Math is Hard

| September 26, 2012

Scott and Karen Kavanagh (newsletter 9/27/12)

The Kavanagh’s are big fans of The Amazing Race on CBS. We even held an Amazing Race birthday party for Emily when she turned eleven. So when we saw a Salvation Army fundraiser based on the TV show, we knew we needed to be a part of it and signed up for Pittsburgh’s Most Amazing Race.
In order to qualify for the event, teams of two had to raise a minimum of $250 and only the top fifty teams would be eligible to compete. Thanks to the generosity of our friends and family we were one of the teams that qualified. The starting line was in front of the fountains at Station Square. We knew nothing about the race or the challenges that awaited us. We were given a bus pass and the following instructions: No cell phones, no money and stay within 10 feet of each other at all times. The challenges were both physical and mental. We didn’t know how many there were so we never knew how far along we were in the race – you just had to keep going. The race took us all over the city: Station Square, North Side, stadiums, Strip District, Southside, Mount Washington and Downtown.

Ultimately we completed nineteen challenges. Along the way we:
• Took a quiz on the history of Pittsburgh and our rivers
• Kayaked
• Fished rubber ducks out of the Allegheny river
• Delivered food to the Salvation Army
• Brought coffee and donuts to the Zone One police station
• Navigated an obstacle course in a giant Hamster Ball
• Filled up buckets with water from the PPG fountain (There were holes in the buckets!)
• Completed a scavenger hunt through the Mexican War streets
• Identified soup ingredients while blindfolded
• Shrunk a bar of soap down to the width of a quarter
• Solicited $10 in donations for the Salvation Army from shoppers in the Strip District
• Performed a skit in the middle of Market Square (quite well if we say so ourselves)
• Used a compass and the viewfinders on Mount Washington to identify our destinations
• Scaled the Oakley Way stairs on the South Side Slopes
• Solved two puzzles
• Added up a ridiculous accounting ledger (quite poorly if we say so ourselves – hence the title of our race report)

The race was a lot more physically demanding than we anticipated. We should have known we were in for a long day when the Race Director commented that last year’s race was too easy. Only twice did we have to cover more than one mile between challenges so we were never able to consistently get our heart rates up. It was like Groundhog Day where we kept reliving the first ten minutes of a workout. We commented that this was Joella’s dream workout – 7.5 hours of interval sprints!

We made a few mental mistakes, but then again most teams did. At one challenge we would see a team pass us by and then a few hours later see them heading into a challenge that we just completed and wonder how they got behind us. We also did many things well. We’d be happy to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly with you at a future happy hour.

We crossed the finish line at 4:30 pm and estimate that over the course of 7.5 hours we covered 12 miles on foot, 4 miles by bus, 1 mile by kayak and approximately 36 flights of stairs (approximately 600 stairs). Final rankings have not been announced but we probably ended up in the middle of the pack. Many teams were not able to complete all the challenges but we did; sort of like Run Club, we may not be fast but we finish.

All in all, we worked well together as a team and never lost focus of the big picture. We were there to raise money for a great cause, enjoy the city and have fun together. Mission accomplished! The event raised nearly $60,000 for the Salvation Army and we were the fourth highest fund raising team! While we did not raise the most money, few (if any) teams received more individual donations than we did. We appreciate your support and look forward to signing up again next year!

Category: 2012, Team Blog

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