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Record turnout of paddlers for 47th annual Jock River Race

Paddlers Mike and Colin Black both duck under the limbs of a low-hanging tree along the Jock River shore near Richmond during the Jock River Race. The 47th annual race was delayed two weeks due to unseasonably cold temperatures which affected the water levels.

By Manotick Messenger Staff
photos Mike Carroccetto

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]It was a record year for the Jock River Race. The 47th annual race featured 135 boats with approximately 225 people taking part.

“It’s a fun family event, said Jock River Race Director Gaetan Plourde. “We had men, women, some families with kids, and we even had a few dogs in the boats this year.”

The boats ranged from carbon fibre racing canoes for the competitive racers to backyard canoes for the family classes.

Two racers fell into the water at the start of the race but were quickly rescued from any danger.

“It happens almost every year,” said Plourde. “We had a stand-up paddle board and we had a kayaker that fell in. I didn’t actually see what happened, but I do know they got to shore okay to warm up.”

Plourde said that the temperature of the water at race time was three degrees Celsius.

“It was a nice warm day because the sun was out, but the wind was a little bit chilly,” said Plourde. “But Mother Nature was nice to us compared to what we had a couple of weeks ago, but people have to remember that it’s cold out there, especially if you fall in.”

The race had been delayed for two weekends because of the late winter weather and icy conditions on the Jock in early April.

“It’s been a slow melt,” said Plourde. “It’s always difficult to tell when we are going to have the race but this year was kind of a late one. In one way, it gives us warmer weather on the race day, but it’s difficult to predict. We’re just happy that we were lucky with good weather this year.”

Once the paddlers finished the race, they were treated to soup and chili.

“It’s something to warm people up,” Plourde said. “We also had a lot of people cheering them on when they finished, and then we had the medals ceremony for first, second and third place on each of the different categories. But the day is not really about the medals, it’s about everyone coming out and having fun on the water.”

Don Marrin and Richard Martin canoe through rapids on the Jock River in Richmond during the 47th annual Jock River Race held Saturday, April 21.

Robert Ross was the first to cross the finish line, winning the competitive kayak division in 58 minutes, 33 seconds, which was 47 seconds ahead of second place Rick Clancy. Ryan Stepka and Ben Varley were the first to cross in the competitive canoe tandem division, third overall, in 59:46. Harold Walker and Jeff Beedell were fourth overall in first in the canoe tandem rec division in 59:48.

For a full list of finishers and times, visit