ST. CHARLES – Batavia High School freshmen Meghan Razimoff and Jenna Walsh spent Saturday afternoon at Mount St. Mary Park doling out instructions and eggs to participants of the Peapod Amazing Adventure Race.
Within a half hour into the clue-based event, the teens said about a dozen teams had passed through their St. Charles stop.
The girls worked efficiently, explaining they wanted to be as quick as they could so they wouldn't delay the teams of two, who were competing for a $500 first prize.
"It makes me nervous," Meghan said.
Eighty teams gathered at Alley 64 in downtown St. Charles for the start of the race, eagerly opening their green clue sheets at noon. They had five hours to complete the race, which had checkpoints in St. Charles and Geneva. While some teams dashed off to the first stop, others spent several minutes solving the clues and using smartphones and maps to plot out the best course.
Although teams could ask people for help and use smartphones to decode the clues, they could only travel by foot or by Pace bus. Organizers said teams using the most direct routes would travel about eight miles.
"It's best to figure out the clues, figure out the route," race director Denise Croft said.
Some racers were from out of town – some traveled from Indiana – but the locals didn't necessarily have an advantage, Croft said, explaining she read clues to a few locals who had no idea of the answers.
Assistant race director Ellen Kamps said she considered out-of-town racers when she wrote the clues. Racers just needed smartphones and good Googling skills, she said.
Volunteers Natalie Grinnell and Rachel Reinecke, both Batavia High School freshmen, spent the afternoon ensuring teams did the Mount St. Mary Park task correctly, sending teams back if they took pictures next to the wrong sculpture. A pile of unbroken eggs rested nearby in the grass.
"It looks very difficult," Rachel said of the race. "I don't know if I could do it."