Athletes ‘Race for the River’

Published 12:39 pm Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

GOOSE CREEK STATE PARK — Dozens of athletes flocked to Goose Creek State Park near Washington Saturday morning for the fourth-annual Race for the River kayakalon sponsored by the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation.
Twenty-three teams and 85 individuals had registered for the event, said PTRF executive director David Emmerling shortly before the kayaks hit the waters of the Pamlico.
Competitors were to kayak along the river for a mile and a half, bike for 15 1/2 miles and then finish with a run of a little over three miles, Emmerling said.
“The individuals do all three legs, and the teams divide it among two or three people,” he said. “We have participants from this area, as well as from Virginia and the Piedmont of North Carolina.”
All net proceeds from the event will support PTRF in its mission to protect, preserve and promote the environmental quality Pamlico-Tar River and its watershed.
Among Saturday’s competitors was Hansel Lucas of Sanford, who said this was his second year competing in this event. With windy conditions and the choppy waters of the Pamlico, he expected the kayaking to be the most challenging.
“But it’s all good. It’s a good race,” Lucas said.
A newcomer to the event was Joel Bliven of Winterville. Win or lose, he said, the important thing was supporting PTRF.
“This really does highlight a good foundation pursuing conservation of our natural resources here in North Carolina,” Bliven said.
Kelley Thompson, superintendent of Goose Creek State Park, said she’s glad the park was hosting the kayakalon again this year.
“I’m excited that we have it back. It was held at Camp Bonner last year,” Thompson said. “For me, I think this park is a perfect venue for it, having the river, having the road for the bike leg and then, of course, the Tar Kiln Trail for the running part.”
That final leg seems to be a favorite of athletes, according to Thompson.
“The first two years we had it here, lots of participants complimented us on the beauty of the trail,” she said.
Thompson herself complimented PTRF riverkeeper Heather Jacobs Deck.
“I want to give a nod to Heather,” she said. “She’s done a great job getting the race organized and working so well with the park.”
Results of the Race for the River kayakalon will be published in the Daily New once they are provided by organizers.
*For more information about the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and its work, visit