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Map-reading race is full of adventure
What do you get when you mix “National Treasure,” “Indiana Jones” and “Rat Race?” You get One Polar’s outdoor climbing competition, “Go Climb a Peak.” The competition, which is similar to orienteering, featured two checkpoints on the Sias International University campus and then 10 points spread far and wide in the fields and villages behind the campus. Teams of four were all given maps and then spent Saturday morning traipsing about the local area. The first two teams needed approximately two hours to cover the course. The second-place squad featured international instructors Chris Bernhardt, Courtney Gullickson, Chris Twomey and senior student Andy Chen. “It was a mixture of running off trails, through fields and gullies,” said Bernhardt, whose squad was six minutes off the winning pace. “(The markers) were generally people lying down in the bushes and you needed to find them (and have them mark your papers).” It was the second year for all of the team except Twomey. With a year of experience, they felt secure in running the entire course. Aside from one misread, they showed amazing map reading skills. “It was almost easier this year because it was the same map and two of the same points,” Gullickson said. “Three of us did it last year and that gave us a very big advantage.” Before the team could even get to the course, they had to get off the campus. Teams had to solve two Chinese puzzles before entering the outer course. Chen interpreted and solved the puzzles to help the team continue in the race. Once out in the fields and villages, teams relied on their own abilities to interpret where they were supposed to go to find the next marker. Despite a staggered start, teams soon found themselves running around together looking for the same markers. Although it was a competition, it was still about enjoying the outdoors and getting to know people. “There were tons of my freshman students,” Gullickson said. “I saw them at the sign-up table and then out on the course. I’d see them and they’d all say, ‘Hi,’ and I was able to give a few clues to help them find the hard markers.” She added: “It was mostly fun to just run around with friends for a couple hours.” For finishing in second place, the four were awarded some nice prizes, including a One Polar bag and membership passes to One Polar. But for Bernhardt it was about more than the prizes. “It’s valuable because it builds memories,” he said. “And when you build memories you build spirit and that builds cohesiveness.” Story by Kim Orendor Courtesy photos
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