First annual canoe and kayak race draws 60 contestants
The first annual Paddle Keuka 5K Canoe and Kayak Race proved to be a splashing success for the Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium (FLM&A). The inaugural event, which was launched Saturday, August 6, at the museum’s waterfront campus on Sugar Creek in Branchport, attracted 60 contestants who competed in three divisions that were first broken down by age and gender, and then into categories based on the type of craft being used.
The three age divisions were Open (18-39), Masters (40-59) and Seniors (60 and over). Categories were broken down into Male, Female, and Pair/Team/Double. The type-of-craft categories included Single Canoe, Single Kayak, Double Canoe, and Tandem Kayak. A total of 33 possible medals were awarded to winners in the various categories.
The overall male top finisher was Dan Murn of Fairport, NY, who finished the 3.1-mile course in 26 minutes-45 seconds. His winning time equates to paddling more than a mile every 10 minutes. The overall female top finisher was Dianne Schmidt also of Fairport, NY, who finished in 37 minutes-50 seconds. Top finishers in the other divisions and categories will be posted on the museum’s website: www.fingerlakesmuseum.org.
Contestants began arriving at the museum’s Creekside Center on Sugar Creek, which is a tributary of Keuka Lake, at 7:20 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. race. By 8:00 a.m. the center’s parking area was nearly full and some participants had already launched and were paddling out to the starting line set up where the creek enters the lake.
FLM&A volunteer and New York State-licensed guide Pat Atkinson led the flotilla of ten safety monitors, which were stationed at intervals along the course and she reported that no safety issues occurred. Atkinson and Taryn Windheim, who owns Finger Lakes Racing and Events, organized and co-led the event, which was inspired by FLM&A executive director Natalie Payne.
Payne said. “The perfect weather, the enthusiasm of the contestants, and the efforts put forth by our dedicated volunteers all combined to make this an outstanding event. We’re already looking forward to next year.”