Showing: 1 - 6 of 6 RESULTS

Anna (Raced 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013)

My name is Anna, and I’ve had the privilege of racing for four years with my amazing sister, Julia.

There have been so many fantastic moments and challenges in the race, I don’t think I can list just one! Some memorable challenges were rappelling down the side of a church tower, going for a ride in a plane searching for clues, singing a song from The Lion King on a stage in Old Quebec Street Mall, building a trebuchet and ball-launching toward Dundurn Castle, to name a few. My favourite memory was getting to know all the other racers and comparing stories together at the end of day one and two. Also, meeting so many incredible directors, volunteers and random people from different communities throughout the race, who helped us with driving, directions, and challenges.

Our two best fundraisers were a massive Yard Sale and an Online Auction. Our friends, family members and local businesses were so generous, contributing to our cause! It was amazing to see how much you can raise with a lot of small and less expensive items. It all adds up!

When it comes to suggestions for upcoming racers, start fundraising early and often! If you’re not from Guelph, take some time to study the map and learn the main roads, parks, and landmarks. It can help, especially when looking for the finish line! Hitchhiking is fun but challenging; a sign is helpful! Get two race shirts! You’ll appreciate a clean shirt on Day two. Take some time to get to know your fellow racers, it can be helpful along the race, and it makes it a lot more fun!

John (Raced 2012, 2013 and 2014)

John here, (the less valuable) half of Team John and Amanda, former SOAR racers in 2012, 2013 and 2014. I had the privilege of racing with my then fiancé, now wife, Amanda in all three years. We’d always been interested in shows like the Amazing Race and Survivor, so much so that early on in our relationship, we’d watch the Amazing Race and would strategize with every challenge we saw on TV -who would do the Road Blocks based on the clues left behind, that sort of thing. Heights were always Amanda’s thing. I think it’s safe to say that it was a complete thrill when we were told we were chosen to race with SOAR in 2012 (even more so because we’d applied before and didn’t make the cut).

Our best SOAR memory can’t easily be picked because there were so many highs, so many lows, and so many learning experiences. For example, I quickly learned that first year that a 6’5” man running at a car shouting at a driver asking for a ride isn’t the most effective way to travel: The path to success is for me to hide in the bushes while Amanda secures the ride. Early in the 2012 race, I was reminded of Amanda’s competitive side when she ordered me to pose nude in front of a professional artist in order to cut a few minutes of our race, she’ll take any advantage that presents itself. Later that day in 2012 was the first time in our SOAR careers that we took the lead. We held 1st place for all of one challenge, maybe about 45 minutes. Still, it was awesome.

Our fundraising strategy was pretty serious. We knew if we raced, we wanted to be competitive and the STOAR’s advantages were a huge draw for us. Our strategy focused on two main areas, one was simply approaching our network of family and friends – early and often. This allowed us to get some initial momentum for a good start. While we hoped and waited for our supporters to lend a hand, we took some time to approach local businesses for any freebies they might have (beer gift packs from microbreweries, grocery store gift cards, etc). We took all that free swag and created a pub trivia event at a rented out venue where we had a trivia contest and raffle. We did this twice and each time it was pretty successful. And so much fun (we were told) that our network asked us to hold a similar event in the future, even if we weren’t racing… just for fun!

Our three highlights would have to be 1) meeting so many fun, dedicated and wonderful people… racers, volunteers, organizers, it’s such a fun weekend each year to see everyone again; 2) knowing that all this fun has real results for our community in support of the Children’s Foundation, and 3) the race itself, the three years we raced were so much fun. The unique and thrilling challenges and all the highs and lows all weekend are a real thrill.

If I can give just one piece of advice to racers: Be sure to book the Monday off of work. You’ll need it! Oh, and have fun!

Emma (Raced 2008, 2009 and 2010)

My name is Emma (above right). I raced in SOAR three amazing times (2008, 2009, 2010) with two different partners.  The first two years I raced with a friend from university, Jocelyn. The third year, Jocelyn had decided that she wanted to become a Race Director and I was asked by a former competitor from another SOAR team, Dana (above left), whether I would be interested in racing with her. Dana and I had done a couple of smaller adventure races together but nothing on the scale of SOAR. Still, somehow that was both of our best finishes – maybe because we didn’t know each other as well so there weren’t many disagreements, or maybe just because the challenges were a good fit for us.

Thinking back, I don’t think I can choose one best SOAR memory. Crossing the finish line and knowing you’ve made it through is always a highlight, as is hearing funny stories from other teams about challenges, rides, and people they’ve met. Some of my favourite challenges included solving puzzles such as how to safely transport a wolf, chicken and seed across the river knowing the wolf would eat the chicken and the chicken would eat the seed if they were left alone together, rappelling down an apartment building in Guelph, and beating a poker hand detour.

Our best fundraiser was probably a silent auction, especially when we upgraded the technology and got it online as well as live. But you can’t discount going door to door and something as simple as bottle drives – Dana constantly had neighbors dropping off bottles on her front step and I managed to collect tons of empties through my softball team.

To all you upcoming racers I would say enjoy every minute of it. It’s tough, but believe in yourself, take a step back and reread the clue. You can do it! You might need to work at it and try it a few times in a few different ways but don’t give up. The feeling of pride, exhaustion and excitement at the end of the weekend is one of the best and most exhilarating things you will ever experience. And you get to do it while supporting an amazing cause. Also, fund raise as much as you can – the advantages you earn are invaluable during the race – especially if used at the right time.

Best of luck racers – I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you this year!

Jocelyn (Raced 2008 & 2009)

Hi! I’m Jocelyn (above right), and I raced in SOAR 2008 and 2009 with my good friend Emma (above left). Emma had heard of SOAR through a friend, and we both decided we were crazy enough to give it a try. We put our application together, took some amazingly awesome application pictures, and crossed our fingers that we would be one of the lucky teams selected. Thinking about the fateful ‘you have been accepted’ email still brings a smile to my face. Participating in SOAR as a Racer (2008-2009), and as a Director (2010-2017… and maybe again someday) is not a decision that I regret at all! SOAR was one of the best experiences of my life.

My best memory while racing in SOAR was a Detour challenge where Emma and I could either paint each other’s face like a tiger, or try to find an audio clue burned on 1 CD amongst thousands (or so it seemed). We quickly decided that our artistic skills were more likely to pull us through the challenge faster than the ‘luck’ we would require to find the CD. We painted AMAZING tiger faces, and were out of the challenge in a haste. The thing about SOAR is that you are SO focused on the next task, that you can forget where you just where, or what you had just done. This was the case for me as Emma and I read the Travel clue following the tiger challenge and headed to our next destination. As we were looking for a ride, I noticed that people kept giving us strange looks… I thought to myself ‘Gee, this is an odd town!’ I then realized both of us were still in our tiger makeup, and likely looked like fools trying to hitch a ride. We had a good laugh about it!

Emma and I did a lot of fundraisers for SOAR, but our best one was a Silent Auction. We asked local businesses for donations, and put them up for bidding in person and online. The fundraisers really helped us in our races, because we were able to buy quite a few Tune-Ups to help us along our way.

As for race tips, my best advice would be to go out there and give it your all! In fundraising, in racing. I think it also helps to know your strengths and your partner’s strengths and to go into each challenge knowing which of you is leading your team through that particular challenge. Communicate clearly! And, of course, Read. Your. Clue.

Sabina (Raced 2015 & 2017)

My name is Sabina, and I raced in both 2015 and 2017 with my husband, Ben.

When thinking about my favourite SOAR memory, it’s difficult to pin down just one! The signature “ultra-cool challenge” is always such a highlight! It’s usually something unique that you probably wouldn’t otherwise get to do on your own and it adds so much to the race experience and feels like such a reward for the hard work of fundraising.

Another excellent memory was remembering the things you end up doing that are ultimately out of your comfort zone or just really challenging. An example of this was in 2017. We faced a logging challenge and Ben, and I didn’t properly look at what was around us before deciding which of us would do the challenge. I chose to do the log roll not realizing just how giant this log was and by the time I saw the size of the log, it was too late to change tasks. Once I figured out how to use the hook properly, even though it was hard, it was so satisfying to feel like I can do way more than I often give myself credit for!

Our best fundraiser was organizing a huge garage sale. Friends and family donated stuff for us to sell, plus we had our things to sell. We’re lucky that we have a big workshop to store stuff in so people were able to drop-off donations well ahead of time. That said, it’s still a ton of work to organize, and I had to deal with dropping off unwanted items to Goodwill, etc. In the end, we able to raise $1000 the first time & $700 the second time. What was cool about the second garage sale was that we had repeat customers show up who had come two years prior!!

Our advice for upcoming racers is not to be afraid to work with other teams. You don’t need to have a full-on alliance or anything like that, but it can be gratifying to work together if you’re all having trouble with a challenge. Both times we raced we ended up working with another team on the final challenge (by then we knew we weren’t top three), and the satisfaction of finishing and the hugs and emotions we all shared added to our experience. Yes, it’s a competition, but in the end, those connections and finishing together were rewarding for us. Also, don’t forget to savour the experience of racing. It can get discouraging when you know you’re behind, but your outlook on your race experience can make or break it for you.

Have fun!!

Heather (Raced 2014)

My Name is Heather (right) and I raced in 2014 with my boyfriend (now husband). A month before the race he was in a motorcycle accident and broke his leg. He asked his friend Lindsay (left) to run in his place as he hoped as a teacher/runner, she would make a great partner. We only met twice before we raced together!

Aside from all the amazing adventures I encountered during the weekend, I think it’s the connections with the other racers that meant the most. We arrived last on day one, and when we arrived at camp our fellow racers got out flashlights and helped us put up our tent. It’s that camaraderie that really stuck with me. I’m still in touch with many of the racers, volunteers, and directors.

Our best fundraiser was working with corporate/ business sponsors. We made a point of getting out and exposing the event to our community and reaching out to those familiar business connections. We pulled in a few large cash donations, and many prize donations we used for raffles.

My best tip I can give new racers is to make the fundraiser your number one mission. The weekend/race itself is an awesome experience, but keep reminding yourself what this is all for. The funds raised go to some amazing programs for children, and this is such a significant fundraiser for them.