The San Antonio River Foundation held its inaugural River Relay at Mission County Park on Saturday morning. Approximately 75 racers participated in the relay. The cool weather didn’t turn into rain, allowing the race to take place as planned.

Shana Avery, the foundation’s director of development, said the foundation had to make a weather decision prior to the start of the race, even though it was a rain or shine event. Recent flood waters may have made the river unsafe for kayakers because of debris and an increased possibility of harmful bacteria in the waters. The threat of more rain held off, however, and kayakers gathered at 8 a.m. to push off near Mission County Park.

Oscar Mendoza, a racer who participated in both the three-mile kayak downriver and the 5K race was excited to participate this year.

Kayakers paddle to the finish of the river portion of the River Relay. Photo by Matthew Busch.
Kayakers paddle to the finish of the river portion of the River Relay. Photo by Matthew Busch.

“I’m hooked,” Mendoza said after kayaking for the first time ever Saturday morning. He said the shallow water caused his boat to hit a few rocks along the route, but he was looking forward to his next time in the water.

Young students from the Athlos Leadership Academy encouraged race participants with high-fives and inspirational chants. A cold one from Alamo Beer, the sponsor of the event, was waiting for racers once they reached the finish line. Byron and Edee Berkus, a husband and wife relay team, enjoyed their beer while waiting for the Learning is Fun festivities that were to take place later in the afternoon.

“It was great to get out on the river,” Byron said.

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Matthew Busch is a social documentarian based in San Antonio, Texas. His projects focus on the personal stories often at the heart of contemporary social issues. He works internationally, using a variety...