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Greenway Challenge Announces Winners of 15th Annual Adventure Race

WOONSOCKET, RI – More than 360 athletes gathered in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Saturday, September 26 to compete in the 15th annual Greenway Challenge. The premier bi-state, 60-mile four-sport adventure race includes alternating segments of running, street biking, river paddling, and mountain biking. The Challenge requires not only endurance and speed, but successfully navigating the many transition sites, which is the key to success and a chance at a trophy.

The Challenge changes its course each year and this year is started in Sutton, MA at Purgatory Chasm and finished in Lincoln, RI at Lincoln Woods State Park. Seventy three teams navigated their way through eight towns with transition sites at the Sutton Airfield, Rice City Pond and River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, MA, Daniels Farmstead in Blackstone, MA, the Kelly House Museum, the Blackstone River Bikeway, and Chase Farm in Lincoln. The last leg brought them to the finish line and awards ceremony at the Grove in Lincoln Woods State Park.

“Through the Greenway Challenge we are able to showcase the Blackstone Valley as a true tourist and recreational destination,” explained Charlene Perkins Cutler, Executive Director of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. “We are proud to continue to present this athletic event and watch the interest grow over the years. In fact, this year the Challenge drew its youngest team ever: a group of Boy Scouts from the Mohegan Council in Whitinsville, MA. The scouts had volunteered at the Challenge for years and once they turned 16 they were eager to enter as a team.”

The Greenway Challenge draws teams and individuals to compete in seven different divisions. In the Championship Division, Team MRA Triple Threat from Worcester, MA won by finishing the course in 4:17:39.30. Hailing from Whitinsville, MA, the WCC Blood Sweat and Gears Team defeated the nine-year reigning champions in took the Masters Division with a time of 4:34:10.07. The Corporate Cup Division went to BR+A Ludicrous Speed of Watertown, MA, with a total course time of 4:43:57.55. In the All Women’s Division, the MRA Tria Warriors Team from Sutton, MA, won in 5:29:11.10. Completing the Greenway Challenge in the Recreational Division, Team VSSO from Worcester, MA, with a time of 4:53:48.51 and was the winner in the largest field division with 33 teams competing. Teams BR+A Ludicrous Speed, MRA Tria Warriors, and Team VSSO all upheld their titles from 2014.

Individuals also took on the Greenway Challenge, competing on the difficult course in two divisions: Ironmen and Ironwomen. Holding their titles from the 2014 Greenway Challenge, this year’s female champion was Laura Zimmer from Westborough, MA, with a finish time of 5:57:33.48 and Trent Koopman from Whitinsville, MA, won the men’s division with a time of 5:07:14.01.

It is a tradition each year for the Greenway Challenge to name a Charitable Recipient from the event, and this year a donation was awarded to Daniels Farmstead Foundation, Inc. The Foundation was established in 2003 to protect and preserve the rich historically-significant farm and buildings of Daniels Farmstead located on Mendon Road in Blackstone, MA, and to operate a living museum where local historians, schools, and the general public can learn about the New England farm life from the 18th and 19th centuries. The donation will assist the Foundation with its restoration of the historic farm buildings. Members of the Daniels Farmstead Foundation hosted a transition site for the race and assisted with logistics.

“The magnitude of the event and results that follow continually amaze me,” explained Barbara Dixon, Special Events Coordinator at the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. “The Greenway Challenge has introduced new historic sites and places to people who didn’t know they existed. Members of the logistic team and partner organizations have worked together to create new trails and river access sites for future generations to enjoy, have participated in many river cleanups, and athletes and partners have become volunteers and stewards in the Blackstone Valley. It is more than an adventure race. It is an event that brings awareness to the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor!”

The Blackstone Beacon Sponsor for the Greenway Challenge was UniBank, whose consistent support for over 15 years has enabled the adventure race to grow. Additional Heritage Hero  Sponsors included Taco Comfort Solutions/The White Family Foundation and Cumulus Broadcasting.

The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor is a unique cultural landscape of industrial history and immigration in the interconnected system of the Blackstone River watershed. An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Inc. partners with organizations, local communities and businesses, and residents to insure the long term vitality of the Corridor.

Caption for attached photo:

Winning First Place in the Greenway Challenge Masters Division is the team from the Whitin Community Center, “Blood, Sweat & Gears.”  Featured left to right:  Support Driver Don Rajotte,  John Beaupre, Team Captain Debra Moore, Mark O’Dell and Rick Nelson.  Missing from team photo is Stephen Witkus. Photo credit: Deb Uscilka.

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