harlem routes



 Event To Set to Showcase Harlem While Testing Mental and Physical

Ability at All Active Levels

Harlem, NY – April 10, 2015 – This spring, action and adventure makes its way uptown with the very first installation of Harlem Routes – a mentally and physically challenging scavenger hunt-style race (think Amazing Race) that is set in the beautiful village of Harlem. The event, which takes place on May 2, pits teams against each other to compete in a series of challenges in locations across Harlem as a way to foster discovery, camaraderie and healthy competition among participants.

Created by Harlem resident Kameeka Shirley in partnership with the Harlem Business Alliance, Harlem Routes is open to people of all ages from across the city. There is a grouping for everyone, from families, to all adult teams (including couples and blind dates) consisting of two to four participants who will trek around Harlem, stopping at locations that include historical sites, local restaurants and other notable establishments, where they will compete in a series of challenges.

“Harlem Routes is a true adventure that anyone can do, and everyone should try,” said Shirley. “The route obstacles are designed to allow participants to flex their mental grit and physical strength. Athletes and non athletes of all fitness levels will enjoy participating in Harlem Routes and the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the completion of each challenge,” she added.

Examples of some of the challenges include blind taste tests where contestants will have to identify the ingredients; finding a church that used to be a synagogue and counting the “Stars of David” on the building; and heading over to a local dance studio where they will learn a short dance routine before heading on to their next clue. Only when the tasks are completed correctly will teams learn of their next location. Teams who are the farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the contest progresses. There will be one first place winner in each heat.

“What distinguishes Harlem Routes from other scavenger hunts is the focus on engagement,” says Regina Smith, Executive Director at Harlem Business Alliance, “Participants don’t just solve clues, but they are actually experiencing different businesses by sampling a dish at a new restaurant or trying out a new class at the local gym. It’s a great way for people to learn more about everything Harlem has to offer.”

Harlem Routes is made possible by collaborations with community and city leaders all interested in promoting the charm and uniqueness of our many New York neighborhoods. “I can’t think of a better way to kick off National Small Business Week than with Harlem Routes, which will turn Harlem’s streets into an adventure of learning and discovery for up to a thousand participants from across the city,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Events that showcase our neighborhoods’ culture, history, and local businesses are a win-win – strengthening bonds within our communities and building awareness around the city of what our neighborhoods have to offer,” she added.


  • Harlem Routes is a competition with a mission – race around Harlem with a team of your friends, colleagues or family, while discovering the hidden gems of Harlem’s local businesses, cultural institutions and nonprofit organizations.
  • The race takes place over 5-7 miles, with up to 20 clues and up to 10 challenging activities located all throughout central Harlem.
  • Teams will be eliminated gradually throughout the race until there is one team remaining.


  • There are 3 Waves:
  • Families – Family waves will begin at 12 PM. A family team must have at least one adult over 18 and one child under 13 to qualify. Families may have up to 5 participants. It is recommended that children be at least 5 years old to participate in order to enjoy the full extent of the race. The family wave will be a more condensed version of the adult waves.
  • Blind Date – The “Blind Date” wave will begin at1 PM.  At the starting line, individual registrants will be matched with a random partner. Teams will have the opportunity to switch partners at four checkpoints throughout the competition. However, partners do so at their own risk! If they wait too long for a new partner, those who are farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the contest progresses.
  • General – The General wave will begin at 2 PM. A general team must have all participants over age 18. This wave is perfect for pre-existing teams such as corporate teams, couples, groups of friends, leadership groups, sports teams and Greek Letter Organizations.
  • Teams can consist of 2 to 4 people
  • Families can have up to 5 people
  • Waves of up to 50 teams are released every hour
  • Contestants must complete challenges at each specified location. Upon completion, they will be given a clue to reach the next location. The last teams to check in at each point will be eliminated.
  • There will only be one first place winner in each heat for the adult waves
  • Tickets before May 1 are:
    • $35 for a child up to 17 years old
    • $50 for an individual Adult
    • $40 each for a Group of 4 Adults

*Registrants will have the option of donating to three local nonprofits – Harlem Educational Activities Fund, The Harlem Swing Dance Society, and #TakeCareofHarlem

Harlem Routes is a production of Roda Routes.

About Harlem Routes Founder Kameeka Shirley:

Kameeka did her undergraduate studies in Marketing at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. During her time as an undergraduate, she planned events focused on women and the multicultural student body for her sorority, Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. Upon graduation, she moved to Harlem, New York where she began to work full-time for a financial Institution where her group had national responsibilities to develop, implement and execute brand strategy in the diverse and multicultural markets.

Kameeka has taken continuing education classes at New York University with an interest in social entrepreneurship. In her spare time, Kameeka trains capoeira – an Afro-Brazilian martial art – and spends time with her little sister from Big Brother Big Sister.

About Roda Routes LLC

Roda Routes LLC is an event management social enterprise dedicated to empowering communities through an engaging competition event series. Its purpose is to connect trendsetters, cultural influencers, leaders, problem solvers, and informed citizens with emerging communities to promote economic self-sustainability.

About Harlem Business Alliance

HBA serves as an advocate for the preservation and retention of Harlem’s business community.

The Harlem Business Alliance was founded in 1980 by a group of prominent Harlem business leaders who recognized the void that had resulted from years of disinvestment and abandonment in Harlem and the critical need to mobilize the existing businesses and organizations to come together as a collective voice. Incorporated in 1990 as a class 402 501(c)(3) corporation, HBA has worked diligently to establish Harlem as an economically self-sustaining community.

“Leading the Way through Partnership” is not just a slogan, but HBA’s core philosophy. Over the years, HBA has developed cohesive public/private partnerships to assist existing and emerging businesses, community residents and youth. The high level of participation by our board and members enables us to impact the quality of life in the Harlem community and to make the collective voice of our membership a valuable part of the decision making process at the local, state and federal levels.

HBA’s membership is diverse and representative of the most influential minority owned businesses in the New York City Metropolitan area. Major institutions and corporations operating in and around the Harlem community also share membership within HBA. Collaborative efforts with local and out-of-state organizations occur regularly. For thirty one years, HBA existed from the financial support of its membership and fundraising activities.


Author: HarlemGuy