As they chatted along the trail the pair, who have been best friends and running partners for 20 years, embarked on the adventure of a lifetime.
“We said wouldn’t it be neat to do something different in Wooster rather than a road race – the typical 5K, 10K, half marathon,” said Tegtmeier.
“We started thinking about the Amazing Race on TV and thought what can we do in Wooster to showcase Wooster - all the area parks, the downtown, the college - and let people know what a great town we have,” said Tegtmeier.
The pair immediately began brainstorming challenges the participants could take part in along the way.
Over the course of the next year Tegtmeier and Smith put together an eight-member board, set up a nonprofit, selected the Viola Startzman Free Clinic as the charity to receive the proceeds from the event and began soliciting sponsors.
“Everybody was willing to give,” said Tegtmeier, adding, “we had great support from area businesses.”
The pair then turned their attention to setting up the challenging course the participants would follow.
As race day dawned July 23, 51 teams of two or three participants, ranging in age from 18 to in their 60s, gathered at the YMCA for a pre-race meeting before being shuttled to OARDC for the official start of the race.
It was only then that the teams were given the first glimpse of what the course had in store for them, as they wound their way through the city, taking on a series of physical and mental challenges that tested not only their physical stamina but also their reasoning ability.
Armed only with a card containing clues to the challenges, a map, bicycle, bicycle helmet, a quarter, a digital camera or cell phone with camera and an optional cell phone with Internet and GPS capabilities, the teams set off to tackle a series of 20 challenges scattered throughout the city.
After completing a challenge at OARDC, the teams set off on foot for Wooster Cemetery, Schellin Park, Knights Field and downtown Wooster before biking to Spangler Park to hike the outer loop trail. After dropping off their bikes at Christmas Run Park, the teams set out on foot again to complete challenges at The College of Wooster, the Viola Startzman Free Clinic and finally Freedlander Park.
According to Tegtmeier, the team members covered a total of 25 miles to complete the course.
As the long day came to a close, the competitors and volunteers gathered at the Olde Jaol to celebrate and learn the final results.
Taking first place with a blistering time of 3:37 was the Happy Go-Getters team, which was made up of Logan, Lucas and Levi McClish.
Coming in a close second were John Thompson and Anne Nurse of the Still Lost team. Third place went to Nathan Smith and Kam Jewett of the LifeKraze.com team.
Between entry fees, sponsorships and the proceeds of an auction of 20 gift baskets donated by local restaurants, businesses and community members, $21,000 was raised for the Viola Startzman Free Clinic.
“The money that you have raised today will go so far for us,” Jamie Parsons of the clinic told the crowd assembled for the post-race party.
“Thank you so much from our patients and our staff and volunteers,” said Parsons, acknowledging the hard work of the event organizers, volunteers and participants.
To learn more about the Wooster Urban Adventure Challenge, log on to http://www.woosterurbanadventure.com.
Published: July 26, 2011