9th of February 2020. A day much eagerly anticipated by the rotaracters of RACALBS. From the meticulous organization and execution by the organizing committee and the careful pre-planning by many of our participants, Conquer Colombo is by far one of the most hyped events of the Rotaract calendar. Setting the bar higher than ever before, My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 was back with more new twists and challenges of all forms , be it rowing challenges, electric scooter challenges and even VR gaming challenges. This grand scale project involving almost 500 participants was initiated with the motive of aiding of the club’s major community service project “Project Life”. This project targets at combatting Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in several affected communities in Killinochchi by aiding for the building of Reverse Osmosis systems. Since its inauguration in 2013, Conquer Colombo has been more than successful in aiding project life along with providing a unique experience to its participants.
Having run a strong PR campaign teasing this year’s participants with past, present and futuristic videos of Colombo city, This year’s Conquer Colombo ran the theme of “Time Travel” where the participants took part in a time based adventure in order to save the apocalyptic city of Colombo. The storyline was ingrained in each of the three phases (namely past, present and future phase) and also within each challenge which included a unique story of its own. Shifting CC paradigms every year, this year’s event included the concept of hunting for “Key Fragments” which was a first in CC history. Completing each challenge in a phase provided a hint to the location where the key fragment relevant for the phase was hidden. Once the participants have found the 3 fragments (which pieced together forms an QR code), it led the participant to a surprise coordinated location. This new format of the race was definitely an eye opener for many of Conquer Colombo’s veteran participants who has grown accustomed to the monotonous setting of the race. All these factors added in glamour and spice to My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 and truly shifted the metrics of this year’s competition.
The event kickstarted with variety of small entertainment items by a few of the participants as the crowd started registering at Race Course in the morning. Following heated competition for the best themed and funkiest ride awards, everyone’s attention was taken away to the exotic cars of the Italian car enthusiasts club and the grand entrance of the 4×4 monster trucks by the Ironman team. Following the announcement of the rules and regulations, the participants were taken by surprise by the sudden play of cryptic video. It showed an obscure time traveller fore-warning of an apocalypse in the city and that the participants must travel in time to save this mystery time traveller from a time chamber to save the city.
The cryptic message finally triggered the kick start of this much awaited race. Following a literal stampede of participants racing to obtain their first clue sheet, teams were rushing at every direction to reach their rides and to figure out where to head first. Having the opportunity to check up on each of the challenge locations, it was a pleasure watching the participants engage in not only heated competition but also genuine team work where each member prioritized and played according to each of their strengths. Cracking open a mystery chest at Escape The Room, speed painting two historical flags, rowing across the Beira or even fumbling on the floor playing bean bag twister, It goes without saying that this year’s CC was truly an experience to remember for both the participants and organizers alike.
The closing ceremony capped off one of the greatest events of the Rotaract calendar on a high note. Having pieced together the 3 key fragments, many teams scrambled back to race course to find the fabled time chamber where they witnessed the thrilling ending of the storyline. The closing ceremony started off with the commencement of the raffle draw which is one of the more awaited events during Conquer Colombo. Winners walked away with gift baskets and a variety of exciting gift vouchers. Up next came the awards for best themed, funkiest ride, Supermen and Wonder Women. Last but not the least, the top fifteen teams of Conquer Colombo 2020 were awarded with variety of exciting prizes from gift baskets to voucher. Team “Young Dumb and Broke” came in third and received a variety of amazing prizes along with an opportunity for an overnight stay at Mango House, Galle Fort. Winners of the Super men award “Team Joe-Pete” also went on to take the number 2 spot of My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 winning an overnight stay at Jetwing hotel along with other exciting prizes. Team “Ali’s Army” topped the point list of this year’s event and went on to be crowned champions of My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020, securing 4 return air tickets to Singapore among other exciting prizes.
Providing new experiences which most participants would have never before experienced anywhere else is what Conquer Colombo is held in high regard for. Regardless of whether participants managed to break into the top 15 or not, without any doubt, everyone left with a feeling of satisfaction and eagerness to look forward to this event again next year. From speed eating fried rice using chopsticks, mind boggling mind challenges such as the escape the room challenge to fast paced virtual reality gaming, My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 was definitely not a day to miss. Reaching new milestones in a event ever-filled with potential, My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 left quite the mark on the Rotaract calendar and leaving us with the anticipation of an even more awe-inspiring event next year.
Rtr. Asel Gunaratne