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Black River Challenge boasts good conditions and participation

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CASTORLAND — With exceptional weather and a solid contingent of competitors, the fifth annual Black River Challenge canoe and kayak race on Sunday was deemed a success.

“Conditions on the river were spectacular,” event organizer Gerald J. Haenlin said.

Water levels were high, so several potential hazards along the 23-mile route were not exposed, Mr. Haenlin said. “That made a safer paddle this year,” he said.

While there was some floating debris, it was minimal, and paddlers had a nice tailwind throughout the race, Mr. Haenlin said.

The race, which started at the state Department of Environmental Conservation boat launch in Glenfield and ended at the boat launch in Castorland, drew 25 boats with 63 participants.

“It’s on par with the past few years,” Mr. Haenlin said.

The four-person canoe team of Gene Newman from Canton, Dave Thomas from Watertown and Kirsten Domas and Jon Santor from Rainbow Lake clocked the day’s fastest time at two hours and 34 minutes, paddling at an average speed of just under 9 mph. That was about eight minutes off the course record.

Awards were given out in 16 different classes, based on boat style — canoe, kayak, guideboat or voyageur — plus age groups and gender.

Top local finishers were Gerhard Munger, Lowville, who clocked a time of 3 hours, 7 minutes and 27 seconds in a one-man guideboat, and Jim Farquhar, Glenfield, who finished in 3 hours and 26 minutes in a one-man canoe.

A strong contingent of paddlers from western New York also participated in the annual race.

Lewis County Recreational Trails Coordinator Jackie Mahoney and Deputy Michael Leviker assisted in a sweep boat, while other volunteers included Anne Merrill, Tina Lanier, Erin Fayle, Frank Pace, Margaret Haenlin and Greg and Joy Burker.

The event was organized by the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Adirondack Specialty Products, BarkEater Craft Brewery, Crossroads Tavern, National Grid, Victory Promotions, Simpson Fuels, Double B Contracting, Pat Brown and Kinney Drugs.

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