UXBRIDGE, Mass. – It was cold and damp and drizzly, but more than 600 athletes of varying ages, sizes, shapes and abilities took on the challenge Saturday of UniBank’s 12th annual Blackstone River Valley Greenway Challenge Adventure Race.
The race was an idea born from the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission to bring awareness to and advocate for the river in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with a goal of making it swimmable by 2015.
The 46.5-mile course included three running segments (trail, street and cross country), two biking segments (mountain and street), and two river paddle segments, taking athletes through several communities in both states. The race ended at the River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, part of the Blackstone River State Park in Massachusetts.
Participants entered as individuals who took on all segments of the race alone, or as members of a team who shared course responsibilities.
There had been talk of delaying the race a week, but the Challenge has been postponed only once in its 12 year history, noted Steering Committee Chairman Charles Thompson, and that was for a hurricane.
Donna Williams, chairman of the Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission, invited race participants back – but not to race. “You don’t have to go through it quite as fast as today,’’ she said. “Explore this wonderful, wonderful place.’’
In addition to the race, the day included food, music and activities for children.