Organizers Ian Mockett and Gaetan Plourde are ramping up for this year’s Jock River Race, an annual paddling event down the Jock River that was first run in 1971.
This year’s race is set for April 11 at noon, although that could be moved to April 25 due to the cold spring so far.
UPDATE: Due to river conditions the race has been rescheduled to Saturday, April 25. Early bird registration will be open until April 18.
The event typically draws between 100-200 paddlers from Ontario and Quebec and has become a rite of spring for the community. The top racers in each category win a medal, and any racer who completes the course under one hour gets their name on the official Jock River Race trophy.
This will be the second year that Mockett and Plourde have organized the event. They took over from John Hiley, who kept the race alive for nearly two decades with help from volunteers and support from local businesses.
They’ve introduced a new bib sponsorship package this year, where business can buy one or multiple bibs for $25 each. Paddlers wear the bibs over their life jackets, and then at the end of the race the signed bib is divided into two pieces, one for the racer and the other for the business owner to proudly showcase in their establishment. The deadline for sponsorship support is April 4.
The event started in 1971 and was known as the “Lower Jock River Race”, starting in Richmond Park and ending at the Rideau River. In 1997, the race moved to the upper part of the river, starting on Munster Road near the Jock Trail, and continuing into Richmond Village. This year’s course is 12.5km.
Next year will mark the 45th year the race has been run, and the organizers are looking at potentially bringing the race back to the Lower Jock River in addition to the Upper Jock, and making it a full-day event for those who wish to participate in one or both events.
Mockett and Plourde say they love paddling and they want to share and grow the sport in the community as a full-family sport engaging all ages and skill sets.
Early bird registration is $15 per paddler until April 4, and then $25 after that. For more information about the race, check out jockriverrace.ca