The Amazing Race: Nashville
I had no idea what I had signed up for. When I arrived at the venue for “the Oyster Race” by the Bridgestone Arena, I saw teams of people camped out underneath their tent canopies. They had coolers, lawn chairs, blankets, food and anything else they needed. All I brought was the clothes I was wearing and a jacket. I didn’t even bring a water bottle. Saying I was not prepared was an understatement.
So, what had I signed up for? What is this “Oyster Race?” The easiest way to explain it would be that its similar to the Amazing Race in that its a giant scavenger hunt where you are in a team and you are given clues and must follow these clues to the next clue until you are finished with all the tasks. The race took 6 hours and consisted of about 30-40 other teams with about 4-5 people in each group. My group consisted of 4 of my friends from Vanderbilt and I’m pretty sure we were the youngest group participating. There were a total of 6 legs (parts) of the race and once we finished the first leg, we were given the clues to the next leg and etc. The destinations for each leg were located all around Nashville and we had to travel either by on foot or on bike and the clues would specify how we were to travel.
The most important part of this entire race was that the money raised from this race was going towards a non-profit organization called Camp Kesem which is a summer camp for children with a parent who has or had cancer. Vanderbilt has a Camp Kesem program and this was the main reason why my group took part in this race; we were there to raise awareness of Camp Kesem and to let other people know what this race was benefiting.
When we began, it all started off pretty easy. We were completing tasks such as taking a picture of a 5 person pyramid, taking a picture in front of the Ryman Auditorium and taking a photo of someone wearing a Nashville Predators jersey. All of these tasks in the first leg were fairly easy and we sped through all of them and moved onto the next legs. Each leg got progressively more difficult and it was no longer about speed but rather of stamina. The total distance we had to travel was enormous. One leg, we had to go on foot from the Transition Point (Bridgestone Arena) to Germantown and back only to then have to bike 3 miles down the Music City Bikeway where we had to canoe down the Cumberland River with one team member blindfolded. In another leg, we had to bike from the transition point all the way to Vanderbilt and jump into the Centennial Pool and amongst several hundred rubber ducks, find the one rubber duck that had your number written on the bottom. From all 6 legs, the last one was definitely the most difficult. Each group had to bike 6 miles to the final destination and perform some tasks then bike the 6 miles back to the Bridgestone to finish out the race. The worst part was that the way to and from this last stop was an endless number of large, steep hills and on top of that, we had already been biking and running around for the past 6 hours. That last leg was quite the challenge, but, we didn’t give up and we eventually hobbled over the finish line. We finished the entire race with a time of roughly 7 hours and came in last place from the teams that did manage to finish. Everyone else had already packed up and left by the time we got back but it didn’t matter. We got our trophy in the form of a Chipotle burrito and we went on our way back to campus.
Overall, although it was probably one of the most physically demanding events I have ever done, it was also one of the most enjoyable things I have done. I had so much fun running and biking around Nashville doing lots of random tasks especially with my team. It was difficult but, it was definitely a worthwhile experience. Next year, I plan on being much more prepared and to make sure we don’t finish last this time because if you’re not last, you’re first.