The defending Ruta maya champions Armin Lopez, Daniel Cruz and Amado Cruz of the Belize Bank Bulldogs won the 15th annual Belikin Ruta Maya River Challenge in a grueling four-day paddle over 140 miles of the Belize River, from the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio to the Belcan Bridge in Belize on Monday, March 11.
At the end of the third leg from Bemucian Landing to Burrell Boom, the Bulldogs had a 53-second lead over Jerry Rhaburn, Jeremy and Jermaine Sanchez in the Ziprider canoe sponsored by Cruise Solutions. The Ziprider team outsprinted the Bulldogs to win the fourth leg in 2:42:24, with Oscar Cordon, Efrain and Felix Cruz in the N.I.C.H. canoe only a second behind The Bulldogs finished three seconds behind the N.I.C.H. team for the best overall time of 18:31:21. The NICH team had a cumulative time of 18:31:24 to win second prize, while the Ziprider’s cumulative time of 18:31:10 won them third prize.
Jerry Cante, Erwin Cruz and Henner Cruz in the Westrac canoe finished two minutes behind Ziprider, with a cumulative time of 18:38:32, while Roberto and Andres Cabb and Roy Cano of the BTL Cobb’s Arm team finished three minutes behind the leaders with a cumulative of time of 18:39:24 to place fifth. The BTL canoers also won the Perseverance Award.
Anna Cruz and her sisters of the “Vicious, Ambitious & Delicious” team from Esperanza Village won the women’s category finishing 27th overall clocking 3:09:43 on the fourth day, with a cumulative time of 21:17:51.
Jayda Guydis, Louise Rodriguez and Shanice Ferguson of the University of Belize Lady Jaguars were the second female team, clocking 3:16:42 on the fourth leg, for a total time of 23:16:10. Salira Rico and Ellen Mckaney of the “Long Wait Bembehs” sponsored by the U.S. Embassy finished an hour behind the Esperanza girls, to win third prize in the female division with a total time of 30:09:32.
Alfred Lopez, Byron Cruz and Armando Lopez of “Happy Cow” team from St. Ignatius High School paddled in 2:52:24 for total time of 19:17:20 to win the first prize in the Intramural category, finishing 6th overall.
The second intramural team the Sprouts Kenrick, Michael and Wilberto Daniels of ladyville Technical HIgh School paddled their canoe into ninth place overall in 2:52:43, with a cumulative time of 19:29:08.
The third intramural team: UB Black Jaguars: Hector Bejerano, Alfonso Lind and George Ortega finished the fourth leg in 2:452:30 finishing eighth, with a total time of 19:31:43.
The Coast Guard Guardians, Tony Franzua, Keyren Tzib, Glen Jones, won the Mixed category, clocking 2:53:16 to finish 10th on the fourth day, in a cumulative time of 19:37:35. The Lost & Found team clocked 20:17:35 as they finished 18th to take second prize; while the “Bachika” crew clocked 22:49:55 as they finished 29th to win the third prize in the mixed division.
Ruta Maya 2010 champ Chris Guydis and his teammates of the Oceana Wavemakers were seventh across the finish line in 2:52;25 to win first prize in the Masters division with a total time of 19:24:01.
Michael and Johnny “Watt” Searle and Robert Bailey paddled the Sea Sports’ “Watt a Ting” canoe to win second place in the masters divison in 20:39:36, even though they were two minutes behind their arch rivals, Joe Segura, Stanley Bailey and Jerry Wilken of the “Grumpy Ol’ Men” who finished with a total time of 21:17:08 to win third prize among the Masters.
Nery Waight, Tyrell Alvarez and Jesus Linares of the Police Crimefighters paddled in 18th overall in 3:00:35 to win the first prize in the Pleasure category, with a total time of 20:20:44. The 11-times Ruta Maya veterans Rudolph Gentle, Timoteo Vanegas and Javier Guardado paddled the Print Belize canoe into 25th place overall in 3:08:11 for a total time of 21:08:02 to win second prize in the Pleasure category.
The Coast Guard in their “Magic Carpet’ canoe finished 30th, clocking 3:14:00 on the fourth day for a total time of 21:14;32 to win third prize in the pleasure category.
The “3 in 1” team won the Family division, clocking 3;27:18 to finish 40th on the fourth day for a total time of 21:47:16, while the “Bubble & Grine” team clocked 3:41:10 as they paddled into 46th place to win second prize in the Family category.