Clue seekers find adventure in Edmonds Saturday

Tad and Toby Doviak, winners of the Great Edmonds Adventure.

Editor’s note: Updated with second- and third-place finishers and times.

It’s safe to say that the first-ever Great Edmonds Adventure lived up to its billing Saturday afternoon.

The approximately 200 participants — some dressed in elaborate costumes, other wearing utilitarian running gear — spilled out of Harbor Square Athletic Club at noon, ripping open their sealed envelopes to scan the clues for the “Amazing Race”-style event. The teams then spread across Edmonds, traveling by foot or bus from the waterfront to local restaurants and stores, the cemetery, Wade James Theater and back to downtown. Some jogged, some sprinted and all worked up a significant sweat.

Best friends Carolyn Conn and Angela Reift of Edmonds, dressed in bright pink shirts and matching pink butterfly wings, said they decided to participate in the race because it benefited a good cause — the Sno-King Youth Club — and besides, “I’m very competitive,” Conn said. The two women shared a backpack filled with the necessary gear — maps, pens, bus money, an iPhone with GPS tracking, and the phone number of a friend standing by to assist with a laptop for additional research, if needed.

Seattle residents Christie Morrison and her husband Geoff, wearing practical athletic gear, said they planned to use their skills as problem solvers to take the top prize. Shortly after receiving their clues, the couple spend several minutes in the Harbor Square parking lot to analyze the clues and plot their strategy. “We have done races like this in the past and they are both fun and exciting,” Christie said.

Among the tasks facing competitors: Hunting down the founder of Edmonds (Hint: he’s been resting for quite a while); recreating the statue pose on the Edmonds waterfront (grabbing innocent bystanders is OK) and discovering the name of Edmonds’ first elementary school.

First prize went to brothers Tad and Toby Doviak, who managed to solve all the clues and arrive at The Loft finish line in less than two hours – 1:52:09 to be precise. The team name emblazoned on their lemon-lime T-shirts was “Tad Needs a Job” in honor of the older brother’s job search, following his layoff from the University of Washington in January. Noting the web address on their shirts — — Tad mentioned that he is seeking employment as an IT administrator, has the rare ability to be good with computers and people, and figured the added publicity couldn’t hurt.

The secret to the team’s success? For starters, they solved all the clues before hitting the streets. But they also knew how to read a map, which they felt was key since neither of them was that familiar with Edmonds. (Tad is from Des Moines while Toby lives in Mukilteo.) Growing up in Oklahoma, the brothers had grandparents on both the East and West Coast, and would spend the summers driving to visit the two families. “Dad would drive and I would navigate,” said Tad, adding that Toby would assist.

Coming in second was B-dazzle, the Edmonds sister-brother team featuring Brooke and Billy Loughrin, who finished the race in 2:09:02. Following close behind in third place were their parents, Bill and Kelli Loughrin (aka The Jags), at 2:09:27.

If you missed this year’s inaugural event, be assured that you’ll have another chance next year. The woman behind the Great Edmonds Adventure, event planner Susie Beresford of SJB Business Services, says she will put it on again next year with the goal of doubling its size.

Beresford, an Edmonds native, came up with the idea after competing in a similar Seattle competition — the Great Urban Race — last year. “I told my friends, ‘I want to do this in Edmonds,'” Beresford said. She shared the idea with then-Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson, who encouraged her to pursue the concept, and enlisted friends and family to gather support and business sponsors, with Sno-King Youth Club as the beneficiary.

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