The ninth La Ruta Maya River Challenge began as they all did in past years, with the canoes assembled in the mists and shadows below the Hawkesworth Bridge that links the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena.
This year a new champion emerged and completed the race in a new record. The three day event finished on Monday, March 6, 2006, in Belize City and the Belize Bank team comprising of Armin Lopez, Armando Cruz and Daniel Cruz set a new record of 17 hours 50 minutes, annihilating last year’s record of over 19 hours.
Belize Bank TeamWith the race set to start at seven, paddlers gathered on the banks before dawn, checking their gear and psyching themselves up for the grueling one hundred and seventy mile trip down the Macal and Belize Rivers. The event attracts both local and international participants every year.
This year’s race features some 104 teams in eight categories to kick off the 170 miles of paddling along the Macal and Belize rivers. The well-oiled machinery of the Belize Bank team endured their victory with Pine Lumber entering second and Atlantic Bank pulling into third place. Agro Teck and Hardware Supplies paddle in fourth, and the Boomers of Burrell Boom rounds out the top five in the male category.
Meanwhile, the female race was taken by Playerade. The U.S. Embassy won in the mixed class; team Snickers took the masters category; the dory category went to 3 CB’s; the intramural class win was taken by U.B.-PACT Environmental Ambassadors; and the pleasure craft category was won by Buffalo soldiers.
1. Racers leave the strarting line at
Hawkesworth Bridge in San Ignacio Town.
2. Belize Bank Team.