Teams race to Queen­stown for Cure Kids

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Karen Kotze

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.

Pho­tos: SHANE WENZLICK

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.

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