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The Chestermere Rotary Club is looking to the lessons learned at last year’s Amazing Race as they plan this year’s fundraiser.
“Last year was a pass, but barely,” said Rotary Club Member Jason McKee.
He admits that they faced several challenges with the race last year.
“Last year’s event had problems that were right on the surface for everyone to see,” he said.
Last year can be considered a success because the club did raise some money to use in support of their mandate in Chestermere.
“We didn’t reach our target, that was one problem,” he said.
They also only managed to register half as many teams as they had room for.
The physical difficulty of the challenges and the potential for an injury also created some concerns last year.
“One person thought the task was a little too physical,” said McKee.
In response to these concerns they are looking to improve the balance between tasks being challenging while reducing and eliminating the risk of injury.
The goal is to find the sweet spot between adventure and safety for the race.
“The sense of adventure is central to the experience,” he said.
“There needs to be a real sense of adventure and at the same time there needs to be safeguards,” said McKee.
With the lessons learned front of mind, the Rotary Club is working hard to make this year’s race bigger and better.
“The way that feeds into us growing going forward, first and foremost that we listened and that we build our next plan around those comments,” said McKee.
They are working on changes to address the problems from last year while maintaining the spirit of fun and adventure that participants love about the event.
“There should be room for always improving if we stick with the things people give us good comments on and find a way to mitigate the risks toward things people comment negatively on,” he said.
Despite the challenges of running the fundraising event, McKee said that most people really enjoy the event.
“The experiences overall are fun, are overall positive.
“People like the exercise and like the competition,” he said, “they like most of what there is about it.”
The biggest change to this year’s event is that it will be held on the Saturday afternoon rather than the morning as in past races.
With this change the race will then be followed by an evening dinner and party.
The club decided to make this change after speaking to last year’s competitors.
“They said it was a lot of fun but it was a bit of a letdown when it fizzled out at two in the afternoon,” he said.
“They wanted to ride that high a little bit more and share the experience with each other more,” said McKee.
Organizers hope that by changing the time and having an after party this year’s racers will have that opportunity to celebrate with friends and family and keep the fun going longer.
So far, all that McKee can say for certain about the after party is that there will be music and that it will be indoors.
“It’ll be open to the public for a door fee if you did not run the race,” he said.
Competitors, organizers, sponsors and volunteers will all get free entry to the after party.
McKee also thinks that asking people to be up and ready to race for 8 a.m. on a Saturday can turn people off participating.
“A lot of people enjoy their leisure time to have a nice relaxing Saturday morning,” he said.
The change of time is the only scheduling change that the club is looking at making.
Race organizers are still working out the final details but are pretty sure the race will be held on Sept. 23, which is their usual weekend for the race.
“For the last three years…we’ve hosted the weekend following the country fair,” he said.
“We just need to lock in a few more pieces to declare that date but that’s the one we want,” said McKee.
They are hoping to have the event planned with registration opening in late March.
“That’s a bit of an ambitious timeline to be perfectly honest,” said McKee.
The other big change that has been made is behind the scenes.
Every member of the club is involved in the planning and running of the Amazing Race.
“We’re committed to this being our only fundraising event each year, every year,” he said.
As part of this renewed dedication, none of the club members will be competing in the race this year.