The Amazing Charity Race is always held on the Saturday of Fathers Day weekend and there are always a lot of dads teamed up with their children. In the photo above, Kailey Hammer is leading her dad Matt through the swim-fin Jimmy Buffett Paradise bungee-cord-course. They crossed the finish line together, holding hands celebrating their morning together.

Olivia Smith is a student at Loveland High School

by Olivia Smith

Miami Township and Loveland, Ohio – I volunteered at the most exciting and fun challenge station at this year’s Amazing Charity Race… the Jimmy Buffett “We are the people our parents warned us about” station and it was the last one racers had to complete before crossing the finish line. Let me tell you about what your friends and neighbors had to do before they were allowed to cross the finish line after a two-hour grueling race that took them to many parts of Loveland and Miami Township.

The 14th annual Race was held on Saturday, June 15th. It was a cool day outside, at about 67 degrees. It was very cloudy and rained often but it was a light rain. Just about perfect for everyone who worked so hard, including the many hundreds who volunteered. The start and finish line were at Grailville, the 300-acre retreat center just on the outskirts of Loveland on O’Bannon Avenue. This year there were  20 “Challenge Stations” and about 1,100 people in teams of two, participated.

A team only feet from the finish line of the Amazing Charity Race after completing the Jimmy Buffett challenge.

About 50 local charities benefited from this year’s race and it has raised about $700,000 over the last 14 years. The money paid when participants register goes towards those different charities, so when you run in the race, it is for a very good cause. At the end of the race, participants get a chance to vote for their favorite “Challenge Station” or the one they thought had the most pep and the winning station gets an extra $500 towards the charity of their choice.

The challenges can be anything, but they are all made to be fun, physically or mentally. To get to the next station, teams either ran, biked, or “tubed” (tubing was on the Little Miami River). This year there was about 5-½ miles of biking and racing, so it was about equal. If you would like to register for the next Amazing Charity Race, you can do so by clicking on this LINK.

Teammates taking on the swim-fin Jimmy Buffett Paradise bungee-cord-course.

Another way you can participate in the race is by volunteering as I did for the second time. This year I volunteered at the last challenge in the race. This challenge was Jimmy Buffett themed. It took about 60 volunteers for the challenge to run smoothly.

The first thing participants had to do when they got to the challenge was to put a pair of swim fins and goggles on, and step over and through a series of bungee cords. Then, because of the fins, they would waddle over to a series of baby pools filled with colored water and poker chips. There they had to find 5 clear chips and get them checked by a volunteer.

The odds are in your favor at the Margaritaville Casino!

After they succeeded with that, they would continue waddling over to some pool floaties. These floaties were tall flamingos and palm trees. Participants would have to throw 3 hula hoops onto those floaties. After that, they would waddle over to some more baby pools but this time, they were inflatable pools. They would have to walk, or jump into the pool and make their way through them. Then they would continue waddling as fast as they could to the finish line, where they got to see their loved ones, brag to each other, and have food and refreshments while listening to the local band, Counting Skeletons – fins free!

The swim-fin Jimmy Buffett Paradise bungee-cord-course

The last station’s charity was the Karen Carns Foundation. I interviewed Tom Carns, the husband of Karen Carns, who founded the Karen Carns Foundation and asked him to tell me a little bit about the foundation and why it’s important to him. He said, “The main purpose is to assist grieving kids so they can stay in their schools with their teachers and friends. I get to know these kids and families who are going through the same things my kids did.” The money the organization gets goes directly to the students and families for them to use towards school tuition. Other funds are used to purchase winter coats for students. One thing Tom really likes about the race is that it is a lot of fun and it brings everyone together.

Next, I interviewed Jenny Lytle. She is on both the Race Board and the Karen Carns Foundation Board. The Race Board Members have the hard job of coming up with new ideas every year. “We start coming up with ideas the day after the race. My favorite thing about the race is all the wacky challenges and making it fun for everyone.”

Would you like to learn more or donate to the Karen Carns Foundation?

Primary focus of Foundation:

A child will never be removed from his or her environment of a private elementary or high school education due to a life-changing event that affects the family’s financial situation.


Embrace the true meaning of Christmas, by involving children in the charity of providing new winter coats to those less fortunate.

After Lytle, I interviewed Ed Driscoll who was in his 10th year of being involved with the race. The Karen Carns Foundation is also important to him is because he experienced very similar issues that those kids are going through when at age 9 he lost his own dad. He feels very strongly about education so the Foundation means a lot to him.  I asked Ed what his favorite part of the last challenge was. “The fun part is watching groups trying to get the hula hoops around the floaties while the wind is blowing and hearing them sing Cheeseburger in Paradise.”.

Lynn Oury on the left and Cynthia Tait on the right also volunteered at the Amazing Charity Race on behalf of the Karen Carns Foundation.

I also interviewed two volunteers; Lynn Oury and Cynthia Tait. They had run the race together the first year it was held. They both love being a part of the community and it was a great way for them to do that. Tait said laughing, “I wanna be involved but I’m getting older and I can’t run the race anymore.” Oury said, “I love seeing everybody like you and people that I know, so it’s awesome.”

This short video is some clips of racers heading to the finish line after waddling, some falling, some being pushed through the waiting, wading pool.

Loveland Magazine is extremely proud to be one of the many sponsors of the Amazing Charity Race!

Learn more about the Amazing Charity Race, how your group can volunteer, how you can be a corporate sponsor so even more money is raised, or to register for the 2020 race.

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