Adrenaline pumping. Brains whirring. Sweat pouring.
Ladies from Highland Baptist Church recently raced to an amazing finish as part of a Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) event.
The Raleigh church organized the “Amazing Race” for its WMU on July 26. With six legs, the eight two-women teams scampered all over the community in an effort to complete various tasks and take home the grand prize by finishing first.
“I had a blast during it,” said Tina Barbour. “The No. 1 thing we learned is to read our
Barbour and her partner, Kim Wheeless, were well behind the other teams after the first leg because they didn’t fully read their instructions.
“I can’t believe we skimmed over that,” said Barbour about the list of required food items to collect during that round. She and Wheeless, who called their team “DaWinners,” mistakenly collected all 17 items on their list, even though the instructions said to collect 10. After arriving at the pit stop more than an hour behind all the other teams, “We had no choice … we had to eat the squid,” she said.
The other choice was to search through 10,000 craft sticks to find a stick with their
corresponding team number. Comparing the texture of the squid to a combination of wood and leather, Barbour said the worst thing was the smell, which hit you before you even got to the room. Competitors were allowed some water to help get the substance down.
Of course, none of the competitors knew exactly what they were going to have to eat until they arrived at their destination.
Megan Page thought the first leg was the toughest.
“It was hard, we were in a hilly neighborhood,” she said. Page took part in the race with her mother, Kaye Kelly. Together they called themselves the “Dynamic Duo.”
Kelly said she ate her first squid, “but I didn’t like it.”
Based on the hit television show, “The Amazing Race,” leaders at Highland took great care in planning each of the tasks. The hit reality television show challenges teams to race around the world against other teams to arrive at pit stops first and avoid the possibility of being eliminated.
“We want to win,” said Cherry Gay, part of the Island Racers. “We’re a little competitive.”
After finishing the food challenge, Gay said the “key to that was to eat tiny bites.”
When faced with the next challenge of listing the books of the Bible in order, at first the Island
Racers wanted to go in and list them straightaway, but they remembered the minor prophets like Obadiah might mess them up. They took the paddle boat detour to get help with that challenge.
“We were in full gear; we were running,” said Gay. “The fierce competitor in you comes out. You don’t even know yourself until you compete in something like that.”
Melandie Matthews was a last-minute substitute as Gay’s partner in the race, but Gay said they both gave it their all. The paddle boat detour gave the Island Racers an edge and brought them a first place finish at the end of the third leg. A couple in the church allowed the use of the paddle boat in their pond for the race.
Racers had a mandatory lunch break before tackling the next three legs.
Given a five-minute head start, the Island Racers ran through hallways at the church to get to the courtyard where one member of each team was asked to capture a guinea chicken. It took Gay a little more than five minutes to retrieve her prey.
Even though they went into the fifth leg with a lead, Gay and Matthews quickly got behind. Their task: to build a section of a wheelchair ramp for a ministry at the church.
“We got really upset when we got behind,” said Gay, who said she spent time after the race figuring up how many holes they pre-drilled and put screws in — 104.
With four teams working feverishly on ramps, DaWinners took the lead at the fifth leg and raced back to the pit stop to receive their sixth and final assignment: a Sudoku puzzle followed by an obstacle course.
“The people who did this are really creative,” Matthews said.
Peggy Barbee, who led the team that planned the race, said this event was definitely a learning process.
“I almost wish I wasn’t in charge of it so I could participate,” she said.
After handing out awards to winners of each leg of the race and the spa package and lunch for DaWinners, Barbee said she hoped the ladies took something away from the race.
“Every day each of us runs the real amazing race which is spreading God’s word,” she said.
The race has been inspiring to Barbour on another level as well.
After not being able to move well the next day, she and her family are now riding bikes together at least four times a week.
She hopes more will get involved next year.
“I just thought it was awesome how it played out,” Barbour said, “but in the end … everything we did was to glorify God.”
During the day, volunteers were recording the event for posterity. The ladies will view the video this month.
A photo gallery from the day is available here.