Teams celebrate friendship in Relevate’s Amazing Race

Manhattan locals come together to compete in an amazing race event throughout Manhattan, Kansas on Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Teams rushed to complete a series of relationship building challenges around Manhattan Saturday morning at the Amazing Race, an event hosted by Kansas State-based research organization Relevate.

Amber Vennum, co-executive director of Relevate and associate professor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services, said the organization was started as a way to bridge the gap between ordinary people and science-based relationship research.

“Most available information about relationships online is based on opinion,” Vennum said. “We would like to have actual science more readily available. Each activity is based on relationship science.”

Teams participated in these activities at businesses and buildings around Manhattan, such as drawing pictures of aspects of their lives that are going well at the Beach Museum.

“Talking about positive aspects of your life rather than sharing negative aspects —which we usually do — is proven to improve relationships,” Vennum said.

Participants also visited Bluestem Bistro to pick soda flavors that matched a characteristic of their partners, which improves relationships by teaching friends to express their knowledge of each other’s personalities.

Teammates and K-State alumni Paul Miller and Michael Reichenberger agreed Bluestem Bistro was one of their favorite stops.

“We liked that one because it really showed that you know each other pretty well,” Miller said.

Over ten teams of two participated in the event and were encouraged to dress up in themed costumes.

Miller and Reichenberger wore Sriracha and Tabasco shirts, respectively. Their theme was “Two Hot Guys.”

Over $500 in prizes donated by local businesses were awarded to the first, second and third place winners, as well as to teams who won the best team outfit and best selfie video categories.

K-State alumni Ross Conner, history teacher at Wamego High School, and teammate Tyler Vela, English teacher at Wamego High School, finished in first place.

Their favorite challenge took place at Widgets, a new family fun center.

“We liked the laser challenge at Widgets,” Conner said. “You feel like you’re in a spy movie because you have all these lasers crisscrossing, and you have to duck under them. You have points taken off if you hit a laser.”

“There are things that we wouldn’t have done in Manhattan without this event, and there are things that we’re going to do now because of this with our families,” Vela said.

The event was hosted in honor of International Women’s Friendship Month. All proceeds from the Amazing Race went to funding further research and events hosted by Relevate.