The UniBank Blackstone River Valley Greenway Challenge.
An Adventure Race... Like No Other!


The mission of the UniBank Blackstone River Valley Greenway Challenge is to promote the recreational quality of life in the Blackstone River Valley. Working with the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Inc. and other partner organizations, the UniBank Greenway Challenge supports clean water campaigns, hiking and biking trails, wildlife projects, environmental education and development of waterway access.

Each year, the UniBank Greenway Challenge athletes run, paddle and bike on a newly designed course, through one of the most beautiful and historic regions of New England, the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. This annual race is quickly becoming one of New England's premier adventure races.

 

Biking


Transition from run to bike - photo by Jim LeClaire

The Greenway Challenge Logistics Committee redesigns a new course each year which may include 1 - 3 biking segments. Any combination of street cycling, mountain biking and off road trails may be included and offer you the experience of cycling on country roads with fields edged by stone walls and trees filled with autumn leaves, breathtaking views from hilltop vista’s at the top of a mountain bike trail prior to descending down into the valley or riding on a dirt trail, which previously before you may have been a horse and rider and if you close your eyes tightly, you may hear the echo of the ol’ train engine that once rode on the rails previously placed here.

Cycling legs for the street can average 15- 20 miles, Mountain Biking 4 - 6 miles, and Off Road/Trail an average of 5 miles. The course may be designed that a mountain bike leg can follow a street cycle; they may be at the start or at the finish. However, they will all be designed with your safety in mind and a good challenge for the athlete.

Paddling


Paddlers during the 2011 Greenway Challenge

Designing the course to include paddling legs on the Blackstone River creates strategic planning for the Logistic Committee. Based on the ever growing popularity of the Challenge and the participants desire to paddle a section of the Blackstone River, every effort is made to include a river paddle in each year’s course. We also include paddle segments in the Historic Blackstone Canal and on the many beautiful lakes found in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. So ready your paddle and be prepared, whether it is high water, low water or flat water, the paddle can surely be a Challenge!

The course may be designed to offer a combination of any 3 types of paddling: flat-water, river or canal and may include one or more segments of each. You may use a canoe or kayak, single or double and you may have a portage or two. You may go up the canal, down the river or across the lake, please be careful, enjoy our waterways and keep your eyes open for a great blue heron, bald eagle or an old’ canal lock!

Running


Runners on Pratt Dam during 2011 Greenway Challenge

“Over Hill, Over Dale! We have got to get to there”….. And one of the ways is by foot! …. The running segments through the years have included short runs, long runs, up hills and down; on rooted trails, along the towpath or on the bikeway, through a village, on the city street or past an historic site. The Logistics Committee may include from 1-3 running legs in the Greenway Challenge Course. Mileage in past years has averaged approximately 5 miles per running leg and you are required to wear shoes.

Whether you are the starter or the finisher, or maybe the only runner, a great place to practice for the Greenway Challenge is on the Blackstone River Bikeway. You will be sure to pass along some of the many river access sites, historic homes, rolling fields and possibly meet a Greenway Challenge athlete also out for a run.

Train well and enjoy the Challenge!