Millions of little yellow rubber ducks have raced to fill the coffers of charities around the world. The world record is 205,000 ducks in a single race. But not every group has access to the rivers and streams necessary to put on a duck race. That does not make a duck race is impossible. It just requires a bit of ingenuity and the ability to improvise. Distance runners, or relays of runners, carrying rubber ducks in buckets of water could be a great advertising gimmick for your group.
Design a course suitable for running. This could be a school running track, an easy obstacle course or a course that covers a few blocks in town. The race can be set up for different ages or distances, or it could be a relay race for groups. The race could also be designed for bikes, wagons or even on horse back.
Apply for any necessary permits. Tax and event permits are often required by municipalities or states. Some venues require insurance coverage. Security and traffic control issues need to be addressed if your race is on city streets. Road closures and lollipop men need to cleared with local administrators and possibly with state or town police. Many towns have a community liaison that can explain the requirements for your area.
Solicit prizes from local businesses or determine a cash prize based on sponsorship. You could have one grand prize or several categories for the winners based on age or time.
Advertise your dry land duck race. Newspapers, local TV stations and community websites sometimes offer free event advertising to charities. Your charity's website, posters and leaflets placed in prominent locations will spread word of your event. Explain how your dry land duck race works. If you planned a simple distance race, the first over the finish line wins. A relay race, obstacle race or one raced on horse back could also be judged on the fastest and the one with the most water left in the bucket. List the registration fee, the prizes offered and the contact e-mail address and phone numbers.
Collect registration fees from individuals and groups wishing to compete. The group treasurer or a designated event registrar should be responsible for accepting fees. A numbered ticket could also be sold for each racing 'duck' registered with a cash prize given to the one holding the winning ticket.
Order one duck and bucket for each contestant or relay team. The bucket should be large enough to hold one duck and enough water to allow it to float but not so big that it is too heavy to carry while running. Small plastic sand pails would work. Order a few extra ducks and buckets for last-minute entries
Assign each contestant a race number and verify that the registration fee has been paid on the morning of the race. Hand each runner or team a numbered bucket that matches the registration number.
Fill the buckets with a garden hose or from a water-filled stock tank. If the winner will also be judged on the amount of water left in the bucket at the finish, then each bucket should be filled with an equal amount of water. Float a rubber duck in each bucket.
Line up the contestants. Start the race.
Award the prizes to the winners. Collect the ducks and buckets to be stored for next year's race.
Take ideas from other fund-raising events: A rubber duck and spoon race, a duck throwing contest or even a yellow duck baking contest could add to your race day and provide more ways to raise money for your charity.