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Blockditarod Rules

CHIditarod. Block. Party.

Imagine an epic CHIditarod as you know and love. Costumed revelers expertly piloting their decorated shopping carts on a cold Chicago morning in the name of charity, chaos, and glory in a raucous scene that is often imitated but never equaled. Picture yourself at the legendary starting line Yard, with teams and carts full of energy and excitement building towards the launch of the annual CHIditarod race. Except… this year there is no race. And no checkpoints. The barricades never move and the Yard party keeps on rockin’ all day with music, art cart installations, and a talent show beauty pageant grand spectacle gong show that you, your cart, and your team can participate in. Mush.

Who can participate?
Anyone and everyone, provided you are at least 21 years old, pre-registered, fully vaccinated, and follow our COVID-19 policy. Spread the word by forwarding this web site to anyone you know. No children are allowed at the event, sorry!

Does weather affect the event?
Absolutely not. The event happens rain or shine, blizzard, breeze or tornado. In 2006 it was 50 degrees and sunny. In 2007 and 2008 it was snowing. In 2014 it was in the teens and snowing. Note that this year you won’t be “running” between checkpoints as well.What does this mean? Two words: Be prepared! There is no bad weather, just poor wardrobe choices.

What is this going to cost me?
Your dignity. Plus an entry fee. Check out our pricing and registration info. One of the best things about the CHIditarod is that there are tons of ways to participate. See our prizes page for the latest information on how you can be a winner at the CHIditarod.

Should we wear costumes?
Absolutely. Definitely. Creativity is a huge part of this event. Wild costumes and insane themes are not required per se, but wholly encouraged. The most important rule of CHIditarod is… fun is mandatory. 95% of all teams have costumed themes. It’s epic. Pure street theater. Google around for past photos and inspiration! Please be tasteful with your costumes, it’s super lame if your costume could be construed as offensive. If so, you will probably be sent home. You have been warned.

Who has the final say?
The judges have final say over all prizes and winners. This is complete and final.  Judges have sole discretion over all points awarded or deducted, prizes awarded, which prizes are being awarded, race rules, all laws of physics, what time it is, and what happened in the past, all of which are subject to change without notice.

Is this a free block party?

No. This is a block party style CHIditarod event. It’s not an actual block party. Everyone must be pre-registered either as a volunteer or pre-paid as a team or individual in order to enter.

New & Notable in 2022

  • Everyone must adhere to our COVID-19 Policy in order to participate.
  • Teams of 4 people will be allowed to register in addition to the traditional 5 person team.
  • Team check in on race day starts at 10:00am and closes at 11:00am. Yes, a one an hour window!
  • There is a zoom orientation at Wednesday Feb 22nd, 7:30pm CT
  • Review everything in Participant Resources
  • You must bring a mask with you! There will be situations where you will want it, or it will be required (e.g. you go indoors).

General Team Rules

  • The carts must be pulled doggie-sled style: 3 or 4 people in front with ropes pulling the cart (the dawgs), and one person running behind the cart steering (the musher). This configuration represents the theoretically ideal power-to-steerage ratio of 4:1, and must be observed at all times.
    • Team = 4 or 5 Racers with their cart
    • Cart = Physical shopping cart to be taken home and returned after the race
    • Racer = a human being who is participating and registered to race, also known as “Dawgs” or “Mushers”
  • No assisted movement other than your own feet (sorry roller derby girls – we still love you).
  • You must respect all local, state, and federal laws and ordinances, including those governing traffic, littering, dumping, alcohol consumption, cannabis use, and theft, for example.

CHIditarod Core Philosophy

The primary mission of the CHIditarod is to harness the love and energy of Chicagoans to forge positive relationships and social good across our communities. The annual CHIditarod event aims to accomplish this goal by fostering a culture of mutual care and creative community engagement.

Flagrant violation of these core philosophies will result in exclusion from the event; violations include, but are not limited to, disrespecting others or the property of others, displaying inappropriate racial or cultural stereotypes, participating in or promoting hate speech, enacting sabotage that borders on assault, and wasting food for sabotage or other ill-conceived purposes. Such behaviors bring harm to members of our community and are therefore harmful to all of us.

All participants and volunteers are required to read and agree to uphold the core philosophy before participating in the event.

Carts & Art Carts

Yes, you need a shopping cart, and you need to rock it. Start with the Cart Rules to learn the basic requirements.

What is an Art Cart?

See our Art Cart page for all the details.


Yes, you read that right… bribes. CHIditarod volunteers love being bribed for numerous amounts of things. No one at CHIditarod, volunteers, bike marshals included, can require a team to bribe them, BUT! bribes do help grease the wheels of the volunteers, provide an outlet for creativity, and could help you land some sweet prizes.


Can we try to prevent other teams from winning? i.e. SABOTAGE?
Not at Blockditarod. Life is hard enough right now already, so just leave the sabotage at home in 2022 and focus that creative energy into your theme or some sweet bribes instead.


