The end of the James River Rundown


We just found out this week that the James River Association is no longer going to host the annual James River Rundown, which was becoming a popular ultra-marathon kayaking event on the East Coast of the U.S. This is sad news because many of us looked forward to this event each year and its popularity was growing.

Years ago there was a different race to benefit a day camp, The Camp Kum-ba-yah Race, in Lynchburg on the James and that was a great event, but they, too, stopped hosting that race.

So we are left with no kayak/canoe race on the James River in Virginia.

I’m hopeful that somebody else will pick up and run with the idea of an organized marathon kayak race on the James. When they do they can count on me for support.

Paddling Buddy Dave and I have talked about hosting a 44 mile race on our local river, The Rivanna, or possibly making the race longer by extending it onto the James where we could easily turn it into a 55, 66, or 85 mile race. Dave and I might have to talk more seriously about this for 2019. If you represent a charity and would like to take on this fundraising project, just let me know.

In the meantime in 2018, the closest thing we get is a new race called The Richmond Paddle Cup hosted by Crosswind Paddle Company with the longest race being a mere 17 miles. A huge letdown for those of us looking forward to another ultra this year close to home.

To make it more interesting, a couple of us have hatched a plan. In order to make this 17 mile race more interesting and as a reminder that we don’t always need to be looking for the next fast boat or better gear, we are having an event within the event.

We will adhere to all the regular rules of the Richmond Paddle Cup but we will have our own division within the 17 mile race in which we will all have to use a boat we found on Craigslist for $200 or less. It has been dubbed, “The First Annual Craigslist Challenge.”

Let the games begin.




  1. Jaime, Send me details or a link and I will do everything I can to help promote it. If I race in it I will do a full write-up with race video. dave ~at) cville-paddlers~dot~com.


  2. try the KR-255 this year. This is a race that was started in 2016 and only had a few competitors, in 2017 it doubled but still lightly competed in, in 2017 they cancelled the race due to lack of interest. But I a told that they will have it in 2019. We need competitors to make the KR-255 the jewel of endurance paddling. I think the course rivals the Texas Water Safari, and is much tougher than the MR-340. Maybe too tough to be heavily contested.. But if you want to test your metal – this is a race for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know why they ended it, but I can only guess that it was a great deal of effort and volunteer hours for relatively few paddlers and revenue. Somebody once told me it takes 5 years for an event like this to catch on and I was hoping they would make it, but I guess not.

    I’m 85% certain we have a core group that will support a 44-mile race on Virginia’s Rivanna River next year and if we pull that off then it can grow into a longer race that includes miles of the James in future years. I’m trying to make it happen for May 2019. At this point if you are willing, please visit the website and fill out the form to let us know you are interested. I’m trying to convince our local Rivanna Conservation Alliance to adopt the longer race and if they do not then I’m going to do it myself. If it is the latter, it is going to have to be an informal, “gentlemen’s” race where everyone accepts their own liability and agrees to run self-supported.


  4. Any info on why the James River Association doesn’t want to sponsor anymore? It would be great to have race on the east coast. I did the MR340 this year but is 1200 miles each way to drive. We should have some +100 Mile races on the east coast.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent! Count me in! What shall we do with our Craigslist boats after the race? Any way to donate toward something river-related?


  6. What a great idea. Are you sure that $200 is a safe price point? From what we have on Craigslist for $200 I would not feel safe in, even if I patched it up. Best of wishes in getting someone to sponsor your kayak marathon. What a shame it isn’t being run this year.


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