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#561443 01/25/23 06:21 AM
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It's that time of the year again for the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge!

On March 6th, 2023 River Bend Resort Belize will host its annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge Watch Party.

The La Ruta Maya River Challenge is a grueling 4 day canoe race traveling through the 180 mile rugged river route across the country of Belize.

Join us for up close and personal views of the race, amazing hospitality, food, drinks, games and prizes.

Entry fee is $10.00 and comes with a complimentary drink.

If you have questions about tickets and how you can be part of the River Bend Resort Watch Party please feel free to contact us at 610-5584.

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Marty #561756 02/17/23 05:45 AM
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The 26th La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is just 15 days away!

The countdown is on! In just a few weeks paddlers will take to the river in the 26th Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge !
15 DAYS TO GO
March 3-6 2023


Marty #561814 02/22/23 07:14 AM
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La Ruta Maya Opening Bash 2023

The 2023 La Ruta Maya Opening Bash is going to be lit! TLC Band will be performing! DJ Special will be mixing, along with DJ AJ and Masta King. Stig da Artist will be there, and he'll have his new Etre Vu. Thursday, March 2nd, starting at 5pm, at Macal River Park.

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Marty #561867 02/25/23 03:34 PM
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On The River With La Ruta Paddlers

La Ruta Maya is next weekend and teams preparations are in high gear.

This morning, we found two canoes on the water preparing for the final stretch coming into the city. Cherisse Halsall has the story:

It was a practice run this morning for two teams set to compete in next week's La Ruta Maya. Two canoes set on the glistening waters of the Belize river.

And this morning when we met up with these young paddlers, it was to see their youthful energy set within the ageless conflict of man vs. nature. They were keen to show off their passion for the elemental challenge along with their drive to win.

And, that drive for most young men on these teams is an inherited one after a childhood watching or riding along with family members on Belize's waterways. And that's just how frontman Carlos Linares got his start.

Carlos Linares, Frontman, Paddler
"Well, I started 8 years ago. I was a kid and I saw my family were paddling so I decided to take a try and I got to love the sport so that it why I am here now."

Cherisse Halsall:
"Alright, talk to me about this upcoming race now, what are you planning for, what will be the challenges when this La Ruta Maya?"

Carlos Linares, Frontman, Paddler
"Well, we have been preparing since November, uh, this year La Ruta Maya will be pretty tough since we have. A lot of big guns out there so, but we are expecting to do pretty well."

"I am paddling. With Enrique Cruz and Cristian Lopez, uh, like I mentioned we have been training so those guys are pretty tough and strong so I think we are capable of doing good."

Enrique Cruz says paddling was a tough sport to get into but that once he got the hang of it he was all in.

Enrique Antonio Cruz, Paddler
"I'm confident because I have two strong paddlers, they have already paddled with two other team mates but me and - have already done one year together so, we feel good about that."

"I don't move faster than anyone else but we try to follow the rhythm that the boatman carries, yeah. He has to take that rhythm and then we have to follow. I have one son and a wife."

Cherisse Halsall:
"How do they feel about the fact that you are in the race?"

Enrique Antonio Cruz, Paddler
"Well, they feel proud, and they encourage me to continue."

And rounding out that first team is dedicated paddler, Cristian Lopez, who told us that even on the water, he feeds from the fan frenzy:

Cristian Lopez, Paddler
"The fans motivate you to keep jamming and I love this sport here, I grew up watching my family do it so I just want to get into it and the first time I tried it I just got to love it."

Cherisse Halsall:
"Talk to me about this race, what the challenges are, and how you plan to overcome them."

Cristian Lopez, Paddler
"Well, this. Race right here will be hard there are a lot of fast teams. I know we are not that fast but I am. Confident in my two, my frontman and my middle man that we could do something for this Ruta Maya, I know we can win this. I just put in my time and sacrifice myself."

Cherisse Halsall:
"So after you win the race what are your next plans?"

Cristian Lopez, Paddler
"Well, thank God we have an opportunity to go out to the U.S. to try to represent Belize and hopefully we go out there and represent it."

And this morning our 7News team got a preview of the representation we can expect from these teams next weekend, Their skill, pace and cadence was on ample display this morning as they rounded the bend in the river to Manatee landing at the end of a triumphant lap. Their hope is that when they do it again next weekend, they'll do it at the front of the crowd.

