Thursday, June 20, 2024

Long-time Island paddler Daniel Gregorio represents San Pedro at La Ruta Maya


The 27th Annual Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge took place this year, with 59 teams participating in the 180-mile race. The race started from the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio, Cayo, and ended at the Civic in Belize City. On Monday, March 11th, the 2024 annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge announced Team “Slim and Trim like Guava Limb” as race winners. One of the members of Team Belize Coast Guard 1.5 (BCG) included Daniel Gregorio, a third-class Coast Guard petty officer and San Pedro resident, along with his teammates James Alford and Wilbert Daniels, who won third place in the competition.

Photo courtesy BTB

The canoe challenge ran for four days, from March 8th to the 11th, and saw fifty-nine teams competing in seven different categories. The paddlers started from the foot of the historic Hawksworth Bridge in the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena and made their way to the Civic Center in Belize City.

Photo courtesy BTB

The race’s first leg took the paddlers 46 miles down the Mopan River and then to the Belize River, ending at Banana Bank. Team Belize Coast Guard finished in third place on the first day of the race at Banana Bank with a clocking time of 5:09:20:52. Team Lucas Oil Males came in second, with a little bit over a minute behind and a clocking time of 5:08:10:68. Slim and Trim like Guava clocked in at 5:08:10:68.

Photo courtsey BCG

The second day of the race saw the teams paddling from Banana Bank to Double Head Cabbage Village, the race’s most extended leg, for 60 miles. The Belize Coast Guard clocked in a total of 5:58:17:63, followed by Team Lucas Oil Male with 5:56:23:90. Slim and Trim, like Guava, were ahead of everyone in the competition, leading with 5:51:56:38, as in the previous leg, Team Lucas Oil closely followed them.
The third day of the race became even more contested as paddlers made their way from Double Head Cabbage to Henderson’s Bank in Burrell Boom Village, a 36-mile journey. By midday, when the first teams were to arrive, the river bank was packed with spectators, and food, music, and drinks were available. Shortly after 12:30 PM, the first two teams appeared at the river’s end, where the crowd cheered as the three top teams battled to win victory. In the third leg of the competition, Team Slim and Trim like Guava Limb, claimed fame once again.

Team Slim and Trim like Guava Limb

On Monday, March 11th, the grand finale began. It was also a national bank holiday in honor of Belize’s Heroes and Benefactors. Thousands of Belizeans lined up along the banks of the Belize River to witness another successful end to the historic event.

Photo courtesy BCG

The event continued as they paddled close to the finish line at the Civic in Belize City. In a hard-fought fast sprint, Team Slim and Trim-like Guava crossed the finish line first once again, clocking in at 2:42:58:72. They were seconds ahead of the team Lucas Oil Male and one minute and seconds ahead of Belize Coast Guards, which made Slim and Trim-like Guava the official winners of the tournament.
Lucas Oil Male took second prize with a total time of 18:28:56:74, while the Belize Coast Guards took third place at 18:35:01:33. Despite coming in third, the BCG officer Gregorio still represented the island well.

Photo courtesy BCG

The winning team said they plan to participate again in the traditional canoe race next year and will be better prepared and equipped for next year’s competition. The Sun congratulates all the participants of this year’s La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge and looks forward to next year’s edition. Kudos to all the organizers and sponsors for making the event possible and keeping the tradition alive!

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