Check out the inaugural River2Ridge Relay (Salem to Silverton)

I don’t know about you, but I am one of the only “true” runners in my immediate friends group. While I obviously know and have relationships with runners, my day-to-day friends and family are a diverse group. My brother-in-law is a cycling machine and my father-in-law and a few friends are out on the kayaks about every weekend. They know that I do running races a lot, but I know they aren’t likely to participate in a half marathon with me. The inaugural River2Ridge Relay, which will take participants from downtown Salem to Silver Creek State Falls, is an event that can get anyone involved, regardless of their outdoor passion.

The event features a paddle (or float), bike, and run course that can be completed as an individual or with a team. Go here for details on each leg.

The paddle route is pretty straightforward, a 6.2 mile float down the Willamette River. Prior to that, participants must put in a .5 mile run across the Union Street Pedestrian Bridge to the Wallace Marine Park boat ramp. This is a pretty standard section downstream that no one should have significant difficulty in navigating. There are some small rapids, but nothing significant at all. Even if you or a teammate decides not to paddle, they should reach the transition point even if you/they float.

The bike section is just shy of 50 miles on quiet country roads. For anyone who has been out here (either biking, running or driving), you know that there are hop fields, vineyards, wheat fields, cherry and filbert groves, and usually great views of the foothills and Cascades in the distance. Having biked on some of this course, I can attest that sometimes there aren’t the widest shoulders at some points. However, this is a relatively common cycling route and the small amount of drivers out there on these country roads are used to being safe around bikers. Things will stay flat, but a gradual climb will start around mile 27 and the most difficult climb at mile 42, so save some energy for the end!

The run course is one of the best areas in the state to run – along the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Creek Falls State Park. If you have hiked or ran in the Silver Falls Marathon, you know the area pretty well. This 5.8 mile trek will start near South Falls and start a counter-clockwise loop. There will be rolling hills along the trail, but essentially an elevation loss over the first 4.5 miles or so (as well as running behind a waterfall). The final stretch will definitely be the biggest challenge.

This is shaping up to be a really cool inaugural event and definitely one you should have on your radar!

If you are going to be staying in Salem the day before, consider checking out the environmental symposium, put on by Salem Environmental Education on Saturday, September 16. This free event will highlight interesting environmental, agricultural and cultural aspects of the course route (Minto Island Pedestrian Bridge, Willamette River, the Willamette Valley, and Silver Falls State Park). The symposium will consist of three separate half hour presentations that focus on the history and environmental landscape of each section of the course.

River2Ridge Relay (Salem to Silverton)

When: Sunday, September 17th (9a for individual, 915a for teams)

Other Key Times:

Packet Pick Up – 9/16

  • Riverfront City Park
  • 1pm till 6pm

Packet Pick Up – 9/17

  • Riverfront City Park
  • 7-830am

Drop Offs – 9/17

  • Bike Drop Off
    • Spongs Landing Park
    • 6:30am – 8:30am
  • Kayak Drop Off
    • Wallace Marine Park
    • 6:30am – 9am
  • Run Drop Off
    • Silver Falls State Park
    • 6am – 8am


  • Start at Riverfront Park in Salem
  • Kayak entry – Wallace Marine Park in West Salem
  • Kayak to Bike Transition – Spongs Landing in Keizer
  • Bike to Run Transition – Silver Creek State Park
  • Finish at Silver Creek State Park

Register: Online here; $120/individual, $200/team

All registrations include race tech shirt, gear bag, and post-race lunch and beverage (Salem Ale Works appears to be the beer sponsor).

About Matt Rasmussen (1623 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
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