Belize Bank Bulldogs defends its title in 2013 La Ruta Maya River Challenge

vlcsnap-2013-03-12-21h04m54s39The Belize Bank Bulldogs successfully defended its title in 2013 La Ruta Maya River Challenge. The team, led by Captain Armin Lopez completed the race at an accumulative 18 hours, 31 minutes and 21 seconds. Here’s a recap of the four day challenge. On Friday, 64 teams paddled off from the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio to start the first leg of the race. Day one consisted of 46 miles of winding down the Macal River, culminating at the Banana Bank Lodge. Belize Bank was the first team to cross the finish line, followed by BTL Cobbs Arm and Ziprider. We caught up with the Armin Lopez of the Bulldogs at the finish line.

Armin Lopez
Tired, because we worked hard. First of all, I want to give thanks to God. We finished this stage. Thanks to all the fans and all our sponsors – Belize Bank is one of our sponsors. Thanks to everyone.

Raynard Garbutt – Plus TV:
After passing Iguana Creek Bridge, you guys were about twenty to twenty five seconds behind Ziprider who was leading at that junction. What happened between Iguana Creek Bridge and Banana Bank for you guys to overcome that lead and also finish first here? Which in my view is an excellent job what you guys have done.

Armin Lopez – Captain Belize Bank Bulldogs:
vlcsnap-2013-03-08-20h19m41s206Thanks to God He gave us strength and the knowledge. We tried to pace ourselves and catch them slowly, because if you take the pace too hard, you can shut down and not catch them. You know Jerry Rayburn and his team are very fast. It’s like what I said, Jerry Rayburn is one of the best paddlers in Belize. But the youth really surprised me. I told them to keep it up, because they really did a good job.

vlcsnap-2013-03-12-21h04m43s115Early the next morning, the teams championed on in the second leg, covering 60 miles from Banana Bank Lodge to Double Head Cabbage. Westrac wisked down the Belize River to finish first, followed by Belize Bank. Despite their canoe capsizing at St. Paul’s Bank, the Zipride managed to snag third place.

Belize Bank reclaimed the lead on day three, which measured some 36 miles from Double Head Cabbage to Burrell Boom. NICH came in a close second, while Ziprider took third place. We had a chance to catch up the President of the river challenge.

Orlando Harrison – President Belize La Ruta Maya:
We started out with 64 canoes.  There were two that we lost yesterday, and two the previous day.  So we’re down to 60 canoes for today.

Raynard Garbutt – Plus TV:
So how is it going so far in your perspective as the President?

Orlando Harrison – President Belize La Ruta Maya:
Good planning always makes a successful event. We have planned very well.

Hundreds showed up for the fourth and final leg of the race and they got an exciting finish as the Belize Bank and NICH sprinted for first place. In the end, Zipliner won the 25 mile leg from Burrel Boom to Belize City, NICH placed second, followed by Belize Bank.
vlcsnap-2013-03-12-21h05m01s126When all teams overall time were calculated, Belize Bank Bulldogs came out on top. Second place went to NICH, while Ziprider rounded up the top three. But that was only the male category. In the female category, Vicious Ambitious Delicious placed 1st, while 1st went to 3 in 1 won for the family category and Natuis for the Intramural group. Meanwhile, in the Mixed group, Coast Guardian snatched first, OCEAN Wavemakers won in the Masters category and first prize went to the Police Crime Fighters in the Pleasure category. Of the 64 teams that started the race, five dropped out.

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