Jimmy Donis, Paddler
"Well, this year it's going to be ver challenging for me because I'm going C2 and that's only two persons in a canoe, it's not like paddling with two other teammates, noh. So this year is going to be very rough, and tiring."

"My team consist of Jose, Giron, he's my bra-lee, and well I. Have a strong feeling we can win the category and we have been training for a while now so I believe we can do. Good this year."

"I like the challenge, I like the adrenaline, and making my people proud, noh."

And the inspiration to get started was no different for the youngest in the group. At just 14 years old Brian Cruz told us that he was joining in a very long-held tradition of paddlers from the west.

Brian Cruz, Paddler
"Well because I saw my uncle and my whole family is doing this, that's why and they inspired me to do it so I wanted to paddle."

Cherisse Halsall:
"In your wildest dreams, how is this gonna go this weekend?"

Brian Cruz, Paddler
"Well, it will be hard because we have a lot of people to compete with and they are fast and tough so it's going to be hard. It's going to be hard for us to come in first in our category so we will try."

The Ruta Maya 2023 runs from March 3rd to March 6th.

Channel 7


Marty #561925 03/08/23 10:01 AM
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Guava Limb Teens Take La Ruta Maya

The "slim and trim" boys of the Guava Limb Team walked away as this year's La Ruta Maya champs after four days on the river. It was the first time 19-year-olds Javier Guardado and Andres Cabb, and 15-year-old Daniel Cruz competed in the 'pro' category, but their years of experience and ability to work as a team came in handy during those long mornings spent paddling.

And for the three teenagers, all the hard work was worth it when they finally crossed that finish line. Courtney Menzies was at the Belcan Bridge yesterday as residents gathered to watch the anticipated end of the race. Here is that story.

After four grueling days of non-stop paddling, Team Guava Limb came out on top for this year's La Ruta Maya River Challenge.

They started out in the west, taking the big win on day one at Banana Bank Lodge, and the team captain said while they conserved energy for the next two days they put their all into the final leg, crossing the finish line first at Belcan Bridge after a furious sprint.

Javier Guardado, Team Guava Limb
"I feel proud of myself and my teammates that we managed to come in first in the Belikin La Ruta Maya and to win the first day and the last day. From months before, that was the plan, to try to win the first day and the last day, because we know that in the canal it's hard, but the other team, and like the first day it was shallow so that's our advantage. So we knew we were going to win it but we weren't sure."

"In the other two days between, like how in the first day we managed to put some time on Team Pact because you know Team Pact is one of the best teams. So the second day we just tried to ride and rest and reach to the finish with them and the third day as well and well today, try to do something better."

"The hardest part I felt it was today because like entering the canal it was wavy, a lot of water was going into the canoe and it was right there Team Koop went, they opened a big gap on us and in there we had to chase and we still managed to catch them and win them to the sprint."

Courtney Menzies:
"Is this your first year winning?"

Javier Guardado, Team Guava Limb
"As pro yes, but last year we placed first in family and second overall. And this year, we had to go pro because we already old in this."

Courtney Menzies:
"Do you feel like you'll be competing next year again."

Javier Guardado, Team Guava Limb
"Well, sure. I hope so with my two partners too because teamwork matters a lot."

And though the other two paddlers are also teenagers, they still have years of experience working as a team.

Daniel Cruz, Team Guava Limb
"I've been doing it for five years."

Courtney Menzies:
"And you're fifteen so you've been doing it since you were ten?"

Daniel Cruz, Team Guava Limb
"Nine."

Courtney Menzies:
"What made you decide to join the race so young?"

Daniel Cruz, Team Guava Limb
"Well, you know my family does it, then I did it one time then I liked it, so I continued and I still love it. I feel proud of myself and my two teammate, we did it."

Andres Cabb, Team Guava Limb
"I feel proud of myself and for my two partners because without them we couldn't make it out here and we managed to keep up with the top guys and we won."

"It was very tiring because they wanted to open gaps on us because we had the most time, but we managed to keep up with them."

But it wasn't just their teamwork and dedication - the support they received helped pushed them down 175 miles of rivers to the end.

Courtney Menzies:
"How do you feel with all the support you've been getting, a lot of people have been cheering for Guava Limb."

