Time to get your motors runnin’ once again to participate in the annual Routes to Riches Race.
This year will be the third for the adventurous, fun-filled race that serves as a fundraiser for Pictou County for Youth. The race takes place July 14 and people of all ages are encouraged to participate.
Stacey Dlamini, program director says, “Last year’s theme was based on Canada 150 – The Story of Us. This year’s theme is Get Movin’ so our tasks at each destination will be of a physical nature, but we’re still mindful of the fact that teams are comprised of many different individuals with many different fitness levels and ages, so we’ve kept it broad enough so we don’t exclude anybody.”
Dlamini says, “We’re excited about our theme, Get Movin’. That was in response to some feedback we got from teams last year.” She explains that in last year’s event, because of the theme, a lot of the tasks were about information finding or fact funding. “So this year it’s a little bit more physical.”
The format for the race follows the format for the TV show The Amazing Race. “It’s teams of people in motor vehicles travelling to destinations around the county. At each destination they have to complete a task; if they successfully do so they get a green sticker in their passport and on they go. If not, they get a red ‘x’ and get hit with a time penalty, but they can still proceed.”
A team may consist of as many individuals as can fit in one vehicle with a seatbelt for each member. The event will take place within the borders of Pictou County, and will be comprised of six destinations that will expose participants to some of the area’s treasures.
Teams will receive a clue at the starting line that will direct them to their first destination. Once they arrive at their destination, they will have to attempt a task in order to get the clue leading them to their next destination.
Typically, 22-24 teams register annually to participate in the fundraiser. “And that’s a good number because it gives you about 100 participants.”
Dlamini says there is no specific fundraising goal. “But we hope that teams will do as well as they can. The minimum that a team has to contribute to be a part of the race this year is $125 per team. But we certainly hope teams will far exceed that because it’s a fundraiser – one of two annual fundraisers (the biggest fundraiser being the Coldest Night of the Year walk) that we run in support of Roots for Youth, so it goes to a great cause. And it’s a lot of fun.”
Last year’s event raised approximately $10,000. “It’s a smaller fundraiser than Coldest Night but it’s one we dreamt up ourselves so I’m proud of it for that, but it’s a unique fun, family-oriented, adventurous fundraiser.
“It’s just a great way to spend a summer Saturday. You get to explore parts of our county that you probably don’t know exist. So there’s a lovely tourism tie-in in that it shines a spotlight on some of our more out-of-the-way special places.”
It takes a lot of organization – and several months – to put the event together. “Basically when the snow starts to retreat, then we start thinking about this fundraiser. It’s hard to think about it when there’s still snow on the ground. As soon as the first spring plants start to pop up we get busy.”
Dlamini says the organizing committee is certainly not having a difficult time coming up with unique venues and clues. There are no repeated clues from the previous two years. “There’s a lot to explore here, more than people realize. So we have not struggled to find destinations, not at all.”
Registration is open now and teams are encouraged to register early. They can do so by visiting pictoucountyrootsforyouth.com where the landing page is all about the race so participants can download the registration form there, gain access to pledge sheets and such or simply phone 902-695-3241 to register.
Registration is 9 to 10 a.m. on July 14.There’s a kickoff ceremony, then the bell sounds and people rush to their cars. Start and finish line is at the Pictou County Gymnastics Club at South Frederick Street in New Glasgow, and the event always ends with a barbecue.
Can participants expect the unexpected?
“We have some tricks up our sleeve,’ Dlamini laughs. “Participants may be exposed to modes of transport that they are unfamiliar with. And we’ll leave it at that,” she smiles.
Top prize is $500 for the first team.
Stacey Dlamini, program director for Pictou County Roots for Youth, is gearing up for this year’s Routes to Riches Race coming up on July 14. (Jardine photo)