When avid paddler Kevin Odberg approached the James River Association with the idea to create a long distance paddle race a few years ago, James River Association staff members jumped at the opportunity to organize and host such a unique event.
Competitors in the inaugural James River Rundown. Credit: James River Association
Last year’s James River Rundown marked the sophomore year of the event organized by the James River Association, an organization known for protecting the river that runs through the heart of Virginia. In the words of Justin Doyle, Community Conservation Manager: “The James River Rundown showcases the beauty of the James while promoting river recreation. It’s an opportunity for folks from across Virginia and the United States to explore our scenic and historic river.”
More than 100 paddlers coming from as far away as Florida, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Colorado participated in the 2015 James River Rundown. The 2016 James River Rundown features a grueling 140-mile endurance race that begins the morning of June 11th at Riveredge Park in Lynchburg, Virginia and ends at American Legion Post 354 in Chesterfield, Virginia the following day. The 140-mile course is the longest navigable section of the James River and is one of the longest races of its kind on the east coast.
This year’s event also features a 100-mile race starting at James River State Park on June 11th and a 20-mile race starting at Powhatan State Park on June 12th. Competitors will navigate the James River in kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards, either as solo paddlers or in teams, and pass by historic river towns such as Howardsville, Scottsville, and Cartersville. Designated checkpoints will be setup along the way, offering paddlers opportunities to rest and camp during the event. All three races will culminate near Robious Landing at American Legion Post 354 for a family-friendly post-race celebration featuring food, beverages, and live music.
The James River Rundown is a Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series Event, Presented Nationally by Toyota benefiting the Upper and Lower James Riverkeepers®. Additional sponsorship is provided by Richmond Outside, Huguenot Trail Rotary Club, L.L. Bean, Mid-Atlantic Paddler’s Association, Cudas, and RVA Paddlesports. All proceeds from the event benefit the James River Association.
For more information on the James River Rundown, or to sign up to race or volunteer, visit www.jamesriverrundown.org.