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Tillsonburg's 1st annual Amazing Race to raise funds for the food bank

By Chris Abbott, Postmedia Network

More teams are needed for Tillsonburg's 1st annual Amazing Race on Saturday, October 7.

All proceeds will go to the Helping Hand Food Bank, said organizer Jason Kane, Dominion Lending Centre Mortgage Agent.

"It's a fundraiser to raise money and awareness for the Helping Hand Food Bank and hopefully - if things go well - it will be an ongoing thing," said Kane. "I was opening my business, trying to create something for my grand opening, and I thought what better way to do it than to support your local community? A friend said, it's Thanksgiving weekend, and between that time and Christmas, there is a dire need for food. And there's a food bank right across the street, so...

"Raising money for the food bank is also the best bang for the buck. If you raise $1,000 cash, it's usually $5,000 in food for them. I talked to Joan (Clarkson), and she said it was a great idea."

The plan is to have 10-15 two-person teams. The 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. race will start at the fountain next to the Hurley's Mattress & Appliance parking lot on the corner of Broadway and Oxford Street.

"That will be the starting line, and the basic distance will be from Hurley's to Sobeys, along Broadway. They'll go as far (east) as Tillson Avenue, maybe Bidwell (west), because the game plan is to incorporate businesses and vendors for the 'challenge' locations through the town."

Contestants raise money in pledges - and for every $100 raised, they will get a one minute advantage. The top fundraising team will get an additional five minute bonus advantage, plus one 'fast forward' card.

"A fast forward card basically allows you to skip a challenge," said Kane.

Along the way, depending on how many vendors participate - they have 3-4 already - participants can try an optional harder challenge to get a 'yield' card.

"With a yield card, I could give a team that's real close to me a five-minute delay. But the challenge is a little harder, so I'm running the risk of getting even further behind to get the yield card..."

The mission is to have a great race and support a great cause.

Kane recalled participating in Hamilton's Amazing Race, which raised money for City Kids, and had a lot of fun.

"We had a much larger distance to go (in Hamilton). We had a bus pass, but we had to run... as much as I could anyways. My wife is in much better shape, she'd always be dragging me around."

Each challenge will have a predetermined time limit. If you exceed the timeframe, you will still get the next clue to move on, but a five-minute penalty will be added to your final score.

Challenges can include physical or mental tasks.

"It may require you to put a puzzle together, maybe find pieces in that store and then put them all together. Then you get your clue to move on. Physical challenges, you might have a skipping rope or run on the spot."

Running is not required, said Kane.

"Some just want to do it for fun."

See the website www.tillsonburgamazingrace.ca for all the details, call 289-775-5867, or email info@tillsonburgamazingrace.ca for more information.

The website provides information for competitors, vendors and sponsors. Five teams are currently registered, and they would like at least five more. Twelve vendors had signed up as of Monday, leaving three more spots available. And two sponsors have come on board, so far.

It has a map, and pledge sheets.

"We also have a volunteer page, so people can sign up to volunteer, too," said Kane. "If you have high school kids, this would be a great opportunity to get community hours."

cabbott@postmedia.com