CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Each year, when mushers gather for Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, another group gathers in Chicago for the “CHIditarod.”
The Chiditarod is part race, part carnival and part food drive in which participants dress in costume and run around the city with shopping carts to gather food that will eventually be donated to The Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Basically, it breaks down like this: Instead of sleds, they use shopping carts; instead of dogs, they have teams of five humans: four pullers and one musher, all of which are in costumes they have designed for themselves and their cart.
According to David Breen, one of the organizers, the Chicago Urban Shopping Cart Race began in 2006 “just for fun.”
“We’ve got a costume bar crawl, shopping cart race, probably the world’s largest mobile food drive, chaos generator, beauty pageant, sabotage-a-thon,” Breen said.
The colorful event draws about 1,000 mushers and spectators on the city’s near West Side.
“If you’ve ever wanted to pour your heart and soul into something, while having so much fun and hanging out with your friends and changing the world — that is CHIditarod,” said co-organizer Liz Campanella.
Since its inception, it’s collected more than 150,000-pounds of food and raised about $200,000 for charity.
The annual race runs through the Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods.
CHIditarod is not affiliated with the Iditarod Trail Committee or the Iditarod race.