Downtown, 4) Uptown and 5) Kallang. There are 80 virtual Checkpoints and Challenges on the grid and you have 2 hours to clear as many checkpoints and challenges as you can.
However, it’s not about how fast you complete it, but how many points you get at the end of the race. So you can feel free to strategise and collaborate with others to optimise your race experience, or you can go solo and try to beat everyone else.
On the race day itself, there will be several interactive activities and games at the District Base starting point which make use of virtual reality (VR) and AR that you can enjoy.
The event promises to bring participants a one-of-a-kind experience as there are no set routes and no fixed objectives for you to follow. All you need is your fully-charged phone, the app, a sense of adventure, and maybe a partner or two.
IS IT WORTH YOUR TIME?
Having attended one of the District Race weekly missions to get a feel of how it was going to work, it definitely felt like a fun experience, especially if you go with friends.
The app was intuitive and easy to use (just login via Facebook) and after a few quick screen prompts about the current mission details, your time officially starts. It was then up to me how I wanted to approach the different checkpoints.
The Grid that I tried seemed to be on a smaller scale for that day, so expect to be walking or running much more on the actual race day. Remember there is a time limit for participants so you may not realistically reach all checkpoints.
Checkpoints were relatively easy to get to, and some of them even provided different challenges for you to complete in order to score points. These included short quizzes, photo scan challenges, as well as time trials.
Checkpoint challenges. (Images courtesy of District Race.)
The main challenge for this would be to figure out where exactly you want to go and how you want to score points. If you’ve been used to taking part in structured races, it may be a little tricky and overwhelming at first. Having said that, once you get started, you can easily make use of the in-app map to find the best path you should take to your next objective.
Of course, the one thing people may be concerned about is safety. Like in Pokemon GO, you may end up staring at your screen more than your surroundings, which can make things a little more dangerous. But as long as you look around when crossing roads, you should be fine. If you’re more adventurous, chances are you’ll end up in some hidden back alleys or grassy paths that should be relatively safer.
At the end of the day, there are prizes on the line and you do need to try your best to get as many points as possible. But if you just want to have a fun walkabout with your friends, that’s fine too. District Race can be as intense or relaxing as you want it to be.
If you want to do something out of the ordinary, you can definitely give district race a try. Get out there and explore your world, and don’t forget your power bank.
Register for District Race here.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer