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!