This Valentine’s Day is extra special for one Hoboken couple.
Ariel Kemelman, 29, and Kiley Rode, 26, are the proud winners of the second annual “Jewel of the Mile” scavenger hunt and the $10,000 diamond ring prize.
The contest, held by Hoboken Gold & Diamond exchange, sent couples searching on foot and on light-rail across Hoboken and Jersey City on Saturday by using provided clues and riddles, and a cell phone to find the hidden diamond.
“Our strategy was that we took the time to solve all the clues before we ran to the businesses so we had some sort of plan before running all over town,” said Rode, who along with his future wife outwitted 40 other couples entered in the contest.
This year’s event raised $4,500, according to store owner Anthony Lenardo, which is $2,000 more than last year. All of the proceeds will go towards the Young Survival Coalition.
“The turnout was great and everything worked out real well. Everyone was happy in the end,” said Lenardo, who added he wants to continue to have the event as long as there are participants and continued support by people.
Lenardo and his wife, Danielle Lenardo, have worked for the past 10 years to raise money to help young women affected by breast cancer since Danielle went into remission after being treated for breast cancer.
The winning couple, who met at Stevens Tech in Hoboken when Kemelman was a senior and Rode was a freshman and they have been dating for four years, credited their win on a combination of athleticism and skill.
The couple completed the hunt in three hours and were greeted at the World War II fountain in Jersey City by event organizers, who informed the couple they were the winners.
“I’m still in a lot of pain. We really pushed ourselves. I’d recommend for people to be prepared for a marathon if they want to compete,” said Kemelman.
Rode also thinks the couple also had some luck on their side to help with the win.
“Our lucky number is nine and that was the couple number they gave us. I’d like to think that helped us make it be,” she joked.
The couple has not set a date yet for their wedding, they have about 11 other weddings to attend in the next year. Winning the contest has put them one step closer to marriage, something Kemelman says couples need to remember when signing up for the scavenger hunt.
“This is for a serious couple ready to take the next step,” he said. “We were aware of the requirement when we signed up, so we were ready and look forward to what is to come.”
By Travis Fedschun/The Jersey Journal