The Great River Challenge, Off-road Triathlon

Sat October 7, 2023 Northfield, MA 01360 US Directions


Long Course

10:00AM EDT
Events: Solo Triathlon Long Course 2 Person Relay Team Triathlon Long Course 2 Person Junior (20 & under) Triathlon Long Course 3 Person Relay Team Triathlon Long Course 4 Person Relay Team Triathlon Long Course 3 Woman Relay Team Triathlon Long Course

Short Course

10:00AM EDT
Events: Solo Triathlon Short Course Solo Triathlon SUP Short Course Solo Junior Triathlon Short Course 2 Person Relay Team Triathlon Short Course 3 Person Relay Team Triathlon Short Course 3 Person Junior (20 & under) Triathlon Short Course 4 Seniors Relay Team Triathlon Short Course

Race Website

Additional race information can be found at


Northfield Mountain Recreation Center, 99 Millers Falls Rd., Northfield, MA
Northfield, MA US 01360


Race Description:

Great River Challenge is a Triathlon event in the non-traditional category, being a Paddle, Run and Bike event. We have safety on land and water as well as water stations throughout the course, making sure your experience is fun, challenging and safe! The timing is run by Fast Track Timing, who use timing chips to ensure accurate segment and transition times, so you can have record of every stage of the race.

This year we will again have a short course 11.25 miles long. Recreational kayaks 14' and under and metal/plastic canoes will be used in this race.

Kayak/Canoe/SUP Leg
5.5 mile race up and back on the Connecticut River starting at the water-front Pavilion near the Northfield Mountain Center. The river flow is somewhat variable, but the river is very wide and free of obstacles, so the course will be easy to navigate. The start of the race will be on the water as a group, self-seeding your selves. You will head north, up river, about 2 miles to Captain Kidd’s Island, where you will round it counter-clockwise and head back towards the start. There will be buoys denoting the up and down stream lane, so please keep them on your left/port side. Just past the start line, you will head to the dock for the finish of the paddle leg. There will be helpers on the dock to help hold and carry your boat if needed.   

Short Course paddle 4 miles will turn around before Island where a buoy and boat will designate half way.                                                                                                                                                     


1st Transition
From the dock, you will bring your boat up the ramp and volunteers will shuttle your boat away and you will run to your right into the transition zone across the timing pad. A special corral will be set up in this area for relay team members to continue on as well. At this point, you will leave the transition zone and head up the path into the parking lot onto Ferry Rd.

The Running leg will be a 4 mile course (700ft of climbing) of mixed road and trails starting at the river and heading to the Northfield Mountain Recreational Center. From the river, the run will take you about 0.5miles from the old Ferry Crossing up along Ferry Rd, across Rt 63 to the Recreational Center. At this point, you will enter the trail system where the remainder of the course will be on packed gravel trails and single-track hiking trails. The climb will start out gradual and rolling, then becoming steeper towards the middle with 2 significant climbs. The last third of the course will be predominantly downhill towards the transition center at the Recreation Center.

Short Course Run 2.5 mile (500ft of climbing) cutting off  part of the rose ledge loop.

2nd Transition
You will enter the transition area by crossing over the mat and find your bike on the bike racks, or for relay teams, you will find your teammate in the corral and then they will then head to the rack to find their bike. From there you will run your bike across the exit mat and head out onto the Mountain Bike Course.

The Bike leg will be about 7 miles (900ft of climbing), consisting of mixed hard-pack wide trails and single track. At the start of the bike, you will head out of the fields across the access road onto some mowed grass trails for about the first half mile before entering the single-track trails. The single-track trails are in mixed woods and a gentle climb for about a mile where you will cross the power lines and enter the ski trail system, which is double lane hard packed dirt and grass for a big climb up to the access road and the water station. About 50 yards up hill you will enter the trail again for your climb to the top of Northfield Mountain, where you will then take single track trails down the mountain. There are some sharp turns to take caution and slow down, so please pay attention to the signage. About 5 miles in, there is a stretch of rolling hard packed trails to let loose before the last descent to the finish.

Short Course Bike 4.75 miles (700ft of climbing) will not go to the top of the mountain.

Register before September to get correct shirt size

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