Canoers, kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders race to LC

Jonathan Herrmann-News-Herald

The Volunteer Canoe and Kayak Race will bring people from as many as 16 states to Lenoir City April 27-28 as Lenoir City Park will be a checkpoint for many and the finish line for others.

Four different races will take place as part of the event, with the shortest a six-mile ride from Knoxville's Riverside Landing Park to Marine Park. The longest is an 80-mile race from Riverside to Chilhowee Dam, using Lenoir City Park as a checkpoint.

Some races will run a 46-mile contest, using Lenoir City Park as a finish line. The park will host the award ceremony for all racers at 3 p.m. April 28.

"This event has different lengths and we're the second-longest leg," Clayton Pangle, executive director of the Loudon County Visitors Bureau, said. "You have the race one day then everybody comes to Lenoir City Park the next day."

The race began when organizer Charles Goodson participated in a 340-mile race in Missouri and felt it was something he could bring to the area.

"I thought we needed something like this in our area," he said. "I started to try to host a race, find out what permits I needed and what I needed to do to get the race started."

In its first year, the race brought in 22 people from seven different states and one person from Canada. In year two, it has grown to 50 racers.

"We're growing," Goodson said. "We've more than doubled from our first year."

Potential for continued growth could mean a greater impact on Loudon County as well.

"He's pretty much doubled the amount of participants from last year," Pangle said. "While 50 people is a relatively small number, I think it's a building block for him to continue to increase this. The main advantage for Loudon County is, when you have people from that many different states coming in, it helps to get the word out about the great quality of our local community."

The race will bring in canoers, kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders, building what Goodson called an "awesome" environment.

"As an entry-level guy a few years back, I started with a cheaper, plastic boat," he said. "You find out what these high-speed carbon-fiber boats are, what these higher dollar boats are and you work toward them."

Goodson also said the race will bring in one of the nation's top long-distance paddle boarders, Shane Perrin.

"Stand-up paddle boarders are getting real big," Goodson said. "(Perrin)'s probably the best long-distance guy in the world."

The race will begin at 8 a.m. April 27 and 80-mile races much finish by 1 p.m. April 28. About half of the racers will take part in the long race.

"Right now I have 22 or 23 doing the 80-mile race," Goodson said. "The rest are split pretty evenly between the 46-mile, the 28-mile and the six-mile race."

Registration will close at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. To register, visit Racers must attend a mandatory check-in and safety meeting Friday. Check in is 3-7 p.m. with the meeting immediately following.