As you have done in years past, please plan accordingly to water your dawgs over the course of a long, cold day. Reduce waste by bringing reusable cups, and our friends at Cobra Lounge will be serving drinks and food all day.

Can I bring my real dogs?
No…please, no.


How do I register?
First, read this entire page of rules. Still good? Rad. Now visit our registration page and follow all instructions carefully. Don’t jeopardize your chances of entering because you didn’t read all of the instructions. Registration is limited to 50 teams and closes on February 15, 2023 at Midnight CT! As usual, there is NO day-of registration.


  • Each Team (One Cart/4 or 5 Racers) must be registered and paid for separately, including Cart deposit.
  • Each Team (One Cart/4 or 5 Racers) is responsible for bringing 69 lbs of food.
  • Each Team is a single Cart with 4 or 5 Racers attached to it. If you have more than 5 Racers participating with your team, you must register an additional Team for every 4 or 5 Racers.
  • It is possible to have enter more than one team and have each team consist of 4 racers (Special for 2022).
  • You will be assigned the number of bracelets to match the number of Racers registered. No more no less.


  • You have 1 Team, 1 Cart, and 4 Racers: One Cart registration, 4 Racers each, 69 lbs of food
  • You have 1 Team, 1 Cart, and 5 Racers: One Cart registration, 5 Racers each, 69 lbs of food
  • You have 2 Teams, 2 Carts and 8 Racers: Two Cart registrations, 4 Racers each, 138 lbs of food
  • You have 2 Teams, 2 Carts and 10 Racers: Two Cart registrations, 5 Racers each, 138 lbs of food
  • But what if you have 2 Teams, 2 Carts and 12 Racers?
    Either find two (or three) more Racers for a third Team, or drop two (to four) Racers.
    The rules are “One Team = One Cart, 4 or 5 Racers”…
    Racers must always be in denominations of 4 or 5.


Solve Hunger & Power your Local Community!

Fundraising for CHIditarod is one of the most powerful ways you can participate with us in our fight to end hunger. You can make a difference whether on a team or as an individual while competing for trophies and bragging rights. To learn what this is all about, and why it rocks, check out the Fundraising page.

Food Drive

The CHIditarod is a food drive — 69 pounds per cart is required!
In addition to being an outstandingly fun time, the CHIditarod is first and foremost a food drive. Your team must show up with 69 pounds of food or more to race in the CHIditarod!

What is good food to donate?
The Greater Chicago Food Depository requests that you please do not bring items in glass jars or any kind of candy or toiletries. GCFD’s most needed foods are: peanut butter, canned tuna, canned chili, canned beans, canned soup, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned stew, and canned fish. All items need to be non-perishable and shelf stable.

Please do not bring anything in glass, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, chips, candy, dairy, fruit cups, anything breakable, or perishable goods. 

How do teams deal with the required food poundage during the race?
Teams don’t. All food is collected at the start of the event. Bring your required poundage of food to the start (aka the Yard). Before you can enter into The Yard, your food will need to be weighed at the Greater Chicago Food Depository truck. No team is allowed to finish their check-in process without the required poundage of food, nor will they be allowed into The Yard where all the cool things happen. We aren’t joking. Friends who come to meet you or watch can bring food themselves to donate. There will be donation bins at the starting line and finish line, but not at the awards ceremony. Remember – CHIditarod is a charity event, and there are substantial prizes for the teams that collect the most food. And please – high-protein non-perishable foods are preferred.

We’ve collected a ton of food. Is there a way for us to drop it off before race day?
Perhaps! Please email for details.


Something at the event has made me feel unsafe or unwelcome. What should I do?
The CHIditarod shopping cart race is guided by a Core Philosophy of mutual respect, and we expect all participants to abide by that philosophy. If you see something that looks out of place or if someone at this event makes you feel unsafe or unwelcome, please report it as soon as possible.

Reports can be made in person to any CHIditarod Core Organizer (“Coreganizer”). Coreganizers can be identified by their ARM BANDS printed with the CHIditarod patch emblem. If you have trouble locating one, you may approach any CHIditarod volunteer (like a checkpoint manager or a bike marshal) and ask for help finding a Coreganizer. Anyone wishing to make a report is welcomed to bring a friend for support if they would like to do so. You may also let the Coreganizer you speak with know if you feel that the report should be shared with an emergency contact or law enforcement.

If you wish to make an anonymous report during or after the event, you may do so online by clicking HERE. We can’t follow up on anonymous reports directly, but we will do our best to investigate and take whatever actions may be needed to prevent reoccurrence.

Anyone who violates our Core Philosophy and makes others feel unsafe or unwelcome reduces the value of this event for all who participate. We really, really, really want you to have fun at the CHIditarod. People like you make this day awesome. We’re glad you’re here.