Revving up for Routes to Riches race

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Dr. Seuss’s wonderfully wise Oh, the Places You’ll Go! may be the perfect theme for the second annual Great Pictou County Routes to Riches race.

Participants in the July 15 fundraiser will more than likely see and visit places in Pictou County they have never seen before, say organizers Jan Keefe and Stacey Dlamini of Pictou County Roots for Youth Society.

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

And if race participants steer themselves in the right direction in record time, they will win the $500 grand prize. Second place wins $250.

Last year, 24 teams and more than 100 participants signed on to race around Pictou County looking for clues, answer questions on Pictou County trivia and participate in challenges. This year will follow the same format – with a few twists.

The theme this year, in keeping with Canada 150, is ‘The Story of Us’.

“Our mystery locations present some wonderful opportunities as far as learning more about our history,” Keefe smiled. “And the volunteers that will be working with us on this race are knowledgeable as well. The mystery locations present wonderful opportunities to learn more about our history.”

She noted, “It’s been fun for us to come up with some of our locations and delve into history.”

Keefe and Dlamini, who are both originally from Pictou County, admitted they learned things they did not know about their home community and visited places they did not know existed.

“I was in places I’ve never been before,” Keefe smiled.

“Stacey and I were constantly surprised at some of the things that are in Pictou County and the beauty of this county as well. And when we put this race together last year, that was one of the things we wanted to highlight — the lesser known places, the beautiful places that we might drive by and not even know they are there.”

Organizers are trying to make it a race that appeals to all ages, all levels of ability, to families that just want to go out and have fun and to teams who are more competitive. “But we really must stress that teams must follow the rules of the road. We want people to have fun but we want it to be a safe event as well. And we want teams to be respectful of the places they go.”

While being cautious to not give away any clues to this year’s event, Keefe said, “I will say that teams should have a team member with a charged cellphone for pictures. They won’t want to tweet where they are and give away any secrets, but they may have to take a picture or two and we’re hoping they will share those pictures at the end so we can create a photo album.”

The Great Pictou County Routes to Riches race is one of two major fundraisers the organization holds to raise funds for the programs and services it provides — Coldest Night of the Year, held in February, and this, summer fundraiser. Last year, CNOY succeeded in raising about $40,000 and the race brought in close to $15,000 and they are hoping for at least the same, if not more, this year.

“The need at Roots House has been greater this year,” Keefe said. “We had a lot of young people staying with us.”

Roots House gets most of its monetary support from the community and uses donations for heat and lights, groceries, general house repairs, transporting youth to appointments, and more. “We want to be able to continue offering those services to our young people.”

So, while Roots for Youth is asking for pledges to keep operating and providing for youth, it is also giving back. “We are promising a great day of fun!” Keefe smiled.

Teams can fundraise until July 7. Organizers need to know the number of people who will be participating so they can arrange for T-shirts and barbecue items and goody bag numbers. “So if you haven’t registered yet, time is running out,” said Keefe. “Just give us a call and let us know if you’re putting in a team because there’s a prize for the best team name.”

There are two ways to register. Forms can be picked up at any Scotiabank branch in Pictou County or by visiting To enter, teams must fundraise at least $100.

Jan Keefe, left, and Stacey Dlamini of Pictou County Roots for Youth, are ready for the second annual Great Pictou County Routes to Riches race. (Jardine photo)

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