Javier Guardado, Team Guava Limb
"That helps a lot because you know when you hear, Guava Limb, it gives you more energy. And I want to give thanks to all of those people out here supporting us and to my family out here and those ones from home who are watching on TV too, they're supporting us and that matters a lot."

Koop Sheet Metal placed second, and last year's champs, Team Pact, came in third.

Channel 7


The 26th Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

Goodnight and welcome to a special edition of Sports Monday, I am Paul Lopez. It was a three-day weekend packed with sporting activities across the country.The banks along the Belize River were inundated with fans of the Twenty-Sixth Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. The annual canoe race saw a total of fifty-seven teams lined up under the Hawkesworth Bridge in San Ignacio Town, as the race was ready to get underway. At the sound of the horn, the one hundred and eighty mile, four-day, canoe challenge began. Only seconds away from the starting line, one canoe toppled over, tossing three of its paddlers into the river. Koop Sheet Metal took the first station prize at the low-lying bridge. At the end of day one, Slim and Trim was in the lead, followed by Lucas Oil Westrac, and Koop Sheet Metal in third place.

On day two of the race, paddlers took off from Banana Bank to take on the grueling journey to Double Head Cabbage. Team PACT found the strength on the second day to finish first place, ahead of Slim and Trim who was followed by Koop Sheet Metal. And of course, the energy from fans and support crews was elevated going into day three, as the journey was nearing its end. Just seconds away from the finish line in Burrell Boom Village, PACT and Slim and Trim would battle it out in a photo finish that would see the paddlers for PACT overcome Slim and Trim by one second, and Team Lucas Oil by three seconds, with Koop Sheet Metal trailing.

Day four of the race, the final day, was the decision maker. It was already determined in the minds of onlookers that the paddlers from one of the top four teams from day three would take the first prize overall.� But, who would it be? And, they are off! Some two hours and forty-four minutes later, Slim and Trim and Koop Sheet Metal were the first two teams to make it to the finish line. It was another photo finish at the Belcan Bridge between these two teams. Defending champions, team PACT was the third to arrive on the final day. We heard from the young paddlers who represented Team Slim and Trim.

Javier Guardado, Team Captain, Slim and Trim

"I feel proud of myself and my team mates that we managed to come in first at the Belikin La Ruta Maya and to win the first day and the last day. From months before that was the plan to win the first day and the last day, because we know that in the kennel ih hard for the other teams and the first day it was shallow. So, like we took advantage you would say."

And from the banks of the Belize River to the Belize City Civic Center on Friday night where the Orange Walk Running Rebels showed the Belize City Defenders why they are not a team to be slept on. Prior to the start of the season, there were talks about whether Brian White should hang up his basketball jersey and go into early retirement. But, within the thirty-two minutes that he played against the Belize City Defenders, White showed why he is still one of the most formidable power forwards in the league. He scored a season high of twenty points, ended the game with fourteen rebounds and shot a field goal average of sixty-six point seven percent. The Orange Walk Running Rebels took home the W by scoring ninety-one points to eighty-five for the Belize City Defenders.

In Dangriga, the Dream Ballers hosted the Benny's Belize Hurricanes in a match that ended in eight-five to seventy-six points in favor of Griga Dream Ballers. Down south, it was the battle of the big cats, as the Belmopan Taigaz took on the Punta Gorda Panthers inside the PG Sporting Complex. Belmopan took home the victory with one hundred and six points to ninety-one points. As it currently stands, Benny's Belize Hurricanes its leading the 2023 season, followed by the Belize City Defenders in second place, and Griga Dream Ballers in third place.

And folks, you have heard it in our newscast already, but as a reminder, the Under Nineteen Volleyball Men's Team is set to play later this week in the Continental Volleyball Championships in Guatemala. The stage is set and our men's team has been preparing for what is its highest level of competition to date. In case you missed it, here is what Albert Humes, the coach of the Belize National Volleyball Team told us about the upcoming games.

Albert Humes, Coach, Belize National Men's Volleyball Team

"Right now, as we're getting closer, we are trying to do more game situations because we don't have the amount of practice matches to go abroad, we have to among the senior guys, we train the team to try to prepare for the other teams. But we are getting there."


Channel 5



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