Race Around Raincouver: Harker Hall Race 2018


Harker Hall Race Team 2018

Logo for Harker Hall Race 2018

Vancouver is popular for many things: beauty, diversity, rain, you name it. However, how hard is it to get from one part of Vancouver to another with challenges along the way? This is a question that the boarding community has asked and thus the Harker Hall Race was born. Every year near the end of April, the boarders, in groups of 6-8, will participate in a yearly tradition: a race around Vancouver known as the Harker Hall Race. The Harker Hall Race, founded in 2015, was inspired by the show “Amazing Race”, where contestants must solve clues to reach a pre-determined destination before all the other teams do.

After a light brunch, the race began at the outdoor basketball courts behind the Junior school. Although it was pouring rain, our boarders were still eagerly filled with anticipation for what was going to happen over the next 3 to 5 hours. After quick announcements by the organizers about the rules, the race began. Teams of 6-8, assigned by different colors, had to find a Ziploc bags at assigned locations. Inside the Ziploc bags were torn pieces of paper that the groups had to piece together to find a phone number. This number was the new automated text messaging system that would guide the groups during the race. After a challenge that involved knocking over a colander (its name was Bob) from a basketball hoop and removing water using the colander, groups assembled at the Junior School for “Sporty Hangman”, which involved groups running across the field to grab letters. The groups that grabbed enough letters were given the opportunity to guess the chosen word, with the winners receiving a code for the next part of the race.


Team Spinbot- Baron’s and Rigg
Team Spinbot- Baron’s and Rigg posing in front of Kitsilano Wing Mural

After departing from the field, groups were separated into one of four different routes (Kitsilano, King Edward, West Broadway and Kerrisdale). Using the automated text messages, groups had to solve clues by going to their assigned locations. Besides just going to locations, some groups had to perchance items whereas others needed to do funny poses in different locations. Once all challenges were completed, the automated text system would tell the groups to go to Charleson Park for their next challenge.


Once in Charleson Park, the groups were met by several adjudicators who were waiting for them there. When groups arrived there, they were asked to complete several challenges that included a mix of physical as well as teamwork activities. These activites included doing squats, guessing a song, firing a bottle to a target using a bottle and a tire pump, etc. Once done, groups were assigned to go to one of four different routes located in the downtown area (Yaletown, Waterfront, Central Downtown, Robson) for the second to last part of the race.

The downtown portion followed a similar format: go to certain locations and answer questions. A few notable activities included answering questions after sucking helium, blindfolded Pictionary, carrying heavy coins with a tinfoil boat, posing for the camera while re-enacting the “I’m Flying” scene from Titanic, etc. After all the challenges were passed and the groups had brought a final item to prove that they had actually made it to the end, groups were given the site of their final challenge.

Team Koreaboo
Team Koreaboo standing so they form a W in Downtown


Unlike the past two years, the final location ended up back at where it all began: The Junior School Field. Teams had to get all the way from Downtown back to the Junior School as quickly as possible. Once there, teams had to work together to open a few boxes. Inside the boxes were riddles and challenges that required both problem solving and deduction skills students would have (or should have) learned in school. Inside the final box was a key which opened a crate located at the end of the field. The first group to open the final crate won the final prize. In the end, Team Corrupted Student Leaders – Ze Germans solved everything first and won the race. Their final prize included a pizza party, a bunch of candy, as well as car rides to school with Mr. Hesketh for a week.

Harker Hall Race Team 2018
Team Corrupted Student Leaders – Ze Germans completes the final challenge and wins Harker Hall Race 2018!


Although the third annual Harker Hall Race was not without its flaws such as problems with sporty hangman, minor glitches regarding the texting system, as well as the typical Vancouver weather, the race was still overall successful. I had a chance to interview one of the contestants, grade 12 student Carson Feser, about what he thought of the race. Carson said that “It was very interesting and is a huge improvement from last year. Although the mixing of the two teams into one team was new, it worked out very well! Overall, I’ll rate it an 8.5 out of 10.” Carson’s comments echoed many of the replies heard from other boarders.

Harker Hall Race will definitely be here to stay for years to come as it continues challenge boarders’ communication, thinking, and navigation skills. Hopefully next year, the weather would be better and the activities will continue to improve further, making it an event to remember even years after graduation.