By CHRISTINA RITCHIE ROGERS
Huntersville resident Doug Gray has developed the “next generation of racing,” he says, and is preparing for the inaugural “Dash 4 Cache” June 15 at Jetton Park in Cornelius.
During the technologically-enhanced, activity-driven scavenger hunt, teams of two to four people will dash from cache to cache (predetermined checkpoints), using smart phones and customized guidebooks to locate the next spot. They can dash by foot, bicycle or car, and each new location will present a new task – a healthy, “green” activity or puzzle – to complete. The goal is to earn the most points by completing tasks before the end of the race. Scores will be entered in the players’ smart phone score sheets and posted in real-time.
Mr. Gray is a business and executive coach, and the father of two girls who are “digitally active,” he said – always on their smart phones. He first got the idea for Dash 4 Cache while watching the Spartan Race at the National Whitewater Center with his older daughter, a senior at Cannon School at the time.
“Six thousand people paid $100 to participate in that race,” he said. And he thought, “what if we did something like that and gave all of it to charity?”
So he developed Dash 4 Cache, that has a patent pending, and chose the Lake Norman YMCA for the first beneficiary. Mr. Gray worked for the Y in his 20s, he said, and it hold a special place in his heart.
“I think about the Y’s reach,” he said. “And they’re not used to someone giving them 100 percent of the proceeds from something.
He selected Jetton Park for the inaugural race, because it offers space for runners, bikers and drivers, as well as stations for all sorts of activities.
“We wanted to start small and do it well, so in the future we can make it bigger,” he said. Ultimately, if all goes well he would like to host the event three times a year – in spring, summer, and fall, and partner each time with a local benefactor, he said. The race offers sponsorship and vendor opportunities for local businesses, he said, and the July 15 Dash 4 Cache is sponsored by the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and other local partners.
Mr. Gray has founded several fundraiser events over the years, including the North Carolina Adventure Race Series, benefitting the American Diabetes Association; the Lake Norman Rotary Run, benefitting the Lake Norman Health Clinic; and the the Lake James Run, benefitting the N.C. Outward Bound School.
“What I really want to do (with Dash 4 Cache) is create something that has a social good and is also kind of cool,” he said.
Want to participate?
Click here to see a video example and to register for the race, that runs from 1-5 p.m. July 15 at Jetton Park. Registration opens at 11:45 a.m. And plan to stay after the race, for live music, photos, food and an awards ceremony.