Locals to compete in La Ruta Maya/Belize River Challenge

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 9            March 1, 2001

Features: Search Issues | Read Back Issues | Subscriptions | Merchandise Ordering Information

The 2001 La Ruta Maya/Belize River Challenge, scheduled for March 8th - 11th, 2001, will feature a San Pedro presence this year. One of two, all-women Peace Corp teams includes local Jill Hepp of Green Reef. Joining her are teammates Katie Meehan and Liz Panessa, Peace Corp volunteers from Belmopan and Dangriga. Their team, "Destiny's Child," is sponsored by Chaa Creek Natural History Center. 

    Three other locals, men from San Pedro Town, will also compete. Aaron Hildred, Dan Ellison and Mike Keelan are being sponsored by Tropic Air.

    La Ruta Maya (the Mayan route) race will launch from beneath Hawkesworth Bridge in San Ignacio on March 8th and paddlers will struggle for three and one-half days to be the first to reach the BelCan Bridge in Belize City on March 11th. Teams will break at Banana Bank, Bermudian Landing and Burrell Boom for the three night camps of the race. Originally a combined cross-country challenge idea of Luis Garcia of Radio Ritmo, Richard Harrison of Big H/Vida Water and Mike Green then of San Ignacio Hotel, this race is considered to be the longest canoe race in Central America. One of the first sporting events to gain international acclaim, Paddler Magazine (who entered a team last year) featured "Surviving La Ruta Maya" as the feature article in their February, 2000 edition. It has also been considered as a preliminary to the world wide "Eco Challenge" ten-day endurance race.

    This year's race committee is striving for goals of 100 teams and $60,000 in prizes for the 170 mile-plus competition. Mike Green of Chaa Creek Inland Expeditions and chief official of the race explained, "This is an elapsed time race; the shortest time wins a first prize of $1000, but the big money lies in station prizes." Station prizes are won at various intervals and stops along the river race. Prizes ranging from $300 to $3000 are donated by several different sponsors. Mr. Green also added, "This is not only a wonderful new sport for Belize, it is also a boon to the canoe industry." Fiberglass canoes are manufactured in Burrell Boom and many competing teams design and build their own from local hardwoods. A majority of the teams are amateurs and last year's heroes, "The Chanona Girls," from Belmopan were the first all-female Belizean team to finish the race. This apparently inspired women from around the country as there are several more all-female teams competing in 2001.

    Last year's winning professional three-man Cayo team comprised of boatsmen Alex "The Engine" Lisbey, Armin "Benji" Lopez and Leroy "Iron Man" Romero, who were sponsored, managed and coached by Julian and Caesar Sherrard of Black Rock Lodge/Caesar's Place in Cayo. First place in the amateur division went to Sacred Heart College.

    Good luck to all competing from San Pedro and to everyone who dares to meet the "challenge".

Search SanPedroSun.net go!
| AmbergrisCaye.com | Island Info | Community | History | Visitor Center |
Belize News | BelizeSearch.com | Messages |

Copyright © San Pedro Sun. Design by Casado Internet Group

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize News