What’s so great about the Great Race?
The sheer lunacy?
The intricate madness?
The Sphinx-like riddles?
It’s all of the above.
For example, last year’s winning team was the first to find a heavily bearded princess named Jeff, waiting for them in a “golden tower” on Fourth Ave.
You read that right.
The Warren County Great Race, a “genetically enhanced scavenger hunt” in its fourth year, is hosted by Matt McKissock and his eponymously named data systems company located in downtown Warren on Sept. 18.
The race has grown each year, reaching over 270 competitors in 2009. McKissock, the brains and bent sense of humor behind the Great Race, hopes to draw 400 people to this year’s race, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Sept. 18 at his office.
“We’re hoping to hit 400,” McKissock said. “We’re not prepared for any more than 500. At 125 teams, we’re going to have to cut it off.”
“We” would be McKissock and select members of his company’s staff, who spend months planning the elaborate and complex event. The race is free to the public. The prize for winning? $1,000.
McKissock, as usual, was tightlipped regarding any details surrounding the race.
Except for one slightly odd clue.
“We’d recommend bringing those little marshmallows,” McKissock said. “It wouldn’t be bad to have some of those on hand.”
It would be best to heed McKissock’s words. Last year, he suggested people bring plenty of duct tape.
During last year’s race, teams were required to duct tape a team member to a cinder block wall.
The Great Race has traditionally gotten underway from McKissock’s building on Liberty St. This year will be no exception. The only difference is whether or not it will be in the Midtown Parking Lot or down on Liberty St.
“It might be on the street,” McKissock said. “I think we have permission to close it.”
The opening gambit of the Great Race is not to be missed - mainly because you would lose, if you were a competitor. But it is also an interesting spectacle for non-competitors to witness.
Last year, six different “task masters” appeared at the race’s starting point, each of them dressed head to toe in six different colors, including their hair and skin.
“Then they took off running,” McKissock said. “They hid all over town. It was a game of hide and seek to find them for the first clue. That was nice.”
A video of the opening minutes of the race can be seen on the event’s website.
Race participants are asked to pre-register via the race’s website at www.warrencountygreatrace.com
“I beg people to register early,” McKissock said. “A last-minute rush to register can really throw off months worth of planning.”
The race includes an open class, a family with kids category and a senior class.
Photo submitted to Times Observer
The Great Race approaches
The annual Warren County Great Race is scheduled this year for Sept. 18. The race is free to all participants. The first-place winning team will receive a $1,000 prize. The race is hosted by McKissock.