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What is the CHIditarod?

The CHIditarod is a race like none other.  It’s a food drive, a race for charity, a beauty pageant, a bar crawl, spontaneous street theater, and not for the faint of heart. It’s fast, furious, cold, creative, exciting, and very, very fun.

Fun, unleashed.
Fun, free at last.

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 266,919 pounds of food and more than $794,030 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. 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.

Food Donations

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 266,919 pounds donated to date!

Financial Donations

CHIditarod teams continuously amaze us with their fundraising initiatives.. more than $794,030 raised since inception! Get empowered and share your glory in a really big way by fundraising to end hunger. We make it easy.

Learn all about Fundraising

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