The first Amazing Race in Tillsonburg, last October, raised an ‘amazing’ amount of money for the Helping Hand Food Bank, and organizer Jason Kane would like to see the 2nd annual Amazing Race improve on that success.
“We need contestants, we need vendors, we need businesses to have some fun,” said Kane.
“We’re also looking for sponsors,” he added, “to raise money for a good cause.”
Tillsonburg’s second Amazing Race is planned for Saturday, August 18. Moving it from the Thanksgiving weekend into August, said Kane, will make it easier for families to enter teams.
“Last year I had a lot of parents who wanted to do it with their kids, but I wasn’t sure with the cash money if I could do it ($500 went to the winning team donated by Kane – Dominion Lending Centre and Carrie Smith – The Cooperators C.L. Smith Insurance Group). I’ve been told as long as one person on the team is 18-or-older if they do win it, that’s fine. So I can let the parents and kids participate this year and I wanted to do it before they went back to school.”
Last year’s Race started at the fountain on the corner of Broadway and Oxford Street, and the two-person teams raced up Broadway to Sobeys, making side trips to Tillson Ave and Bidwell Street, stopping at designated businesses to complete challenges. The first team returned to the fountain finish line about 1 p.m.
“When our people are running around with their (Amazing Race) shirts in the stores, people are asking ‘what’s going on?’ and ‘what are they doing?’ It was a lot of fun.”
This year Kane is considering a 9:30 a.m. start, and moving the starting area to Coronation Park to take advantage of the frisbee golf course for the first challenge.
“Last year my timing was way off. We started at 9 and when they got to some of the locations they weren’t open yet.”
The first teams flew through the first five challenges, reaching stores like Trinkets Gift Shoppe before the doors opened at 10 a.m. The first racers, who had snacks with them, also reached the lunch area at 10:30 a.m., instead of noon, which meant lunch was not ready yet.
“Last year I had to juggle some stuff… and it got interesting at the end,” he laughed. “I was thinking, ‘I can’t believe everybody’s at this place already.'”
Racers started arriving at the final stage, Sammy Krenshaw’s, around 12:30 p.m. and had completed the race by 1 p.m.
“I had to run there to see if Keith (Beres) was still around because they were supposed to be coming back at 4 to get ready for 4:30 – that’s when I thought they’d be there. As I was talking to him, the first two came running up – ‘they’re here!'”
Learning from that experience, Kane said the plan is to add more businesses to provide more challenges and stretch out the course a bit.
“And maybe have them make the challenges a little more difficult.”
Based on photos from the 2017 Amazing Race gallery, last year’s challenges included building pizza boxes at Domino’s Pizza, finding food at Sobeys, painting at Nu-Decor, making pizza at Matteo’s, and bowling at Sammy Krenshaw’s.
“They were just whipping through it,” Kane smiled. “I had it set up so if they took longer than 15 minutes, they’d take a penalty. They just sent them on their way.”
By starting the event at Coronation Park, everyone can begin at the same time rather than a staggered-start system. Each team had started 10 minutes apart last year.
“Whenever they come in, their time is their time.”
There is also ample parking for the event at Coronation Park, he added.
Each contestant donates $25 to the food bank as a registration fee and the team’s goal is to raise as much money as they can. Last year ‘The Moons’ raised $500.
“The team who raised the most money last year had a head start. What I might do this year is they’ll get a time bonus at the end.”
Registration forms will be available on the website, www.tillsonburgamazingrace.ca.
Three of the six Amazing Race teams have confirmed they are returning this year, so far, and a half dozen businesses have committed to setting up challenges.
“I’m hoping maybe we can get 10 teams this year. If we can get more, even better. Everyone had a lot of fun and we were able to give away a $500 cash prize last year.”
All six teams completed the course last year, he noted.
“Some of the challenges were tricky, some were easy. They said it didn’t feel too bad, distance-wise. I think the last team came in about 2 p.m. and they had started, I think, at 9:45.
“Next week I’ll do the ‘walk around’ to see if I can get more businesses signed up. I think they had a lot of fun, so I’m pretty sure most of the businesses that did it last year will probably do it again. A lot of the vendors said it was a blast.”
Proceeds from the Amazing Race, and the donated food, will once go to the Helping Hand Food Bank.
“It’s always a good cause,” said Kane, noting they were able to donate $1,200 in cash to the food bank last year and $400-500 worth of food.
A silent auction held at Dominion Lending Centre, 18 Oxford Street, contributed to the food bank donation.