The 34th Run of the Charles is set to get underway at the end of the month, giving both spectators and boaters something to look forward as spring gets underway in Boston. Whether you want to be on the water, serve as a volunteer or simply watch the boat races from land, the 34th Run of the Charles promises to offer a day of fun for anyone who lives in or is visiting Boston.
About the Charles River
An 80 mile river that generally flows in a northeasterly direction, the Charles River begins in Hopkinton and passes through 23 cities and towns before ultimately reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Boston. Sometimes referred to as River Charles or simply as the Charles, the Charles River is fed by approximately 80 streams and numerous aquifers. A total of 33 lakes and ponds and 35 communities are either entirely or partially part of the river’s drainage basin. Altogether, the Charles River watershed contains more than 8,000 acres of protected wetlands, collectively referred to as Natural Valley Storage. These areas play an essential role in providing natural habitats for native species while also preventing downstream flooding.
In addition to serving an important ecological purpose, the Charles River is also used extensively for recreational purposes. The river is mostly known for its dragonboating, sculling, rowing and sailing opportunities, both for recreational and competitive purposes. It is, however, also frequently utilized for kayaking, though there are stretches where the kayak may need to be portaged. The 23-mile Charles River Bike Path also runs alongside the river, starting at the Museum of Science and passing the campuses of MIT, Harvard and Boston University. Swimming is also permitted in the river.
The 34th Annual Run of the Charles
The 34th Annual Run of the Charles serves as the unofficial kick off o the paddling season. Offering various starting points from Dedham to Brighton for canoe and kayak racing, the CRWA signature event is the largest flat-bottomed boat race in New England. Drawing an average of 1,500 racers and thousands of spectators each year, it is one of Greater Boston’s biggest events.
Those who are interested in participating in the Run of the Charles will find that there are many different races from which they can select. These include:
- 24-Mile Corporate Relay
- 2-Mile Non-Corporate Relay (government, women, mixed and open classes)
- 19-Mile Races (9:30 check-in and 10:30 race start)
- 9-Mile Races (11:00 am check-in and 12:00 pm race start)
- 6-Mile Races (12:00 pm check-in and 1:00 race start)
- Paddleboard Divisions
Pro paddlers are invited to join in the 19-mile race where they will be placed in the first heat in order to allow them to compete with their peers.
The 34th Annual Run of the Charles takes place on Sunday, April 24th. The cost to participate ranges from $40 to $200 for individuals or $350 to $400 for teams. Registration forms can be completed online. You can also sign-up to volunteer with check-in/registration, set-up, clean-up, boat number spotting, safety or other duties if you wish to become more involved.