Kayakalon-ers brave tough weather

Published 9:03 pm Monday, May 6, 2013


RIVER RIDE: Kayaks line the shore at Goose Creek State Park before the start of the seventh annual PTRF Kayakalon.


Cooler temperatures and strong winds made for tough going at the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation’s seventh annual Race for the River Kayakalon on Saturday.

“It was a cooler race and I think Mother Nature threw everything she had at the participants,” said PTRF Riverkeeper Heather Jacobs Deck.

More than 90 people turned out to Goose Creek State Park for the triathalon that includes a 1.5-mile kayak paddle on the Pamlico River, a 15-mile bike ride and a 3-mile run in the state park.

“Most people are not happy to get the run portion but this year they were just happy to get out of the wind,” Deck explained. “The wind was tough.”

But the competitors were tougher, according to Deck. While the wind slowed the times down a bit in comparison to previous years, the first male to cross the finish line was Matthew Jordan of Pantego, with a time of 1:28:24; the first female finish was by Lisa Mischley of Raleigh, with a time of 1:38:23; and the winning relay team was father-daughter duo Patrick and Leigh Harris from Greenville, with a time of 1:39:46.

In its seventh year, the race has picked up participants from far and wide, especially after it got a mention from a nationwide fitness magazine a few years ago, according to Deck.

“People find out about it through word of mouth and family and friends that invite others to come do it,” Deck said. “There’s really no other race like it, in North Carolina, that I know of.”

The Race for the River Kayakalon stands out because it substitutes a kayak-paddling leg for what would normally be the swimming portion of the traditional triathalon.

“For those that are not strong swimmers, it gives them an opportunity to try the race,” Deck explained.

The first Race for the River was organized by Washington outdoor-fun retailers Inner Banks Outfitters with PTRF as the recipient of the funds raised. Six years later, PTRF continues to host the triathalon, fair weather or foul.

“It’s a small event, but we have fun putting it on,” Deck said.