WILSON – Contestants of all ages will meet at 6 p.m. Friday to register and compete in Wilson’s Amazing Race, where they will run a course throughout this small, lakeside village, looking for clues along the way to capture first place.
Registration for the 16 teams of up to five members each will take place at the sponsoring First Baptist Church, located at the corner of Pettit and Chestnut streets.
In addition, the JR Race is designed for contestants ages 7 to 10, with teams of six kids and two participating adults.
The Rev. Stephen Hay, the event organizer, said, “We do a lot of little things throughout the year, but this is probably one of our biggest – if not our biggest – event.”
Described as a “fast-paced, life-sized action game,” the 5K race travels along a pre-planned course with 12 additional “challenges” to help determine the winner.
“These are not your run-of-the-mill challenges,” Hay noted. “Everything comes with a twist.”
For example, organizers point out, racers will be required to declare paintball war on the Easter Bunny, go toe-to-toe in a jousting battle with a gladiator, take on a blindfolded scooter special and choose between choking down a night crawler or chugging pop through a gym sock.
The race relies on technology, as teams are required to bring at least one cellphone. After each team has accomplished a specific task, it will get a code to text to home base, where referees will respond with the team’s next location and challenge.
Contestants will learn the first clue at the “shot-gun” start to the race.
Prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place finishes.
This year, the organizers will be rewarding teams that make a creative effort with their outfits.
“It all started when a group of girls dressed as hot dogs for the first race, and year after year, we’ve gotten more wacky and wonderful costumes,” Hay said.
Hay said it’s not unusual for the event to draw more than 150 participants, volunteers and spectators from the community at large, as well as from his church. And while the majority of contestants are in their teens, runners in their 20s, 30s and 40s have competed in past races.
“The first year that we thought about putting on a community event, we had a live-action version of the game Clue,” he recalled.
“That was five years ago, and it wasn’t quite what we were looking for. We thought about it, and we wanted fast-paced challenges to capture the audience as well as the participants. We have some pretty extreme challenges. ‘The Amazing Race’ was popular on television at the time, so we thought we’d try that concept.”
“A lot of the volunteers come from the community and some other churches here get involved, as well,” he added.
The community is invited to watch the race and enjoy free hot dogs at the finish line.
For more details or to register, visit http://wilsonfbc.org. All event updates may also be found on Facebook.
“This event has been embraced by our community since the first year we held it,” Hay said.
“We are a church, so the message of Jesus Christ is out there. We don’t force it, but we present it as well. We feel very fortunate because we have a wonderful place in our community. We consider ourselves incredibly blessed.”