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The Chief's Challenge is the brain child of, you guessed it, the chief of police!
The idea was developed with two goals in mind:
The Chief's Challenge is a fun, non-timed event which consists of an approx. 15 mile bike*, 7 mile paddle and 7.5 mile run. The event can be done as an individual or relay team making it an inclusive event. So what if your friends don't run, they may enjoy the paddle down the Kalamazoo River.
Battle Creek has some amazing trail and waterways (as well as parks) that are showcased in this event including the Kalamazoo River, Calhoun County Trailway, Bridge Park, Bailey Park and Saylor's Landing.
While the event was originally intended as a bike, paddle, run, we listened to those non-runners and opened up a duathlon (bike, paddle, bike) option. Please note, when choosing a bike to ride, that the terrain will differ from the first bike leg to the last bike leg.
*The actual bike course may vary from 11 to 15 miles depending on the final route, which will be finalized mid-August and based on current road conditions.
Riders will be begin their journey for the day at Bailey Park. From there, they will pedal to Saylor's Landing,
The bike route changes every year due to....Michigan roads! The bike route consists of country roads with a few rolling hills and climbs. All roads along the route are paved. We work each year to determine the best route based on road conditions , low traffic, and construction. The route can vary from 11-17 miles. The route will be finalized about two weeks prior to the event.
For the kayak portion of the event, participants will launch at Saylor's Landing in Marshall and paddle 7 miles down rive to Bridge Park. This stretch of the river is known for its serentiy and wildlife. There have even been some bald eagle sightings.
Beginning at Bridge Park, runners will jump on to the Calhoun County trail and run a total of 7.5 miles back to Bailey Park. The gravel trail is non-technical and consists of rolling hills, boardwalks, wooded areas and grassy fields. After exiting the trail, runners will run for a brief time on sidewalks along Emmett St. before entering the Linear Path to finish their journey.
It takes o a lot of logistical work behind the scenes to make your day fun and worry-free. You do not need to worry about how you are getting your kayak back or locking up your bike.
Check-in in the morning begins at 7:30 am where you will get all of your event goodies, including a sweet 1/4 zip. You will leave your kayak at Saylor's Landing where it will be watched until you return later on bike. Participants will also receive a marked gear bag to allow for you to leave unneeded items at each leg of the event (you may opt to bring your own gear bag). You will then take only what you need to cycle with you and head to the starting location at Bailey Park.
The event is a mass start at 9:00 am.
Each participant will receive a participant number and bib. That bib will need to be visible at each checkpoint. Volunteers will be checking participants in at each leg of the event, including the start and finish. We haven't lost anyone yet...but we have had to call a mom.
When you arrive by bike at Saylor's Landing, you will rack your bike and leave all belongings that you do not want to take in the kayak. We will then transport your belongings to Bridge Park, the next check point, and your bike back to Bailey Park to await your finish.
Upon arriving at Bridge Park, you will leave your kayak and head out to your last leg. We will transport your kayak back to the start.*
Volunteers will be present at each location to check you in, assist with gear and help with transitions.
Aid stations will be at Bridge Park and in two additional locations along the run route with water, electrolyte beverage, and Gu.
Relay teams will need to arrange for point to point transportation for each participant. We transport "stuff", not people.
The event will finish with a picnic lunch (lawn chairs recommended, throw one in your trunk). Kayaks will arrive around 2 pm depending on the arrival of the last kayak to Bridge Park.
Lunch will arrive at 11:30 am. Finish times will vary greatly. Bike, paddle, bike participants may arrive much sooner due to cycling the last leg. We encourage everyone to stick around to cheer on the finisher's, spend time connecting with other participants and reveling in your accomplishment.
*Please note, due to the gap in completion times for the paddle among participants, you may need to wait for your kayak to arrive.
The relay possibilities are endless:
You get the point...if you can think of a way to relay it, do it!
When registering as a relay team, the first person to register will need to set up a team name when registering. The other team members will join the team when registering. We have set up relay teams so that individuals can register separately, pricing is PER PERSON, not per team.