Didn’t attend? There’s always next year— meanwhile, here is a rundown to keep you in the loop.
The most exhilarating and grueling race of the year took place on Friday, March 9th, 2018. La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2018 had hundreds of people waiting so eagerly to see which of the 53 teams would make it to the finish line first! Belizeans and visitors from all over started to gather very early while the sun wasn’t even out. As usual live music and plenty of food and beverage had to be present to start off the 4-day celebration.
The race started from under the historic Hawkesworth Bridge where everyone observed as they wore their favourite team’s shirts and cheered them on. Other spectators lined up on the wooden bridge and alongside the Macal River bank to get a closer look at the paddlers lineup.
At 7:00am, the Belize National Anthem marked the official beginning of the race as the crowd roared with cheer when the adventure race took off. A few of the teams were quick to go under the wooden bridge with no issues while others got stuck or flipped over—no worries, the crowd stayed positive and cheered them on!
As customary, the route was as follows: the first stop was Banana Bank (approximately 49 miles from the Hawkesworth Bridge) where the participating teams camped out on Day 1. Day 2 took them from Banana Bank to Double Head Cabbage (60 miles) and on the Day 3 the paddlers raced 36 miles from Double Head Cabbage to Burrell Boom. On Day 4, the shortest leg but most exhilarating leg of the journey, took the participants 26 miles from Henderson Bank in Burrell Boom to the Belize City’s Belcan Bridge.
Who made it to the finish line first? Drum roll, please—Koop Sheet Metal team from Spanish Lookout won La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2018! Their time was 17 hours, 8 minutes, and 50 seconds. Team U.E.S Westrac Ltd. & Bismillah Stores and Young Cutters won second and third place, respectively. Our team Horsing Around came in 19th place overall and 6th place in Family Category. On behalf of San Ignacio Resort Hotel, we would like to congratulate all participants for their exceptional energy throughout this grueling race!
Other interesting contenders to mention were the oldest and youngest paddlers Mr. Bob Vincent of 75 years old and Daniel Cruz, who was a member of SIRH’s 2017 team Higher Steaks, of 10 years old! The Perseverance Award was given to Friends of Friends Cobb’s Arm.
Check out the following videos highlighting the beginning and end of the race!
Courtesy of La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge