Great Russian River Race

After a strong debut last year, drawing a crowd of 700 spectactors, the Great Russian River Race is set to return May 12.

Advanced paddlers will compete in the 15-mile race while team and recreational paddlers will do battle in the five-mile race, starting north of Healdsburg.

The 15-mile race starts at the Alexander Valley Bridge. The defending champions, Carter Johnson and Kristen Podolak, will be back to compete.

Both races end at the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge.

A River Race Party, with food, wine, beer and live music, will be held at the finish line.

Last year, there were 250 paddlers and 50 competitors in the 15-mile race.

This event caters to the full spectrum of paddlers, advanced to recreational, using canoes, kayaks, surf skis and stand-up paddle boards.

Individual and double paddlers should enter by April 30 to get a $20 discount. Registration is capped at 350 paddlers.

The entry fee is $50 per person until May 1; $70 per person after that.

To register:

The event’s hosts are Russian Riverkeeper, River’s Edge Kayak & Canoe and Sonoma County Regional Parks Department.