Participants crossed the finish line of the Grand River Amazing Race sweaty and exhausted, but exuberant last Saturday.
The race was part of the family fun weekend organized by the Woolwich Kin Club.
Based on the popular television show, the Grand River Amazing Race included teams of two or three who set out from West Montrose down the Grand River and surrounding area where teams would work through different challenges along the route.
“Pardon the pun but it was amazing,” joked organizer Bill McBay. “The weather was great and we had most people we have ever seen come out and partake in the weekend events including the race, movies and the carnival.”
Funds raised during the pledge drive for the race and the family fun weekend came to more than $42,000, with proceeds going to the Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region.
The winning team, Winmar Restoration Girls Gone Wild, not only raised the most pledges, $3,601.50, but also clocked in the best time of one hour and 29 minutes.
For raising the most funds, team mates Kendra Ainlay, Rachel McCorriston and Michelle Schomphe shared a luxury camper, including a hot tub, for the weekend and will be defending champions for next year’s race.
“I thought it was a lot of fun. It was a lot more challenging than I thought it was going to be,” said Ainlay. “A lot of teams gave us a run for our money but it was all in fun.”
Ainlay admits that the real challenge were the weeks prior to the race where her team had to go head-to-head with other teams to win top fundraiser.
“It was really competitive for weeks and weeks before the race even started. I was constantly checking the website to see how many pledges we had compared to other teams and finally on race day we were able to put a face to the team names that we were competing against raising pledges,” she said. “We all did such a great job raising money for Women’s Crisis Services.”
Contestants of the race gathered more than $22,000 in pledges.
Ainlay said having three team members worked out to an advantage when it came to finding sponsors and working to raise money but when it came to race day they found that they had to fight harder to keep up, especially in the canoe portion of the race.
“There were three of us and other teams only had two and were able to canoe a lot faster
down the river than we were because we had more weight in our canoe. And at each challenge only one member was allowed to participate so it did not matter if we had two members or three.”
McBay, president of the Kin Club of Woolwich, said feedback from contestants was 100 per cent positive, and many of them plan to come back again and participate.
“We think that we could double the number of teams next year, if not more, which would double the amount of money that we raised through pledges,” he said.
One of the challenges organizers faced was trying to draw people out because it is a destination event.
“It’s not like you are driving by downtown Elmira and you see a fair in one of the major parking lots – you have to know ahead of time that we are holding the event,” said McBay.
Next year he hopes to approach charities and have those organizations look after the route challenges, which will take away some of the stress of the organizers finding for volunteers and will give the racers an option as to what charity their pledges will help.
“We hope that will increase the number of teams we will get next year because if somebody wants to race for MS because they know someone with the disease or heart and stroke or breast cancer, they can do that. Assuming that their choice of charity have signed on to look after one of our challenges, then we will give the money directly to them,” said McBay.