A new race is set to shine a spotlight on the Chilkat River.
The first annual Chilkat Challenge Triathlon will be a 36-mile paddle, bike and run along the Chilkat River in Haines, Alaska on July 15.
The race is hosted by the Alaska Clean Water Advocacy (ACWA), which aims to keep waterways clean through advocacy, education and other work.
“We’re just very interested in helping raise awareness in the importance of having a healthy and productive Chilkat River,” said race organizer Gershon Cohen, who is also the ACWA project director.
The event will be open to individuals or teams and is capped at 150 entries.
The race starts with a bang at the boat launch in Mosquito Lake State Park, where racers will run to their boats and start paddling across Mosquito Lake. A similar running start happens during Whitehorse’s Yukon River Quest at the end of June. Chilkat Challenge paddlers will then join up with the Chilkat River via a narrow slough.
The eight-mile paddling leg will transition into a 20-mile cycle down the Haines Highway and finish with an eight-mile run along the river and a portion of the beach to the finish in Chilkat State Park.
“We just wanted to stay along the river the whole way,” said Cohen of the race route. “We want the race to be challenging but we don’t want anybody to have any serious problems. It seemed like this was a very good middle ground.”
Haines already hosts a roster of other events throughout the year including the Great Alaska Craft Beer and Homebrew Festival in May, the finish of the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay in June, the Southeast State Fair in August and the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival in November.
“Haines really does put on a lot of events,” said Cohen. “This is just going to be one more event we hope goes year after year.”
Race fees – $50 for solo entries and $150 for teams – will cover the costs of hosting the race and if there is anything left over it will go towards ACWA, said Cohen.
Registration has only been open for a few days and already a dozen or so people have signed up.
“If this is any indication I don’t think we’re going to have any problem filling the whole roster,” said Cohen. “We’re expecting a lot of people to sign up.”
Registration is online and more information can be found at www.chilkatchallengetriathlon.com.