DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Organizers of the 38th Piscataquis River Race, to be held April 24, hope for more than 200 participants this year.
Sponsored by the Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis Club, the race will start at 11 a.m. at the King Cummings Park in Guilford and end in Dover-Foxcroft.
Registration for canoeists and kayakers will be from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the park, and a pre-race breakfast will be offered from 8:30 to 11 a.m., sponsored by the Foxcroft Academy Key Club.
“Our goal is to make it a fun event, and it’s geared toward families,” Brian Woodworth, the race’s chairman, said Thursday. “Our hope is that we will have more racers this year. We try to build and learn lessons from the previous years and we just want to make it a bigger and more fun event.”
Last year, there were 149 registrations, and Woodworth said he hopes to exceed the 200 mark this year. He said the club mailed out letters to each of last year’s competitors and many of them have returned their registrations.
“We’re just hoping for good water and good weather,” Woodworth said.
Since the first Piscataquis River Race was offered in 1972, the event has raised about $300,000 for the Kiwanis Club, which supports school and community functions. The club supports the YMCA Swim Program, Thayer Parkway, Boy Scout Troop 100, Homecoming, the Christmas Giving Project, Kiwanis Park and the Make-a Wish Foundation, among others.
While the race is under way, the Builders Club at SeDoMoCha Middle School in Dover-Foxcroft will sponsor games to entertain the children at the finish line area near Foxcroft Academy. Refreshments also will be on sale.
Woodworth said that unlike similar races in the state, the Kiwanis Club makes a big deal out of the awards ceremony, which is held at 2 p.m. Awards are presented to racers in 18 classes and the Kiwanis Club also will present the annual Bob Darling Cup to both the canoeist and kayaker with the fastest time.
The fastest time for a kayak last year was 45 minutes, and Ted Randall of Dover-Foxcroft, a member of the Kiwanis Club, made that time during a trip on the river this past weekend. Randall said Thursday that he has kayaked the river every weekend since the early part of March.
“It’s been just beautiful, really. The water has been perfect,” he said. “This particular stretch of water is very influenced by rainfall, so if we have a couple of days of rain, it will run beautifully.”
For more information about the race or to preregister, call Woodworth at 217-0962.