x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 December 2017

Feeling the Rush-a-Way with Dubai’s answer to the TV show The Amazing Race

Treasure hunts and activity quests have long been a popular activity on the UAE’s social calendar, but they’re set to move up a gear with the next instalment of Rush-a-Way, Dubai’s answer to the popular TV show The ­Amazing Race.

On April 8, Rush-a-Way will see a bunch of intrepid participants navigating through a series of unique obstacles scattered around Dubai. During the adventure, teams of two will tackle 10 challenges as they race to the finish line — and the top three teams will take home prizes worth Dh25,000.

Each challenge will test speed, logic, fitness, accuracy, perseverance, patience and navigation — and because tasks are designed to be completed as a team, team chemistry will be a key factor in overcoming obstacles and finishing in first place.

Teams decide which member is best suited to perform a particular challenge, so they need to play to each other’s strengths and communicate well. Once each challenge is complete, the team receives a clue to the next via the Rush-a-Way Race app, which also tracks the movement of each team throughout the race and delivers important announcements along the way.

About 350 participants are expected to join this latest event, which has grown steadily in popularity since its launch last year. With new surprises at every turn, teams never know exactly what challenges they will face — and it’s the variety and creativity that give this particular event its edge. From eating a snow cone in less than seven minutes to making sushi rolls for the approval of sushi chefs, next weekend’s race will test contestants’ mettle with some brand-new challenges.

The event’s creator, Neha ­Gaggar, explains how the idea for Rush-a-Way came to light: “Being adventure junkies, and inspired by shows like The ­Amazing Race, we wanted to bring that type of concept to Dubai, and offer participants the chance to be part of unique experiences in their city.

“Dubai is a perfect place for this, as there’s always so much to do here. Our goal is to help UAE residents discover new activities and experiences, and also build strong bonds with their team members. Our obstacles not only cover exciting activities, but they’re also inspired by tasks and challenges that may be easy for a few, but more difficult for the rest of us, such as making sushi rolls.”

With the launch event attracting more than 150 participants, it was an instant hit — and each version since then has been tweaked and refined by the ­organisers. “In our first race, we tested the concept, which was all about unique challenges and simple race mechanics. What really kept us going after the first race was the great feedback from the participants,” Gaggar says.

For the returning father-and-son team Frank and Zack Jenio, there’s no keeping them away. They took part in the second event, in December, and are back again to compete in this month’s challenge. Zack, 16, who attends the American School of Dubai, says: “We had such a blast the first time, that we wanted to do it again. The challenges were pretty good, and we enjoyed trying to figure them out. Some of them were particularly fun because they were somehow crazy or embarrassing. We even had to dance together in one of them. This time around, we’re looking forward to a whole new experience, with a bunch of new challenges in different locations. We made some mistakes last time, but if we can fix them, I think we have a good chance of winning.”

It seems that the race leaves participants with a great sense of accomplishment, while giving them the chance to enjoy some new experiences around Dubai. And with the organisers now exploring the possibility of broadcasting the event on television, the popularity of Rush-a-Way looks set to grow further.

To register for the race, visit www.rushawayuae.com. The race begins at Jebel Ali Recreation Club, Jebel Ali Village, on Friday, April 8, from 7.30am to 1pm

weekend@thenational.ae