Teams race to Queenstown for Cure Kids
A frenzied rush was released on to Auckland’s early morning streets on Wednesday as the Accor $10 Queenstown Challenge to Cure Kids race kicked off.
Competitors had to travel to Queenstown on $10, using innovative ideas and sometimes old-fashioned charm as their tickets.
The three-day fundraising race ends today.
Fairfax Media, owners of the Auckland City Harbour News, is one of the event sponsors and has a team among the 56 competitors.
Andrea Scott, the manager of Discover Marlborough, and Lance Dodd, editor of the Marlborough Express, have raised more than $18,000 for Cure Kids.
“Buying Lance a $5 beer and then challenging him to do this with me was the best money I’ve ever spent,” Andrea says.
Andrea says on the eve of the race she was “an excitable little child” who couldn’t wait to see what craziness lay ahead.
“We have no idea what to prepare for, so it’s not like we can, so we’re here and happy, and that’s all we can be,” she says.
Lance says the compulsion to do something worthwhile for children was what got him interested, and the only time he questioned himself was when he checked the list of items to pack and saw the dreaded word “togs”.
“I don’t do togs and swimming.”
Lance says the atmosphere at the start line in Ellerslie on Wednesday morning was “pretty amazing”.
“So many people were in costume, there were monkeys and bananas, fairies and bees. It was fabulous.”
Anna Beukes and Jody Dickason made up the Downers EDI team, dubbed the Downers Dynamic Duo.
“I take my hat off to people who fundraise all year,” Jody says.
“This is a lifechanging experience. I see it as a prestigious event to be part of, and I hope we’ve been chosen because we’re lively and crazy enough.
“But the real reward isn’t the fun at all, but rather the bigger picture – the fact that afterwards some child somewhere will be helped by the money we’re all raising,” he says.
Months ahead of the race Downers departments began fundraising and the department that raised the most money chose two people to compete in the challenge.
The company has raised more than $18,000.
Jody and Anne “pimped” their van for the first leg of the challenge from Auckland to Hamilton, with children from Riverhead Kindergarten lending a painted hand to the van.
Throughout the race all the teams have faced various challenges and detours, including finding a ride for the first leg of the trip, with the emphasis on the ride being outrageously “pimped”.
The annual race has become a vital source of funds. Teams consisting of two members each are required to raise $7000 just to enter.
Last year the race raised $396,000 for Cure Kids.
Money raised this year will help Cure Kids fund the national screening programme into inherited heart diseases and other vital medical research into children’s illnesses.
All together now: The teams gather before the start of the 2008 Accor $10 Queenstown Challenge to Cure Kids race.
For the kids: Andrea Scott and Lance Dodd, representing Fairfax Media, are all smiles at the start of the threeday race from Auckland to Queenstown.