15th annual Southern Ontario Amazing Race surpasses $1 million raised
June 5, 2018
The 15th annual Southern Ontario Amazing Race (SOAR) was a landmark event. Held as a fundraiser for the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington, teams selected to participate fundraise to help support the programs of the Foundation. This year, the 20 teams of two raised $72,829 bringing SOAR’s 15-year total funds raised to $1,009,848.
Glenna Banda, the Children’s Foundation Executive Director, is one of the 15 Race Directors and one of the original three co-founders of SOAR. “We are so incredibly proud of what the Race has achieved. What started as a hobby with a couple of friends 15 years ago has grown into this incredible experience that brings so many people together in an exciting and unique way. We work hard to put the Race together and have an army of volunteers behind us. It is an amazing testament of what people can do when they come together, driven by passion. It definitely has surpassed my expectations in the most awesome way.”
While participating teams have an idea of what to expect, there are many surprises along the way. The course of the Race may run anywhere throughout Southern Ontario and this past weekend, on Saturday morning, the teams were bussed from the home base in Guelph to Niagara Falls. Challenges started immediately, with puzzles to solve onboard the bus to determine the order of teams at the first physical challenge, the WildPlay MistRider Zipline to the Falls. Unfortunately, due to high winds, the zipline was called off and teams had to instead run down the hill of the escarpment – and back up – to retrieve their backpacks.
Niagara Falls was host to the next few challenges, including a ride on the Niagara Skywheel to spot their next clue location and a solo trip through Nightmares Fear Factory. Teams then navigated their way by bicycle to Niagara-on-the-Lake with a blind-folded painting challenge at Riverview Cellars and a few puzzle challenges along the way. At Fort George, one team member had to correctly recreate a soldier’s uniform to “release” their partner before heading to the final challenge of the day, a 3-level memory challenge based on wine bottle shapes, colours and labels. Though each team endured their own struggles throughout the day, they all checked-in with smiles at the final pit stop of Day 1, hosted at Niagara Oast House Brewers.
Day 2 started off at Zacada Circus School in Stoney Creek, where teams had a choice of a ninja or clown challenge. Once complete, teams navigated to Victoria Park in Hamilton where another puzzle awaited them, then to Valens Lake Conservation Area for a game of Scrabble, including swimming out into the lake to retrieve their bag of game letters. After lunch break, the Race navigated back to Guelph for a series of challenges including orienteering through the University of Guelph Arboretum, an obstacle course with Jenga at Grange Road Park, signaling with and decoding maritime flags at Riverside Park, successfully completing a white belt nunchaku routine at Sealy Karate School and finally heading downtown to complete challenges at My Kitty Café, The Olive Experience Inc. and The Dragon to buy a coaster and gain enter to the final pit stop and Race finish line hosted at Brothers Brewing Company.
With a combination of physical, mental and skill-testing challenges, SOAR offers a unique adventure-race experience. While some teams excel in speed and strength, others come out on top with brain-teasers and artistic skills. Teams with the greatest success have a fair balance of skills and great communication, identifying each other’s strengths and working together to solve challenges.
This year’s winning team is Brian Irving and Trevor Kennedy, followed by Jay Hahn and Mike Pinkney in a close second. Both teams are returning racers and avid fans of SOAR.
The Race is made possible through sponsorship support so all of the funds raised by teams go directly to the programs of the Children’s Foundation to empower children and youth with opportunities to build hope for lifelong change and break the cycle of poverty.
This year’s generous sponsors include Adventure Guide, Caliburn Engineering Inc., Red Car Service, Cambridge Insurance Brokers Ltd., Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Alliance Roofing Ltd., CAA Guelph, Coldpoint Holdings Ltd., Elliot Coach Lines, Penske Truck Leasing, The UPS Store, Innovation Guelph and Unitron Hearing.
The application period for SOAR 2019 will open in the next few months. Visit www.therace.ca for updates and information.