World Run-Paddle Biathlon Championship to be held at NHTI boat ramp

Tom Walton will lead a free paddling clinic on the Merrimack River on May 31, prior to a triathlon he’s coordinating for July 20.
Tom Walton will lead a free paddling clinic on the Merrimack River on May 31, prior to a triathlon he’s coordinating for July 20.

Not many small towns (or cities) can boast about staging a world championship athletic event, but Concord is not one of those small communities.

On Sunday, July 23 at 10 a.m., the World Run-Paddle Biathlon Championship will return to the NHTI boat ramp for its second year.

Race organizer Tom Walton has been offering Run-Paddle Biathlon Championship events all around the U.S. through the United States Canoe Association for several years, and USCA Championship events were offered from 1996 until 2015. Since then, it’s been all Walton.

“The real appeal of this race and format is that it is athlete- and spectator-friendly,” Walton said.

Run and paddle distances are a modest 4K. Kids 12 and under have their own race divisions while families, married couples and “Generation Gappers” (minimum 30-year age difference) also have separate divisions. Paddlers 12 and under must wear a personal flotation device, and those older than that must have one on board while paddling. If you’re uncertain or not confident about your swimming abilities, wear the life jacket just to be safe – nobody will laugh at you (we hope).

Athletes can tackle the running and paddling solo or coupled with one or two teammates. If you are a runner looking for a paddler or a paddler in need of a runner, Walton will provide a matching service.

Categories for two- or three-person teams are as follows:

Juvenile: 12 and under; boys, girls, mixed

Youth: 13-18; boys, girls, mixed

Open: 19-39; men, women, mixed

Master: 40-59; men, women, mixed

Veteran: 60-plus; men, women, mixed

Generation Gap Youth/Adult (minimum 30-year age difference)

Family (must be related)

Married Couples (who get along well enough to race together without turmoil)

If you are having trouble finding a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard, a dozen or so units will be provided by E.M.S. on Fort Eddy Road on a first-come, first served basis.

If you need lessons in efficient paddling techniques, moving rapidly from point A to point B without too much zig-zagging, Walton can offer free lessons to parents and kids. If you’re interested in a lesson, email Walton at If you don’t opt for a lesson, make sure you practice your trail running and paddling before the big day.

This event combines the disciplines of running and paddling. One may do both the running and paddling solo or with the help of a teammate or two. The race begins with a 4K trail run, followed by a 4K flat-water paddle and finishes with a 40-meter dash (with your water craft) to the finish line. Participants may use a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard on water.

The entry fee is $20 for adults and $5 for those under 18. Make checks payable to Tom Walton, memo NHTI X-C, and mail them to Walton at 413 Broad Cove Road, Contoocook, NH 03229. There will not be any refunds, so make sure you can make it before you sign that check.

Race day registration will open at 8 a.m., but be forewarned: the event is limited to 100 participants, so the sooner you sign up, the better. Enter online at biathlon2017.

For more info, contact Walton at

Insider staff

Author: Insider Staff

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