Great Amazing Race Coming To Royal Palm Beach On April 7

By Erin Davisson

The Great Amazing Race is happening Saturday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park.

Loosely based on the popular TV show “The Amazing Race,” organizers said that this race is meant to be great! Team work is definitely needed, as well as walking, jogging or running. Most importantly, participants should be prepared to get wet and dirty. It’s designed to be even more fun than the average 5K run.

The event is sponsored by Dogs to the Rescue. Founded last year by area resident and firefighter Maria Fonzi Gonzalez, this nonprofit organization will use the event as a fundraiser.

“Our goal is to train dogs as therapists for our first responders that suffer from PTSD,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez explained that many first responders — firefighters, paramedics and police officers — have seen horrific scenes during their service. These scenes can leave them scarred and mentally hurting. Therapy dogs are specifically trained to help anybody with work-induced trauma and keep them as calm as possible.

It has also been shown that therapy dogs can help lower blood pressure and help people work through any negative emotions that happened to them. The group’s training takes place in Boca Raton, and they also allow families to foster dogs.

“We already have two dogs training for our first responders,” she said.

This is the second fundraiser for Dogs to the Rescue hosted at Commons Park. Last December, the group collaborated with the successful Santas on the Run event.

The April 7 event, in conjunction with the national Great Amazing Race organization, is to help promote exercising, fitness awareness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Created in 2012, Great Amazing Race’s main charity partner is the Max Cure Foundation. It works with sponsoring organizations like Dogs to the Rescue and does not take any money from the local entity.

The program allows up to 100 two-person teams in the race and is for people from age 4 all the way up to age 84. The Great Amazing Race is an all-American event that has had participants from both the NBA and the NFL.

Two types of courses are offered, the leisure version for those who want to go at their own pace for fun and the competitive course for high achievers. Participants in the competitive course must be physically active with a desire to compete against others. There are four race divisions, which are based on either grade divisions or age. Eight outdoor challenge courses will be made. The track is roughly 1.5 miles for the entire course.

No one will know about the obstacles they’re facing during their run. There will be stations that provide clues about what each challenge will be during the race. The first teams to go up are the children. Every 10 minutes, another wave goes by. If there are adults paired with kids, then they will go next, followed by the adult teams.

“It’s going to be exciting!” Gonzalez said.

Space is limited, so sign up early to participate at Sponsorships are also available, visit or e-mail Maria Gonzalez at for more information.