There were plenty of smiles and happy faces as the James River Association held the first Splash & Dash event down at Belle Isle and Tredegar Beach in downtown Richmond. This was not the normal “duathlon” as the first test was a 1.8-mile trail run around Belle Isle, followed by a quarter-mile swim on an innertube from the […]
There were plenty of smiles and happy faces as the James River Association held the first Splash & Dash event down at Belle Isle and Tredegar Beach in downtown Richmond.
This was not the normal “duathlon” as the first test was a 1.8-mile trail run around Belle Isle, followed by a quarter-mile swim on an innertube from the east end of Belle Isle to Tredegar Beach. In all, 81 people participated, including 61 who preregistered and another 20 walk-ups on a beautiful and hot July Saturday afternoon. There were a handful of children included in the competition.
Even before the event began, the happy faces and laughter was great to see. Everyone had to walk from under the CSX Viaduct at Tredegar Beach to the pedestrian bridge to Belle Isle carrying an innertube before the race began. Matt Perry of Riverside Outfitters was the official starter for the race and once he signalled go, everyone bolted down the trail.
Abby Whorley, whose husband, Massey, helped plan the event and lay out and test the course, said that the event was a blast, but different than she anticipated. The run was a prelude to what she thought would be an easy swim on the innertube, but the current on the James — which was near 5 feet — was more than she expected.
Despite most every participant struggling somewhat to find their best position to swim on the innertubes, there were many Splash and Dashers bragging about setting “personal bests” and talking about the best training methods to prepare for the 2012 event. Everyone got to take home their innertubes and almost everyone stayed afterward for some music and a cookout afterward, which was held at Tredegar Ironworks.
There were four age bracket, and the winners received free rafting trips from Riverside Outfitters (except Matt Perry, he got a free t-shirt instead, since his dad runs RO):
- Carla Havens 21:19
- Bill Vick 24:24
- Laura Hogan 21:59
- Scott Bray 20:46
- Laura Weiler 20:30
- Sam Tuttle 21:18
- Rachel Jumper 24:02
- Matt Perry 23:23
For everyone involved in the planning and execution, the event was a great success and will most certainly be made into an annual event. The Splash and Dash raised at least $13,000 for the James River Association, which held the event in conjunction with the James River Run-Off Run-Down, an annual event in which volunteers paddle the entire 340 miles of the James River to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy James.
For all the great contributions and hard work, Perry — since Riverside Outfitters was the title sponsor of the Splash and Dash and donated many volunteers and equipment — was given a copy of the book James River Reflections by Will Daniel, which includes a foreward from the JRA’s Bill Street.