Dozens of runners took off from the field at Snake River Landing early Friday afternoon to compete in the College of Eastern Idaho’s Great Race for Education.
Thirty-one teams competed in this year’s race, the majority of which were returning teams from the event’s sponsors. The teams spent the afternoon completing physical challenges and deciphering clues about where to go next as they raced from the landing to downtown Idaho Falls.
The Great Race is the major fundraiser source of scholarships through the College of Eastern Idaho Foundation, providing more than $350,000 for students over the previous 10 years. CEI Foundation Executive Director Natalie Hebard said this year’s goal was to earn another $75,000 from sponsorships, donations and teams paying for the clues they need during the race.
“We have such amazing support, we couldn’t do this without our community sponsors,” Hebard said.
Teams paid $250 to register four competitors for the race and could purchase additional clues to help them complete the race faster for $500 each. The team that wins each year gets one of the scholarships named after them; in 2018 that honor went to the combination of Strategic Social Partners, Old Skool All-Starz, Idaho Central Credit Union and Brady’s.
Intermountain Gas has been sending teams to compete in the race for the last 10 years. Clinten Buck has run in four of those races, including one several years ago where he had to compete wearing a bikini and an appearance in the finals last year, and said the team members enjoyed returning to the race every July.
“We’re really supportive of each other. It’s a chance to meet outside of work and give back to the community,” Buck said.
Katie Parkinson, who’s competing with Lunchbox Wax for the second year in a row, said her team was less focused on the competitive aspect and was more focused on enjoying the challenges and clues.
“It really makes you think a little bit harder and work together,” Parkinson said.
The first event this year was a blindfolded relay race, where runners passed an egg from one person to another as they crossed the field. After finishing, teams received their first clue and began making their way downtown.
After the race, CEI Foundation held a dinner and party for the competitors in the Snake River Landing field.