Registration is Open for the 2012 Great Russian River Race on May 12th
Race to benefit Veterans Memorial Beach and the river education program
Healdsburg, CA – January 23, 2011 - Russian Riverkeeper, River's Edge Kayak & Canoe and Sonoma County Regional Parks Department today announce the opening of registration for The 2012 Great Russian River Race taking place on May 12th. The Great Russian River Race (GR3) will attract some of the world’s top canoeing, kayaking and SUP athletes, local adventurers, social paddlers and corporate teams to race in two exciting events.
The Russian River has a rich history in hosting river events, dating back to the Water Carnival of 1908. In this tradition, Russian Riverkeeper will host the 2012 Great Russian River Race as a fundraiser for the Clean Campus Clean Creeks program and for the installation of the Veteran’s Memorial Beach Dam.
The Russian River is one of America’s most beautiful rivers stretching 100 miles from the mountains of Mendocino County, through the Sonoma wine country and flowing into the Pacific Ocean. The river is the lifeblood of the region, supporting wildlife and critical ecosystems, irrigating thousands of acres of farming and providing drinking water to over half a million residents.
Hundreds of thousands of people visit the Russian River each year to swim, fish, kayak, raft, and canoe. The River, its estuaries and tributaries are home to abundant wildlife; Coho and Chinook salmon, as well as Steelhead Trout, rely on the River for key spawning grounds each winter.
In addition to the fun of the race, GR3 is also a vehicle to build community spirit and involvement around Sonoma’s most important natural asset. The 2011 GR3 was a great success with approximately 250 paddlers, 700 River Race Party-goers, an impressive list of sponsors and with significant media exposure. This year’s event promises to double in size and has already attracted key sponsors and participants from many businesses in the Russian River catchment.
Advanced and expert paddlers will compete in a 15-mile Bridge-to-Bridge Race, starting at the Alexander Valley Bridge. Intermediate and corporate team paddlers will do battle over the 5-mile Rio Lindo Race, starting north of Healdsburg. Both races will finish at the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge, welcomed by the River Race Party featuring great food, local beer & wine and live music on the banks of the River.
The emphasis of the Great Russian River Race is adventure, competition and fun. Race winners will share over $5,000 in cash and prizes. The two races are designed to accommodate professional athletes, corporate and social teams as well as families. Professional outfitter, River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe will manage the river operations, safety and logistics for the race.
“In 2011, the Race kicked off a summer of fun on the River that revived past traditions of boat racing and of course the Water Carnival. Both events benefitted the community and river,” says Russian Riverkeeper Don McEnhill, “plus it’s a fun way to open the season on the River.”
“We are so excited to partner with Russian Riverkeeper to put on this fantastic event. It will be great fun for participants and spectators alike, and help us make the historic Veterans Memorial Beach swimming hole available this summer,” stated Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Caryl Hart. “This is a great example of the new model for sustainable parks - parks and their partners working together to serve our community.”
“I’ve been in the river outfitting business for many years and last year’s Race was a blast for me and for our crews. It was a great way to kick off the canoeing season on the River” said Lollie Mercer, owner of River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe.
“The Great Russian River Race caters to professional and recreational paddlers and is rapidly becoming one of the top river races in America”, says Tony Hansen, Race Director. “Entries are now open and we recommend that interested paddlers visit the website and sign up while there is still space.”
Founded in 1993, Russian Riverkeeper’s core mission is working with the community to conserve the River watershed through public education, advocacy and by celebrating our River. Riverkeeper is a locally directed non-profit that is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance with a vision of providing a clean, healthy river to future generations.
Sonoma County Regional Parksoperates 49 parks, eleven being on the River, including the iconic Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach. From the Ocean to the Redwoods the parks are here for everyone to get outdoors and enjoy Sonoma County’s natural landscape.
River’s Edge Kayak and Canoecontinues to offer canoe and kayak trips and carries on the tradition of providing river outfitter service that Trowbridge Canoes started after World War II. River’s Edge offers two primary trips similar to the Race routes, provides custom shuttle service and boat rental, and makes sure you have a wonderful experience on the River from check-in to the end of your trip!
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For More Information:
GR3 Website: www.greatrussianriverrace.com
Kate Wilson, GR3 Coordinator, Russian Riverkeeper
Vikings, cowgirls and neon hippies raced through Alexander Valley in kayaks and canoes Saturday at the Great Russian River Race.
About 250 paddlers plunged through the river, with 55 competitors starting at Alexander Valley Bridge for a 15-mile race, and the rest starting at Rio Linda Beach, five miles from the finish line.