Race to the Finish


Hamilton Parks Association debuts Race Across Hamilton County this weekend


This weekend, more than forty teams of two will compete in the first ever Race Across Hamilton County.

The teams have all of Saturday to get from Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve to Forest Park in Noblesville, with challenges in Westfield and Cicero along the way.

The nature of the challenges requires participants to be of quick mind, and it also doesn’t hurt to be a runner. Each challenge was kept top secret as of press time, but it’s no secret that the competitors in this county-wide event are going to need their wits to win top prizes.


Amazing race:

There are five stops on the trail to the Race Across Hamilton County’s winner’s circle. Each team has to complete three out of four challenges at each stop, according to Brandon Bennett, assistant director at the Noblesville Department of Recreation.

Each event stop has a time limit of 90 minutes, and the timer starts once the teams get to each park.

“The race is not a race on the road,” Bennett said.

Teams leave each park together; therefore, if a team finishes a half hour before everyone else, they must wait an hour before hitting the road.

Shawn and Laura Blazier, a husband and wife originally from Carmel and now living in Fishers, plan to compete. They think the practice is a great safety measure.

“There are some people that would try to put others in harm’s way, so this is a great idea we agree with,” they said in an email.

Off the road and in the parks, the teams’ mettle is tested. Bennett hinted that the challenges are specific to the facilities they take place in.

Bennett said exploring is involved in the challenges.

He said one challenge that was not selected for competition involved putting a frozen tee shirt on a teammate.

“You’re going to have to think,” he said.

“And you’re going to have to be physical.”

If a team isn’t comfortable with the physicality of a challenge or have some sort of other problem, they can move on, as long as three of the individual challenges are completed at the location, Bennett said.


Challenge in planning:

Amanda Jackson, Fishers Parks and Recreation program coordinator, said the five organizations responsible for the event have been planning since January 2011.

Jackson participated in a similar race in Hendricks County, which has been in that community for several years, and decided to bring it back to Hamilton County with her.

Bennett said planning the Race Across Hamilton County was challenging, considering that this is the competition’s inaugural year, and the facilitators don’t know exactly how everything will work.

He also said that getting everyone on the same page at each parks and recreation department is tough, considering that everyone plans differently.

However, Bennett explained that “reinventing the wheel” wasn’t necessary in planning the event. The Hamilton Parks Association – the local parks departments banded together – already had a working relationship in place.


Race to the finish:

Approximately 40 teams are signed up for the race, with about another 10 sitting on a wait list – a great turnout for the first year, according to Bennett.

The Blazier team said they heard about the competition from a family friend who knew they were fans of the TV show “The Amazing Race,” and then saw it advertised in the Fishers Parks and Recreation program guide.

“We were super excited and decided to sign up,” they said in an email to Current in Fishers.

Shawn, a network analyst, and Laura, a Registered Nurse, said they think the physical challenges will be tougher than those that require mental fortitude, even though they consider themselves to be in shape.

“We are excited to have this opportunity and hope to make new friends along the way,” they said. “We also feel blessed to be able to do this and live in an area where events like this are available.”