Excitement on the River -- Belize's 2007 La Ruta Maya River Challenge -- Video and Photo Available
Monday November 13, 10:30 am ET
Belize's Largest Sporting Event Attracts Competitors from Around the World
BELIZE CITY, Belize, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The tenth annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge -- the longest canoe race in Central America -- will take to the river from March 8th -- 11th, 2007. Hundreds of paddlers and avid canoe enthusiasts come from all over the world to take part in Belize's most recognized sports event, an energy-packed four day race that covers 180 miles of the country's most scenic waterways.
To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/belize/25797/
"The La Ruta Maya River Challenge is a test of endurance and a spectacular journey for mind, body and spirit." explained Tracy Panton, Belize Director of Tourism. "The race brings together over ninety teams of international canoeists, locals and visitors to witness Belize's most adrenaline-pumping event, take part in environmental conservation, and share in a rich cultural experience."
Beginning in the scenic foothills of the Maya Mountains and finishing in the bustling port city of Belize City, the race will travel from West to East along the historic river trail of the Macal and Belize Rivers. Once the only link between the two coasts, these tributaries served as a major trading route for Belize's once powerful Mayan civilization. Today, the La Ruta Maya River trail still follows in the footsteps of its legendary past with a route of lush, unspoiled landscapes lined with exotic flora and fauna.
During their pursuit for the finish line, racers and supporters will camp overnight where they can relax, socialize and enjoy the best in Belizean fare, before sprinting towards the finish line cheered on by the excited crowds.
In addition to being hailed as Belize's most competitive sporting event, La Ruta Maya River Challenge is also one of the country's largest collaborative conservation efforts. Held in the spirit of preservation and revitalization of Belize's precious waterways, the La Ruta Maya will donate all proceeds to local environmental groups that help sustain and keep the river clean.
Consisting of a maximum of three paddlers, each team will compete in one of seven different divisions on the basis of age, gender and construction of canoes. Entry fees are US $125 with a prize goal of $3,000 as well as thousands of dollars in sponsored "station prizes" each day to generate excitement and keep contestants on their toes.
Sponsors such as Nestle, Big-H Juice, Becol, Zeta and the Belize Tourism Board will award a First Place cash prize and the perennial "Kinich Ahua" (Maya Sun God) trophy to the team with the best overall time at the finish line.
Fittingly, the race will once again be held in conjunction with the country's Baron Bliss Day celebrations - a large Belizean festival that commemorates adventurer Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, who sailed to Belize in 1926 and fell in love with the country. Honoring this lover of the sea, Belizeans have always celebrated the holiday with water sporting events and this grand river challenge brings the ultimate excitement to the festivities.
Snuggled between Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south, relaxed, English-speaking Belize is only a two-hour plane ride from the continental United States. Adventure into a land rich in natural beauty and steeped in the magic of its Maya past. Renowned for pristine waters, exotic marine and wildlife, lush unspoiled landscapes, and superb diving, Belize is Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret.
For more information on the race, please contact race headquarters at 501-824-2444, or contact the Belize Tourism Board at 501-223-1913, http:///www.travelbelize.org.
Source: Belize Tourism Board