The holidays are characterized as a time of giving, and in particular giving to those less fortunate. For Dori Wittrig, President of Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate, the spirit of the holidays has always culminated in an event she refers to as The Great Sonoran Race. It is a fun-filled day that is a combination Road Rally, Scavenger Hunt, team competition and crazy antics that net loads of toys, food and gifts for local organizations in need.
“It’s always my favorite day of the year,” says Wittrig, who has sponsored The Race for 10 years now. “It was my way of creating a corporate holiday event that didn’t feel like the same old boring holiday party for staff and clients. Along the way, it has grown to become a way for folks to participate in a day of giving that results in a mountain of items for those in need.”
This year, Wittrig invited other local businesses to join her Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate group.
“Stephanie Bjorkman and Sami Fine Jewelry came on board immediately, because that’s who they are…a group of community minded individuals who like to give back. Kent Martinson at On-Q Financial and Shawn White from Sternfels and White Law also came on board, and together we had nearly 60 racers who participated. Some of our vendors, including MCL Cleaning, Sweet Designs, Romans Empire Services and Nick Laessig Photography also participated.”
The change to this year’s Race created a spirit of team competition unequalled in previous years. Many of the 4-6 person teams showed up wearing team shirts. Teams with names like Santa’s Elves, Combat Crew, Reindeer Gamers and Grinch Mob amped up the fun.
The Sonoran Race has always supported the Extended Hands Food Bank and Toys for Tots. This year, Pals Rescue and the McKenzie Monks Foundation were included.
“In the final tally, we were able to provide 13 turkeys and hams to the Extended Hands Food Bank, along with 279 items for holiday dinners and 172 regular food staples, plus a cash donation of nearly $200. Toys for Tots received 119 toys; The McKenzie Monks Foundation received numerous blankets, games and toys that will end up in “Kenzie Cases” and given to kids who are admitted with cancer to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Pals Rescue, a local dog shelter operated at Pals Inn, received 12 bags of dog food, 35 leashes and collars and 32 pet toys.”
Held on December 15, at the Wicked Six Grill at SunRidge Canyon, The 2013 Great Sonoran Race managed to touch thousands in the community, and not just with giving. Participants were asked to perform acts of kindness—like caroling at local coffee shops. Racers also stopped at the Fountain Hills Community Theater to perform an improvisational skit. At Fountain View Village, dressed as characters from the Duck Dynasty series, they “fished” a rubber duck out of the water and entertained the residents with crazy antics.
“I’m told that one group received a round of applause at Fort McDowell Casino…I’ve yet to learn what they did to earn that attention,” laughs Wittrig, nervously.
“Anyone who has ever participated in The Great Sonoran Race goes away with a wonderful sense of holiday spirit, giving and connectedness. In 2014, who knows? We so enjoyed having the company of the other organizations, and next year we’ll probably extend the invitation even farther.”
Anyone interested in participating in The 2014 Great Sonoran Race can call Wittrig at 480-816-5557. A video of the event can be found at Youtube “Great Sonoran Race.”