Green Race organizers: No in-person spectators for Nov. 7 extreme whitewater event

The Green Race, an extreme whitewater competition, is held annually on the first Saturday in November near Zirconia. Photo by Marc Hunt

Press release from race organizers:

On the first Saturday of November each year many of the best paddlers in the world descend on western North Carolina to participate in the annual Green Race. The race is considered by many as the most competitive and coveted extreme whitewater race on the planet. The half-mile course drops through several Class 5 rapids with names like “Scream Machine”, “Pencil Sharpener”, and “Gorilla”.  Since 1996, the staggering amount of video, blog posts, magazine articles, and mega-pixels captured by still cameras at the Green Race cannot be estimated, nor can the nervousness of new contestants and the pride of participation.

The Green Race has become a very popular spectator event, with up to 2,000 hiking the steep winding trails into the Narrows to pack in along the banks to watch each of the last few years.

With athletes very eager for the event to happen this year, it is being hosted in a “NO SPECTATORS” format.  Racers are naturally distanced given the “race against the clock” staggered-start format, as are the necessary race safety volunteers and other officials.  Transmission risk would be great however were spectators allowed in to crowd the banks and the access trails.  Green Race organizers this year are appealing to the public to please not attempt to attend in person out of respect for the safety of racers, volunteers, and of each other.

Rather, fans are encouraged to enjoy the race via the first-ever live broadcast of the race on the web.  Organizers are pulling cable down into the remote and isolated Narrows, and former race champion Al Gregory and world whitewater canoe freestyle champion Brian Miller will host the livestream with expert commentary and analysis.  $5 from each subscription fee will be directed into the nonprofit Green Race Conservation Project to fund river protection efforts.

More on the race and livestream are available at

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