A beautiful spring day made for a successful 24th Run of the Charles Canoe & Kayak Race, the signature event of the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA).

“The Run of the Charles caps a great week for the Charles River,” said Charles River Watershed Association(CRWA) Executive Director Bob Zimmerman. “On Saturday, more than 1,000 volunteers came out for our annual Charles River Clean-Up Day. Between our two events, we had thousands of people turn out to demonstrate their appreciation of the river as a treasure well-worth protecting.”

Get complete race results at the Charles River Watershed Association Web site, www.crwa.org.

The team of Guy and Jean Rousseau of Quebec, Canada paired up to take first place in the 26-mile $5000 Professional Flatwater Canoe Marathon with a time of 3:31:58.

Among the most challenging features of the Run of the Charles are the six portages where boats must be carried around an obstruction. The dams in Newton, Wellesley, Waltham and Watertown forced paddlers off the river and onto their feet, shouldering their boats while they ran to the spot where they could get back on the water and resume paddling. Paddlers raced across Route 16 on the Newton-Wellesley line and across Moody St. in Waltham.

In the 24-Mile Relay Race, the Quinobequin Canoe Club posted a winning time for the fourth year in a row, finishing the 5-leg, 10 person relay in 3:59:04. The New England Biolabs Mutants took first place in the Corporate Relay with a time of 4:08:40, narrowly beating out last year’s winners, the Masslakes.com Snoopers team along with 50 other company boats.

In the 19-Mile Races, the fastest boat was an Olympic kayak paddled by Yannik Bedard of Quebec, who crossed the finish line in 2:38:11.

Graeme Rockett of Swampscott blasted the competition in the 9-Mile Races for the second year in a row, posting a winning time of 1:22:40 in his Olympic K-1 kayak. Ben Lawry of Ridgeland, SC won the 6-Mile Race in a touring kayak, with a finish of 50:23.

Carl Steiniger of New Windsor, NY, was the raffle winner of the Whistler Kayak donated by Current Designs. The Whistler is a very stable, easy to use, touring kayak.
The Finish Line Festival hosted daylong activities for the public at Herter Park on Soldiers’ Field Road in Brighton. A giant tiger slide from Adventure Climbing and a playground were on hand for children of all ages to play on. The Festival also featured music by the Dixieland-style New New Orleans Jazz Band, food and exhibits from groups such as Atlantic Coastal Kayaker, Cabot Cheese, the Charles River Watershed Association, Erik Gehring Photography, Kayak Pro, Keewaydin Foundation, Mississippi Kayak, the Maine Canoe Symposium, New England Canoe Racing Association, Patagonia, Premium Fun Foods, Rae’s Gourmet, REI, and Yves Deli.

Zimmerman expressed his appreciation for the support and assistance of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) which “makes this great event happen.” Zimmerman also praised Charles River Canoe & Kayak which clears the river, arranges boat rentals for many of the competitors, monitors safety concerns, and provides race officials.

“Without the support and dedication of our corporate sponsors,” Zimmerman said, “we could not enjoy this wonderful day on the river.” He thanked the sponsors of the Run of the Charles including Atlantic Coastal Kayaker, Boston Duck Tours, Community Newspaper Company, Charles River Canoe & Kayak, Charles River Boat Company, Mirant Corporation, BSC Group, Haley & Aldrich, Keewaydin Foundation, McDonald’s, Patagonia, REI, Sea Kayaker Magazine, SR Weiner/WS Development, Building #19 and the Parrot Head Club of Eastern Massachusetts. Zimmerman also offers a special thank you to Patagonia who offered their services to assist with the recycling efforts on Race Day.

“While the Run of the Charles draws many of North America’s best paddlers, it also brings out the best volunteers,” Zimmerman added. CRWA’s Stream Team volunteers, Parrot Head Club members, Boston Cares, Young Alumni Volunteer Association, Boy Scouts and community-minded individuals are credited with keeping the Run of the Charles organized, fun, safe, and rewarding for everyone who participates. “The volunteers do it all, in good weather and bad,” he said, “We’re just happy it was good weather this year! From blowing up balloons, directing canoe & kayak traffic, processing registrations, handing out water, and cheering on the racers…our volunteers are the friendly faces the racers see,” Zimmerman concluded, “and they help bring our paddlers back to the Run of the Charles year after year.”

The Run of the Charles builds support for the Charles River Watershed Association which seeks to protect and enhance the health, beauty and enjoyment of the Charles River and its tributaries. CRWA’s prominent role in protecting and restoring the Charles River since 1965 accounts for a much healthier Charles River today.

Charles River Watershed Association advocates for stronger government policy to protect the Charles, monitors the health of the river’s waters and wildlife habitats, and protects water supplies from unmitigated withdrawals. The work of CRWA encompasses all 80 miles of the Charles River, which meanders through 35 eastern Massachusetts towns and cities within 308 square miles of the Charles River watershed. The nearly 1.5 million citizens who live in the watershed, totaling 23% of the state’s population, benefit from a clean and healthy Charles River. CRWA’s successes have led many organizations across the country to emulate their science methods and watershed management tools.

The Run of the Charles returns for its 25th Anniversary on Sunday, April 29, 2007. For more information or full results from the Run of the Charles Canoe & Kayak Race, please visit www.charlesriver.org. To become a sponsor of the 25th Anniversary Run of the Charles Canoe & Kayak Race, please contact us now at (508) 698-6810 or rotc@crwa.org. To view or purchase photos from the Race, please visit www.erikgehring.com.