Water Safari warm-up
April 30, 2014 at 9 p.m.
Updated April 29, 2014 at 11:30 p.m.
For the third year in a row, the Texas River Marathon will end its 39-mile journey at Riverside Park in Victoria on Saturday.
About 100 boats will leave Cuero's River Haven RV Park at 9 a.m. and race down the Guadalupe River until they reach the boat ramp at The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar, 1201 W. Stayton Ave.
"It's a great venue with the paddling trail there," said Bob Spain, board member for the Texas Water Safari. "It's a great venue for spectator watching."
The marathon race is a preliminary event for the bigger Texas Water Safari, a 260-mile race from San Marcos to Seadrift, which begins June 14. This year will be the 52nd water safari, which usually takes three or four days to finish.
Saturday's race is a completely separate event, Spain said, but the top finishers will have coveted placement at the front of June's race.
The participants will be greeted at the finish line with the second annual Texas River Marathon Festival, which will start at 10 a.m. at the PumpHouse.
Most of the front-runners will finish the race at about noon.
At 2 p.m., there will be a dedication ceremony for a new extended part of the paddling trail at Riverside.
"Our goal is to draw more people to the river," said Danielle Williams, assistant director of Victoria Parks and Recreation. "We think it's a very good asset to our Riverside Park."
The festival will include activities, a kayak tank (where first-timers can practice kayaking) and vendors.
"Having this in conjunction with the marathon, it's very well-attended," Williams said. "There's over 100 boats in the race and with that, 500 to 700 people in attendance."
Spain said many of Saturday's registrants will be from Texas, but the Water Safari in June includes participants from all the country and world.
"We've never capped it," Spain said. "Most big races like this draw hard-core people. The most we had was at the 50th anniversary and that was 140 boats."
Spain said some other good spectator spots are at the starting location in Cuero and inlets at Thomaston and Nursery.
The parks department will also host two kayak trips at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., which are first-come, first-served because of a limited number of boats.
Registration will be open until race day.
For more information on the Texas River Marathon, go to texaswatersafari.org.