La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020

Posted By: Marty

La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 02/03/20 05:35 PM

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La Ruta Maya is an annual event that takes over the entire country’s attention for four exhilarating days. This year it falls on March 06 2020- March 09, 2020. It is a marathon canoe race that runs West to East along the Old Belize River.

Meaning “The Maya Route” in Spanish, the race follows the very same ancient trading route the Maya, and later Baymen, used to transport goods for trade. It begins at the Hawkesworth Bridge in San Igancio, and ends at the river mouth of the Belize City harbor. Conceptualized by the Harrison brothers and founded in 1998, it was originally intended to be a marketing event for the launching of their family owned purified water company.

Orlando and Richard Harrison saw the potential of promoting an endurance race showcasing the natural beauty of Belize’s River Valley and the historical significance of the route. Needless to say, the race has since evolved into a major national and tourist attraction with participants both native and international of all ages testing their resolve on the river currents.

Every “March 9th” weekend (a long weekend given in celebration of National Benefactors’ Day), scores of onlookers, including major media outlets and patrons, gather down the river bank to witness dozens of canoes dash down the river in a race to prove who is the fastest and most technically savvy with a paddle.

Comprised of four legs, the marathon begins with an approximate 50-mile stretch to Banana Bank, a 60-mile journey to Double Head Cabbage, followed by two shorter dashes to Burrell Boom and finally to the finish line at Belize City. The entire journey is some 170 plus miles of grueling physical aptitude that is a feat to admire.

Last year 61 teams competed with NICH coming in first. Who will take first place this year in the 23 annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge.

You can print out this form and register at Yoli's Pizza in San Ignacio , Love FM Studios in Belize City or via email at [email protected]

Deadline for registration is MARCH 5 2020.

Posted By: Marty

Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 02/27/20 12:06 PM

The 2020 La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is just over a week away. The New Sensation Band will be performing on Thursday night for the big LRM Kick-off Party. They'll have fireworks. Check out the line up of artists and DJs and make sure join in on the celebrations as we cheer on the paddlers!

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The official La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge Kick Off Party will be next Thursday at CK Sports Bar & Restaurant.

Posted By: Marty

Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/03/20 11:27 AM

Paddlers and fans of the annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge are gearing up for the weekend. The start of the race begins under the historic Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District. As has become the tradition, the Town Council makes preparations along the Macal River to accommodate the event which promotes clean water ways. We caught up with the Mayor of the Twin Towns, Earl Trapp, and spoke with him about the cleaning and dredging that has begun. According to the Mayor, they start preparations for the event one month prior.

Posted By: Marty

Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/06/20 12:20 PM

This morning at 7:00am is the start of the 2020 La Ruta Maya! Here's a live video of the opening ceremonies!

Posted By: Marty

Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/06/20 06:10 PM

Live coverage on LoveFM

The 2020 La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge start Friday morning

Posted By: Marty

Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/07/20 12:20 PM

The Evolution of the La Ruta Maya River Challenge; Day One Complete

Sixty teams registered and competed in the first leg of the Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge. At seven a.m. sharp, the canoes paddled down the winding Macal River for fifty miles to end at Banana Bank. With that, day-one of the four-day race was completed and Team Core out of San Ignacio captured the lead. The largest race in its twenty-three-year history featured one hundred and four teams, but that number has tapered off to about sixty teams annually. The organizers are now looking to introduce foreign athletes to the competition in the future. Annually, the canoe race creates entrepreneurial opportunities to the villages along the river bank. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting

Team Core from San Ignacio wins the first leg of the twenty-third annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge.

Jerry Cante, Team CORE

“We were working out      , but the height of the river was different. Last week, the river went up, so it was very difficult for us; we weren’t use to the river this height.”

Duane Moody

“Unu win with a small margin. Talk to us about what is the game plan going into tomorrow?”

Jerry Cante

“We’ll just relax and discuss what’s the plan, but for sure, we will go out and race smart.”

Juan Polanco, Acting Director, Team CORE

“We have a love for the river. When the spirits of our ancestors see what we are doing for the river, those spirits will come up from the river, go into the powerful arms of these paddlers, give them push and that’s how we are going to win.”

Proving to be a formidable opponent is the Lucas Oil Team, which lost by seconds to Team CORE in the first leg. Despite a rocky start, the team paddled strong to catch up to the leading teams; they later paced themselves to lose to the top team by a narrow margin after the fifty-mile stretch. Clayton Cab says that the plan is for Lucas Oil to win both overall and in the mixed category for which that second team is in first place.

Clayton Cab, Team Lucas Oil

“It was anybody’s race today; it was just a matter of staying with the crowd. We came out bad, so we had to chase all the way to Iguana Creek and from there we just decided to start pacing so that we could finish the race.”

Duane Moody

“What’s your strategy going into tomorrow?”

Clayton Cab

“Well tomorrow; we should be able to rest, the river’s high so we should take it a little bit easier. So we will try to rest cause tomorrow is long. This year was really tough in the training; its added expense but we managed. The river is high today; that is different.”

Duane Moody

“So your anticipations. You think Lucas Oil is going to win it both overall as well as in the mix?”

Clayton Cab

“That’s the plan. We cannot say anything. The race is open yet; we have three more days to go.”

But what about defending champions NICH? Well today, unfortunately they came in the top six, after coming in over five minutes after the first canoe. Alexander Cruz and his teammate held down the forte as their third teammate is ill and could not make it to the end. While the time difference in huge, Cruz says that anything is possible.

Alexander Cruz, Team NICH

“The partner sick about one week ago so today he couldn’t make it. He only did half of the stage.”

Duane Moody

“So this obviously puts you guys at a disadvantage…”

Alexander Cruz

“We were coming two-man so we slowed down a lot.”

