Corporate and Special Event Planning

Race Among Friends

Race Among Friends

You heard lots about it while I was planning but now it’s time to share all the specifics and some pictures. I was hired by a client to plan an amazing race style event for them and a group of their friends. They wanted it to run through the city of Ottawa and last about 5 hours.

To help offset some of the costs my client decided they would charge the attendees a small fee to attend. All the couples said they loved the idea and didn’t mind paying because it would have cost them the same amount of money to have gone out for dinner for the night. They loved that they got a whole day of fun with a great group of people for the same price a couple hours at dinner would have cost them.

The couple hosting the party wanted to participate in the event so after they told me how they wanted the day to run they were pretty much out of the picture. For weeks before the race day I sent out emails that contained tasks, lists of items to bring and details about the race. It helped to build up the fun and they were able to earn bonus points ahead of time that they would get to use that day.

I had a cool logo designed for the event. It looked just like the amazing race logo. I had posters, clue cards and signs all made with the logo.

Only a few days before the race I sent out an email and instructed everyone to come dressed in team colours to match the assigned bandana colours I assigned to each team. Oh ya, they had chosen team names too.  Some of the team names included…
Team Shankapotomus
Team Beirut
Country Bumpkins
M2 (that’s M squared…not M two in case you were wondering)
…and one of my personal favorites…
I Can Run Faster Horny Than You Scared!
How people come up with some of these names I will never know 🙂
The team that won the costume contest earned themselves enough points to not finish last…second last but not last…lol.
I couldn’t believe the effort put into some of the costumes, especially with only a couple days notice.

The winning team won a cool trophy that I made. I kicked myself after I had made it because I didn’t take pictures of what I used to make it. I went to Value Village and picked up an old wooden cup, it looked like a wine glass but made of wood. And I got another wooden base of some sort and I bought a bag of kids play cars. The entire project cost me $4.75 plus a can of spray paint. I think it turned out pretty cool.

The event included 10 tasks. It was supposed to take approximately 4.5 hours but the first couples were through the finish line in about 3.5 hours. The tasks included trivia, physical challenges, and lots of other fun. One of my favorite tasks was the Newlywed Game. Couples were directed to the Dairy Queen on St. Laurent and were asked a series of questions about themselves and their relationship. They had to get three matching answers before they could move on. Many couples struggled and had to wait for other couples to proceed before they could try again. It was hilarious to see couples fighting over their answers. If I remember correctly the only couple to get it right immediately was a couple that is still only dating.

Actually, another one of my favorites, because it still makes me laugh everytime I think about it, was when I sent them to the Museum of Civilization. Down by the water there is a collection of statues. Among those statues is “a group of children”. Their instructions were to have someone take their photo playing “among the children”. I can’t tell you how many couples showed me pictures of them with actual children. Some couples even thought I had made arrangements for all these children to be at that specific location just to have their photo taken with them. LOL!! I still laugh when I think about some of the photos they showed us. Here are these couples in big group hugs with ten children they don’t even know all sitting on the edge of the gorgeous fountain there. They looked like they were posing for a big family picture. I’m laughing sitting here writing this. Can you imagine what the parents of these children must have been thinking…lol…I am still laughing!!
We unfortunately didn’t get many photographs along the route even though some of the challenge posts had cameras. The events happened so fast that pictures were a last thought.
Being the first team to cross the finish line did not guarantee a win. Your points leading up to the event could make a big difference in your score. And there was also a bonus activity on race day that could help a team move forward in the standings. The bonus activity on this day was to have your photo taken in a photo booth…but it had to spit out a strip of 4 pictures, they had to be wearing their bandanas, and they had to hold up one of the clue cards in every picture.
It turned out in this case that the team first through the finish line did end up winning the whole day once all the points and penalties were calculated.
feature that I knew nothing about that the hosts added was a fun awards ceremony at the end of the race that included prizes for everyone that took part. The coolest part about it was that they had gone to the dollar store and bought doubles of 13 items (box of kleenex, phone holders, mirrors, kids play phones), not knowing how the day would pan out. They kept an eye on each team throughout the day and then later had a meeting, just the two of them, and came up with creative reasons to give each couple a prize. For example, the team that won the boxes of kleenex could be because they were the ones who were whining and they needed a kleenex to wipe their tears. Ok, their descriptions were much better than that but you get the idea.
The day finished with the awarding of the trophy, a great dinner and several drinks.
I think the biggest compliment an event planner could ask for is that even after the race was done all everyone talked about was the race. All night long they talked about funny things that happened or where they were challenged. I loved being able to listen to what they had to say and I loved hearing how happy everyone was.
A big thank you to my clients for allowing me the opportunity to make such wonderful memories for you and all of your friends.
Julia O’Grady has big vision, fresh ideas and a proven track record in the events industry. She and her team work hard to exceed client expectations and push ITM Events to achieve greater heights. A driven entrepreneur, Julia also manages the business side of ITM Events including human resources, finances, marketing and writing grant and sales proposals. In taking a high level approach to event management, Julia is able to visualize a project from inception to successful execution. She attracts valuable sponsors by offering meaningful opportunities to engage with participants. Julia uses her keen analytical mind to create incredible events that maximize the available budget. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis.

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