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Racing Around the U

Gopher Adventure Race

Ness Madeiros
Sharon Moe, Goldy, and Peter Moe.

Freshman Sharon Moe found out about the Gopher Adventure Race from a flyer in Coffman Union.

“I really wanted to do it with someone in my family because we all enjoy The Amazing Race TV show and we are an outdoor kind of family,” she says.

“But everybody had a conflict,” says her dad, Peter Moe (M.Ag. ’82, CFANS), with a laugh. “I was her last choice.”

Father and daughter got a bigger workout than they expected.

“One minute you’re playing wheelchair basketball, and the next you’re figuring out Greek letters on fraternity row,” says Peter.

“I loved rappelling down the Armory, looking for plants in the garden, and portaging the canoes,” says Sharon. “I thought it was funny that my dad had helped plant the garden and already knew the common and scientific names of almost all the plants. We passed a lot of people because of that!”

Peter Moe is now operations director at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The Moes won in the category for alumni 10+ years since earning a degree.

School of Kinesiology faculty members Jennifer Bhalla and Nicole LaVoi
School of Kinesiology faculty members
Jennifer Bhalla and Nicole LaVoi.

The Gopher Adventure Race more than doubled in size this year to a total of 100 teams of two. With plenty of sun and wind on the first Friday in October, the teams started at Northrop Plaza at noon. At least 80 teams finished the race. In between, they visited 19 stations on the east and west bank in Minneapolis and in St. Paul, getting clues to perform mental and physical feats along the way.

The race is organized by a team of students and volunteers led by Connie Magnuson, director of the B.S. program in recreation, park, and leisure studies in the School of Kinesiology. This year, 96 student staff got hands-on field experience in creating courses, marketing, and acquiring sponsors.

Second-year medical students Tracey Powell and Beth Tacl finished first overall, completing the race in 4 hours, 16 minutes. School of Kinesiology faculty members Jennifer Bhalla and Nicole LaVoi won in the faculty category.

Sharon Moe—a pre-nursing student in the College of Liberal Arts—says she'll definitely participate in the Gopher Adventure Race again next year. She would like to get her brother, a recent U grad, to try it. "But if that doesn't work out, I'm sure my dad wouldn't mind doing it again, either," she adds. "I underestimated how fit he was. We truly made a great team."

Watch for early-bird registration this spring for the fall 2012 race.

This article first appeared in Connect, the magazine of the College of Education and Human Development.
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