Victoria’s version of the Amazing Race is taking place on June 8 with hundreds of local businesses participating.
The UrbaCity Challenge is an urban adventure race and fundraiser for The Prostate Centre, and this year the course was designed by an Oak Bay native.
Jonathan Willcocks of Vancouver’s Pinnacle Pursuits is thrilled to be at the helm as the “mastermind” behind the event.
“I don’t want to give away too many specifics, but we have so many unbelievable draw prizes … the more people pledge, the higher level of draw prize they’re eligible for,” he said.
Hosted by Maximus Canada since 2010, UrbaCity is marketed as a strategic adventure race that begins at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre and winds its way through downtown to various challenge stations.
Teams of two and four are encouraged to raise minimum pledges to compete, while corporate team categories add to the playful competition.
“There are so many ways to strategize – it makes it super-fun,” Willcocks said.
Teams can choose from brain, brawn or ultra racer categories, while corporate teams can register to face-off against one another.
This year’s race also has a social media component, with pre-race questions being posted on their Facebook page. Willcocks is even taking part personally, posting photos of himself in a variety of Victoria locations.
“It’s kind of a Where’s Waldo, except it’s Where’s Jono?” he said. “The first one to respond gets access to a challenge before the race,” he said.
Contributions last year helped raise $15,000 for Victoria’s Prostate Centre. “This year, we have already achieved that and doubling,” said Willcocks. “Similar to last year, sponsorships are available at a variety of levels. Each donor level provides an opportunity for your company to contribute, while acquiring extensive exposure and even a chance to involve your employees in a meaningful social cause.”
‘Jono’ as most people still know and remember him, graduated from Oak Bay High as the student council president in 1989. He now lives in Vancouver, but loves being back regularly to share his passion for teamwork, leadership and adventure. UrbaCity is one of many events and projects he still returns to the area regularly.
After graduation, Willcocks spent six years at UVic where he ran the Outdoors Club growing it from 38 members to 450 in three years. Following UVic, he became a wilderness boot camp instructor and life skills counsellor for young offenders before he started Pinnacle Pursuits.
“Having the adventure mind set for life is key. It’s all about embracing unique experiences together that challenge us take a leap of faith, stretch out of our everyday comfort zones, inspires us to connect with each other in new ways and help make the world a better place. Personally I think this is what life is all about,” he says.
Team’s can register for the UrbaCity Challenge until midnight on June 7. For more information, go to urbacitychallenge.ca or pinnaclepursuits.com.
– with files from Dan Palmer