ON AN OCTOBER MORNING IN 2004, the first Race/LA kicked off on a deserted Mullholland Drive hilltop as twelve teams raced through Hollywood to Downtown L.A. in a day-long scavenger hunt based loosely on The Amazing Race reality show. A follow-up LA Times feature story called Race/LA "an elaborate citywide scavenger hunt and a fun way to discover the city's wide variety of history and culture, revealing Angelenos in every corner of L.A. spending their Saturday a thousand different ways."
Created by Los Angeles resident John Hennessy, Race/LA has been held yearly since 2004 and is now celebrating its tenth year. The 26th and 27th races took place in October 2014. John, who is a long-time fan of the TV show, says, "So many people (myself included) would love to apply to be on shows like The Amazing Race but can't afford to take that much time off from their lives. This is a way to do something similar in just one day - without having to quit your job and leave home for months. Once I got the idea, it just kept growing and growing...and still continues to do so! Although we originally took our inspiration from The Amazing Race, I now see tasks on the show that we've done previously in Race/LA! The race also developed from my love of travel, games and competition - it combines all three in a very unique way."
"Developing each race has also been a very rewarding way to explore the L.A. area. I am awed by the incredible variety and diversity of people, places and activities one can find in this region. Every year I think, 'that's it...we'll never be able to come up with another new race.' And yet every year we do!"
"Of course we can't include tasks like sky diving and bungee jumping, which would take all day just to set up. The activities in Race/LA are things that pretty much anyone can do as long as you're in reasonably good shape. So don't be afraid to sign up because you feel intimidated. And besides, you're going to have a blast regardless of whether you win or lose."
Future plans include an overnight 2-day race that will extend beyond the boundaries of LA County for the first time.
IN THE FALL OF 2007, CityRace Urban Adventure Hunts were launched as a shorter and less physical alternative to the more complex full-day Race/LA. To date several thousand people have participated in over 250 CityRace hunts. In addition to three Downtown Los Angeles hunts, 15 others are held throughout the year in popular southern California locations including Hollywood, Santa Monica and Old Pasadena. 2011 saw our first Orange County event with Laguna Beach Art Adventure. In 2013 we expanded to Ventura, Santa Barbara and Riverside, and held our first CityRace Disneyland and CityRace Disney California Adventure, two of the most popular events in our 10-year history.
December 2014 marked the launch of our newest interactive game, Escape Room LA. Located in downtown Los Angeles and already hugely successful, our two escape rooms have hosted thousands of participants - including Neil Patrick Harris, Conan O'Brien, Rosario Dawson and more! Details are on the Escape Room LA website here.
Karen Chen began sharing her skills with CityRace and Race/LA in 2012, participating in brainstorming sessions and monitoring races. She enjoys watching participants have fun with the variety of experiences of each race and meeting them. An Alum of UC Riverside, she has utilized her skills in positions from marketing to data analysis. She now works as a part-time merchandiser for an online retailer and volunteers for Discovery Science Center in Orange County. Although, Karen is analytical and structured in her work; she loves crafting, designing, and creating personalized greeting cards.
John Cordova first experienced CityRace in Hollywood in 2012 and has been coming back ever since to help out, test out and offer feedback in current and new races. He thoroughly enjoys watching racers figure out the clues and puzzles, and loves getting into character when the time calls for it. John attended Purdue University where he studied Biology before moving to California and then studying Radio-TV and Film at Cal-State Fullerton. He runs his own private tutoring business based in La Habra and also teaches at a local high school there. While always busy, he loves making time for good reading, good food, and of course, CityRace events.
John Hennessy is the creator and founder of Race/LA (in 2004) and CityRace Urban Adventure Hunts (in 2007). He graduated from Emerson College in Boston and also attended New England Conservatory of Music. John has produced and directed theatre in Boston and in New York, where he was artistic director of New York Theatre Group. When he has free time, he spends it travelling (Southeast Asia is a favorite destination!), playing games of all types, and enjoying life here in the beautiful state of California. John still creates each race - with the invaluable assistance of all the people listed on this page.
Ben Jet has been active in the arts since high school. He first got involved with Race/LA as a photographer and now uses his business and communication degree to assist with many areas of operations. He loves the creative and imaginative parts of working on our events, and being able to watch people discover and solve puzzles and clues we've designed. In his spare time Jet is also a singer and snowboarder.
Steph Sciortino has 17 years of event experience and is just getting started in Los Angeles. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she is looking forward to making Southern California home. Being involved with Race/LA has given her the greatest opportunities to explore and experience all that LA has to offer. Also becoming more involved with the Angel City Derby Girls, LA's Women Flat Track league, she enjoys volunteering and making new friends.