Shana Avery, director of development for the San Antonio River Foundation. Photo by Joan Vinson.

The San Antonio River Foundation will host the first annual River Relay next month, a race that combines a three-mile kayak paddle with a 5K run that culminates with educational activities and live music at Mission County Park. The event will showcase the growing interest in kayaking the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River, which now feature a series of kayak chutes that enable paddlers to traverse rock dams and other low-water features.

The River Relay also is one more opportunity to attract active residents to the city’s near-Southside as it gains newfound attention brought about by redevelopment and the recent World Heritage designation for the Spanish colonial Missions and the Alamo.

The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 7, starting at 8 a.m. Click here to register. Participants can register as a solo kayaker or runner, or doing both individually or as a team.

“We want people to be aware that we’ve got this beautiful resource down south,” said Shana Avery, director of development for the River Foundation, a nonprofit fundraising arm of the San Antonio River Authority.

Most people are familiar with the Urban and Park segments of the San Antonio River’s Museum Reach, which extends north of the downtown River Walk through River North and the Pearl and will eventually reach beyond Brackenridge Park to Hildebrand Avenue, a total distance of 3.5 miles. The Mission Reach is eight miles of wildscape that starts below the Eagleland Reach south of the Blue Star Arts Complex and continues on to Mission Espada.

The River Relay will be a day-long event, beginning with the kayak-run, which is open to both individuals and teams. Kayakers will make the three-mile run down the river and then tag their team partner or continue solo to Mission County Park, where runners will race on the 5K out and back course on the Mission Reach Trail.

A portion of Mission Reach. Photo by Joan Vinson.
A portion of Mission Reach. Photo by Joan Vinson.

You don’t have to paddle a kayak or run a 5K to join in the festivities. The Learning is Fun event will be held from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. where families can enjoy an obstacle course,a  climbing wall, and a recycled item fashion show. Multiple food vendors will be at Mission County Park and the Piñata Protest band will perform from 3-5 p.m.

“We want folks to come out and enjoy a healthy day with their family,” Avery said.

Bexar County gifted Mission County Park to the River Foundation for the day. The park’s amenities include a covered basketball court, shaded picnic tables, restrooms, and a playground.

Alamo Beer, which will fund River Relay for the next three years, and James Avery are the two major sponsors.

Event schedule:

8:30 a.m. – River Relay begins
9 a.m. – Start of live music, and food and beverages become available
10 a.m. – Learning is Fun begins
11 a.m. – Learning is Fun opening ceremonies and River Relay’s Winner Circle
12 p.m. – Learning is Fun
3:30 p.m. – Eco Fashion Show
4 p.m. – Live music by Piñata Protest
5 p.m. – Event ends

*Top image: Shana Avery, director of development for the San Antonio River Foundation. Photo by Joan Vinson. 

Related Stories:

Mission Concepción Portal Blends Nature With Architecture

San Antonio Celebrates World Heritage Site Designation

San Antonio Celebrates the River’s Mission Reach Saturday

Kayaking in King William and Along the Mission Reach

Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....