By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The General Clinton Canoe Regatta, which is traditionally held Memorial Day, will be held virtually this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have exhausted all other options,” the General Clinton Canoe Regatta website read.
There will be no winners or awards this year, but racers will be credited with finishes, according to event organizers.
Participants will be provided with a GPS in order to get credit for their finish on the 70 mile course. Those who finish will receive a t-shirt and an official 70-mile finish credit.
In addition, there will be no activities in General Clinton Park, because of the pandemic.
“I know this is a huge disappointment to all of you as well as it is to me. You all have worked hard training in anticipation of a race this year and we all worked hard to put on a world class race,” the website said. “We look forward to an amazing race in 2022.”
Several local races said they will sit out the virtual race, but some longtime paddlers said they will still participate.
Jim Jordan said he is set to make his 44th finish this year, racing with his brother, Scott Jordan, who will be making his 25th finish “It’s just not the same. It’s not competitive,” Jordan said. “I wasn’t going to do it at all this year. I’d like to be more competitive and train a little more.”
Jordan said his brother has trained 70 hours for the Regatta while has only trained five. Nonetheless, he said he expects to finish in 10 hours or less.
Steven Collier, 69, has 39 finishes and said he is “hoping to make it to Bainbridge, but it’s a long way from Cooperstown.”
Collier says that he has been more relaxed this year about training because of the restrictions.
“It’s not a high risk event,” Collier said.
However, the Collier family has been involved with the canoe race for about four decades. His daughter, Jessica Cowell, will be paddling with him, and his son and daughter John and Erica will also be in a separate canoe.
“The Collier name has crossed the finish line more than any other,” which is about 90 times, Collier said. “When my kids think of Memorial Day, they think of canoeing.”
Despite the fact that Collier is “disappointed” that this year’s Regatta will not be an official race, he praised the management behind the canoe race, especially Chair John Harmon.
“He tried desperately to make the race start as usual, but they couldn’t find a place to start in Cooperstown,” Collier said. “I’m just thankful I can go down this year.”