UPDATE: 270 Racers + 3 Bands = Great Russian River Race

Registrations pouring in for event this Sat., May 12.

NOTE: This story was updated on Wednesday, May 9.

A record roster of paddlers are on tap for  on May 12, organizers said.

"We have 270 racers, and all kayak rentals are sold out, canoes only (unless they have their own kayak which is still open)," said organizer Kate Wilson.

"Weather is expected to be in the high 80's, so the after-race party should be a blast..a great kick-off for summer!," Wilson said.

She said three bands are scheduled to play at the free after-party at

An awards ceremony for racers (including the "best-dressed" category) will be held at about 3 p.m.

which caters to the full spectrum of paddlers, advanced to recreational, using canoes, kayaks, surfskis and stand-up paddleboards (SUP). Advanced paddlers will compete in the 15-mile race while team and recreational paddlers will do battle in the 5-mile race.

The combination of the pristine river and surroundings, diverse race format and festive Race Party is resulting in the GR3 becoming one of the most appealing river races in America.

 Local businesses have got right behind the event. Gold sponsors include Marmot, Camelbak, Watershed Media and with many more at the Silver and Bronze tiers. Why do they support the event?

According to Tom Fritz, VP of Marketing for Marmot, “it’s important for us to continue to support great local causes, and the GR3 is a fantastic example of fundraising that’s fun. In addition to providing financial support and the Race T’s for the event, Marmot employees wearing all sorts of crazy hair and clothing will join in on the paddling and competition on the Russian River. Let the games begin!”

Co-founder and Director of publisher Watershed Media Dan Imhoff says, “This is an event that both celebrates and highlights the need to protect the Russian River, all its tributaries, and all the living creatures that depend on it. I can't think of anything more vital to bring the community together, for the present and the future.”

Defending champions of the professional 15-mile race, Carter Johnson and Kristen Podolak, will be back to torment the competition.

Carter currently holds a Guinness World Record for total miles paddled in 24 hours (280 miles!), holds the course records for a number of the world’s most grueling river races and is on the US K1 Marathon Team. Kristen was the World Kayaking Freestyle Champion in 2005 and consistently finishes in the top three in major kayaking races.

Registration is capped at 350 paddlers and canoe/kayak and equipment rentals are limited so reserve your place and paddling gear on the GR3 website now! For registration and general information, please visit our website: www.greatrussianriverrace.com.

Thanks to our sponsors, we have over $5,000 in cash and prizes for division winners. If you don’t think that you are in the running for a podium place, it’s time to plan your outfit as there are prizes for the best dressed, too.

The paddling events are accessible to most people, and the FREE River Party is suitable for all ages featuring local bands, food, beer/wine, sponsor’s booths and kid’s activities. Bring your family and friends!

All proceeds from the GR3 go to the Russian Riverkeeper Clean Campus Clean Creeks (CCCC) program and Sonoma County Regional Parks.

The major goal of CCCC is to educate Healdsburg students, educators and school officials on the issue of storm-water pollution and empower them to address the issue in their “own backyard”. The Sonoma Parks portion is earmarked for constructing the Veteran’s Memorial Beach Dam over the summer.


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