Duane Moody

“So, are you admitting defeat one time? You are throwing in the hat? Because how do you guys go forward? As only two paddlers?”

Alexander Cruz

“Well we just came in one piece and we have three more days so we will see what happens in those three days. Maybe we can make up the time.”

Taking up the canoe challenge is an expensive venture and for the first time this year, CORE, a community-based N.G.O. out of the west has partnered with the Department of Environment to field the leading group—at least at this stage. Acting Director Juan Polanco says that they are sharing in the environmental awareness and the cultural heritage of the sporting event.

Juan Polanco

“We need to say that if we love our community, if we love our river, we have to keep it clean and that is why we are promoting keep the river clean, avoid the litter. If you don’t need to use something, don’t use it. This is a good scenario, this is about the river. And these guys have been doing a good job and we decided to work with them because they know the river.”

Duane Moody

“This is the first time that you guys are participating?”

Juan Polanco

“This is the first time. This is a community-based organization in Cayo. It all came up when we had the problems with the New River up north. We noticed that the Macal River is going in the same direction and so we decided to do something and that’s what we are doing, save the Macal River.”

Roberto Harrison, Vice President, La Ruta Maya Planning Committee

“Five six months of planning coming to fruition today. Clearly it also saddens us beucase the passing of my cousin, one of the founders of the race, Richard Harrison, quite an interesting, innovative event that he put together twenty-three years ago.”

Vice President of the La Ruta Maya Planning Committee, Roberto Harrison says that they are planning to take it a step further to possibly attract more foreign athletes to compete in the Belizean race.

Roberto Harrison

“From three years ago, when we partnered with RSV, to see where we can take this race internationally. I think we still have a lot to do with it. We have to improve our laws perhaps, there is the aspect of antidumping that follows us, there is logistical arrangements that we have to make; there is quite a bit of work on the river that we have to do in terms of safety and rescue. So there is a lot of things we need to put in place clearly that would allow us to go international because there are a lot of other international races around the region that attracts paddlers from around the world. So I think we have that opportunity still on us to see how we can get foreigners to come and do this race and race against our best.”

The event has grown over the twenty-three years to crate entrepreneurial opportunities for the communities where the race ends and has also evolved to include new technology in the race. Duane Moody for News Five.

Channel 5

Posted By: Marty

Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/07/20 12:22 PM

Live Coverage of the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge Day 2!

Posted By: Marty

Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/08/20 11:48 AM

Yesterday's LOVEFM Coverage: Later coverage at the bottom of this list

  • Coverage of the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge…, 1hr18min.

  • Continued coverage of Day 2 of the Belikin La Ruta Maya, 1hr35min.

  • Continued coverage of Day 2 of the Belikin La Ruta Maya, 2hr29min.

  • Continued coverage of Day 2 of the Belikin La Ruta Maya…, 41min.

    Podcast with Luis Garcia about the history of the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge.

    Luis Garcia is one of the original founders of the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. Today he is the General Manager of Eco-Friendly Solutions Limited, a Belizean company that distributes biodegradable products in Belize, where single-use plastics are being phased out. Luis is well known in Belize as an advocate for environmental awareness and promoting sustainable practices to conserve the environment. The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, the longest canoe race in Central America, had it’s humble beginnings from Luis’s own passion and love for the rivers and keeping them clean.

    In the early 90’s, he was the owner of one of the first local radio stations in San Ignacio called Radio Ritmo. Through the radio station, he engaged in several efforts that promoted clean up campaigns, especially in communities along the Mopan, Macal, and Belize rivers. He organized a canoe race called the “Down and Up Race” which saw paddlers race down the Mopan River to its confluence where it joins the Macal River to form the Belize River, then up the Macal River to San Ignacio, finishing under the famed Hawkesworth bridge. Down and Up was the precursor to the La Ruta Maya race which was conceived along with the late great Richard Harrison as an idea to promote the launch of Vida Purified Water but also to build an event that highlighted the importance of the rivers and to promote community involvement in keeping the rivers clean and healthy.

    Luis reminds us that from the inception, the focus of the La Ruta Maya race was to highlight the importance of keeping the rivers clean which is why the race was always followed by a clean up crew. He tells us that some 80% or more of Belize’s population has some dependency on the Belize river and therefore it is vital to continue the tradition that he started so many years ago along with Richard Harrison and others who saw the importance of keeping the rivers clean and healthy.

    The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge race is held each year in the month of March to coincide with the National Heroes and Benefactors day, which is a public Holiday. In 2020, the race will be held from March 6th to March 9th. You can follow the race on local radio stations or on Facebook. Visit

    Luis also gives us some insights into the other ideas he had for the race which centered around sustainable tourism. Today Luis's focus is with his company Eco-Friendly Solutions which provides an increasingly important line of products to the country. Recently, the Belize Government passed legislation to ban single-use plastic products to reduce plastic and Styrofoam pollution. This is a very ambitious but very important effort that almost all Belizeans embrace. In Belize, it is estimated that up to two hundred million single-use plastic bags are imported every year. It is a staggering number considering that the population of Belize is roughly 350,000 people. Belize's booming tourism industry is certainly one of the main consumers of these products.
  • Posted By: Marty

    Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/09/20 11:29 AM

    Videos of Sunday's part of the race...
  • Coverage Day 3 of the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge…, 3hr48min.
  • Continued coverage of Day 3 of the Belikin La Ruta Maya…, 2hr29min.
  • Continued Coverage Day 3 of the Belikin La Ruta Maya…, 2hr44min.

  • Posted By: Marty

    Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/09/20 05:53 PM

    Live coverage!
    Posted By: Marty

    Re: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2020 - 03/10/20 11:27 AM

    FINAL RESULTS for the 23rd Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

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    23rd Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge Award Ceremony

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