La Ruta Belize Challenge – What began as a one-off event to raise awareness about the environment has become an annual four-day race pitting teams of canoeists to be the first to cross the country.
Baron Bliss Day – Now official known as National Heroes and Benefactors Day, the Monday closest to March 9 is a time for boating regattas and other events to honor the generosity of Belize’s greatest benefactor.
Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Challenge – The day before Easter is when the country’s oldest and most popular sporting event takes place. First held in 1928 to encourage Belizeans to explore the country by bicycle, the race now pits teams from around the country and the world in a grueling 142-mile loop that starts in Belize City and heads to San Ignacio before returning to Belize City. At the end of the race, there are parades, parties, music, and plenty of celebrating.
Krem Bicycling Race - New Years Day
Krem Radio Annual New Year's Cycling Classic started in 1992 and has become a New Year's Day tradition in Belize. Happening every January 1, this race marks the very first cycling race on the cycling calendar in Belize. The usual route is along the Northern Highway from Corozal District (at first Corozal Town, now the Santa Elena northern border) to Belize City, finishing at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Mahogany Street, approximately two blocks from the home of the race's sponsor, Kremandala Ltd., located on Partridge Street. This is the second most prestigious cycling race in Belize, next to the annual cross country cycling classic held on Holy Saturday each year.
La Ruta Belize Challenge
The conception of the competition started back in 1998 as local business owner and investor, Richard Harrison, was thinking of a way to promote a new brand of bottled water in Belize – VIDA Purified Water. Through this, Mr. Harrison was able to compose a committee for the event along with additional sponsors. Although the initial purpose was commercial, it was later advocated towards raising awareness about Belize’s environment and the history of the Belize River. Since then, the La Ruta Maya River Challenge has been a popular annual event in households and to an international scale. It is the longest canoe race in Central America. Travelers from all over the world come to Belize in the first week of March to witness or participate in this prestigious competition. The La Ruta Maya festivities start in San Ignacio Town with live bands, mini competitions, foods and other entertainment. It is a must-see event while in Belize as amateur and professional paddlers paddle their way in high endurance for a chance to win coveted prizes!
Cross Country Cycling Challenge
Initiated in 1928, the Cross Country Cycling Race has evolved into a symbolic and traditional aspect of Belize. In the early days of 1928, curious and enthusiastic Belizeans took it upon themselves to travel west of the country on their bikes through bumpy, unpaved, dirt roads. From this expedition to San Ignacio Town, the famous annual Cross Country Cycling Race was born after the first award was given to the fastest racer. Approximately ninety years later, it has been one of the biggest and anticipated cycling races of the year by spectators and cyclists. Every year, experienced and amateur cyclists join the race in hopes of breaking the national record for the fastest time and win coveted prizes. Starting at 6:00 a.m., each participant’s stamina and skills will be put to the test as they speed from Belize City to San Ignacio Town and make their return to Belize City.
Grand Caribe Fishing Tournament
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San Pedro Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge
Every year, the seafaring brave take to the tumultuous waters of Ambergris Caye for the annual Lagoon Reef Eco-Challenge. This iconic race consists of two persons per kayak as they paddle their way through the grueling 42-mile route. After the famed Ruta Maya, this is one of the biggest races held in Belize. Competitors’ endurance and strength are tested, with a hefty cash prize dangling at the rippling finish line. Route - The route, which is the same as every year, is for two days:
Day 1 – 25 miles -
Lagoon side behind football in town – 6:30 a.m.
Sir Barry Bowen Bridge
Basil Jones Area in Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve (paddlers camp out for the night)
Day 2 – 17 miles
Basil Jones Camp site – 9 a.m.
San Pedro Town
Awards - Awards are cash prizes given to the top three finishers (along with a trophy for first place) in each category (such as three winners for Adult Female, three winners for Junior Co-ed, etc.)
Mission - According to the organizers, the challenge aims to “promote awareness, protection and conservation of mangroves, lagoons, reefs and the diverse species found in these natural habitats off the coast of Ambergris Caye.” The idea was birthed by Elito Arceo, from San Pedro Town, who is known to be an environmentalist and community activist.
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