COWARD, S.C. — Three types of teams competed Saturday in a two-stage race in which the participants started a 5K and paddled home along five miles of river — the Keep Florence Beautiful Adventure Race at Lynches River County Park.
Participants either ran as individuals (one runner and the same runner as one paddler in a kayak), as a relay team (one runner, a different paddler) or as a tandem team (two run together, two paddle in the same kayak).
The race started in the parking lot above the canoe launch and ended at the US 52 landing on Lynches River.
“It’s our annual fundraiser,” said Bobbie Moore. “Some of the funds go directly back into the park. We also put funds into keep the river clear and we put funds in to do various projects around Florence and Florence County.
Moore, vice chairman of Keep Florence Beautiful, said the trail race made a lap around the trail system in Lynches River County Park. After that the runners ran down to the canoe launch ramp at the park where volunteers helped them put on a personal flotation vest and launch their kayak.
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That was the tricky part.
Many paddlers left like pros. Others paddled out and quickly swam back to empty their kayak and try again.
At least one paddler rolled the kayak before launch.
It was all good, though.
South Lynches Fire Department and South Carolina DNR had crews out on the river as well as along the running trail.
Ninety minutes after the start of the race the only casualty was a broken paddle. A South Lynches crew motored out a replacement paddle and the racer was back on the way.
Keaton Billings was the overall first-place finisher in the race as an individual racer at the 1:06:02. Team Pink Llamas finished first in the relay with a time of 1:29:23 while Rory and Dylan Frederick — Team 1776 Patriots — won the tandem team competition at 1:17:43.
More than 80 people registered for one of the three competitions in the race.