Annual ‘Tray Race’ raises $16,200 for MS

(Photo by Nick Lachance).

Waiters and waitresses from various local restaurants showed off their serving skills Monday afternoon and raised $16,200 for charity at the annual “Tray Race” hosted by Ethel’s Lounge in Uptown Waterloo. 25 teams, including some from as far away as Cambridge, competed in the event to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

“For the last ten years we’ve been doing it,” said Greg Brow, the manager at Ethel’s. “All these people who work in this industry — the restaurant and bar industry — we all work so hard throughout the year, and we thought, ‘why can’t we give back to the people who support us?'”

For the past three races, Ethel’s has chosen the MS society of Canada as the charitable organization they will donate to. According to Brow, the event raised $38,000 for MS the past two years, and now with this year’s result, they have raised approximately $54,000 in total. Around 150 people showed up to either compete or just to enjoy the races.

“They’re amazing, just amazing,” said Susan St. John, the executive director at the Waterloo district chapter of the MS society. “This is the most exciting event that we participate in all year and we don’t have to organize it so that makes it more fabulous. The energy here is amazing and the fact that a whole bunch of folks are learning about MS and what it might be like to live with it is just super-duper.

“And the money they raise gets put to work right away.”

The tournament pits teams of four against one another in a one-on-one race where each competitor has to do one length of a obstacle course while carrying five open water bottles on tray with one hand. Once they weave through the obstacles, they pass the tray to their teammate on the other end. If a competitor topples some of the bottles, they have to put them all back on the tray before proceeding with the race. Competitors can’t use two hands, and the team with the best time and the most water in their bottles at the end wins the race.

After numerous races, the team that emerged victorious was The Duke of Wellington, a restaurant and pub in Uptown Waterloo. Ethel’s, who competes in the competition every year in addition to hosting it, came in second. But according to Brow, they’ve place second almost every time.

The Whale and Ale Pub in Kitchener raised the most money for the second year in a row, donating $3,600. St. John, who mentioned that the Whale and Ale is her favourite restaurant, said the support from the competitors each year is astonishing.

“This is their day off and they could be running around doing this for [their own] money,” said St. John. “When people want to do something for a charity and they choose you, it’s very gratifying.”


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