After six months of planning, the day Alyson Pickard-Tattrie and Shea Nordheim had been working towards had finally arrived. Right to Play advocate Martin Parnell had come to UNB on his quest to set ten Guinness World Records at universities across Canada as a way to raise funds for the organization.
Pickard-Tattrie chewed nervously on the bandana tied around her neck as she sat at the registration laptop, looking up to flash a bright smile at anyone who walked in the gate to BMO Field. They needed over 250 registrants. Would they make it? Off to the side, closer to the cameras required to record the event by Guinness World Record regulations, Martin Parnell - the man behind it all - was much more optimistic. He'd already done this at seven universities, and he'd pulled off a record each time.
Parnell is a longtime supporter of Right to Play, an organization that fosters the use of play and sport as a means of empowering and transforming young people. In 2010, Parnell ran 250 marathons and raised $250,000. Now he's completing 10 Quests for Kids. This quest, the final one, involves breaking 10 Guinness World Records at 10 universities across Canada - and raising $1 million along the way.
UNB Right to Play had been working towards this event since October 7. They'd plastered flyers around campus, sponsored a residence challenge, contacted societies and used a lot of word of mouth. And it turned out that Pickard-Tattrie didn't need to worry after all. Close to 260 people turned out for the event to play one gigantic capture the flag event and (potentially) set a Guinness World Record.
"When we reached 250, it was the most amazing feeling," said Pickard-Tattrie, who with Nordheim is co-president of UNB Right to Play. "I could have cried from happiness. It was a huge weight off our shoulders."
The game lasted about 30 minutes before the flag made it across centre.
Nordheim was also pleased to see something they had worked towards for so long be a success.
"It was super cool to see all the university students out there and having such a good time!" he said. "It was also great to meet Martin Parnell. His story with Right to Play and all the fundraisers he has done is quite incredible."
For UNB Right to Play, though, the challenge won't end even if the game has.
"We're going to continue to fundraise," Nordheim said. "We will be holding at least one more event before Christmas to help Martin reach his $1 million goal."
After this, Parnell heads to Mount Allison. The quest will end with the 10th attempt at Memorial University in St. John's. Parnell and the Right to Play team there will aim to have the world's largest outdoor hockey game.