Greenway Challenge will race through Burrillville Sept. 29

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BURRILLVILLE – A racing adventure that challenges participants to run, bike and paddle their way through the Blackstone Valley will swing through Burrillville in 2018, giving a group of some 60 cyclists a glimpse of what the town has to offer.

The Blackstone River Valley Greenway Challenge, now in its 18th year, is a 57-mile team relay race with eight segments winding through northern Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. The event, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29 this year, includes sections of running, cycling and kayaking, on a path custom-built to highlight the region’s history and beauty.

“Each year a unique course is set up,” explained Charles Thompson, chairman of the steering committee for the race in a communication to the Town Council.

In 2018, a pass along Route 7 will comprise the third segment, with bikers traveling through town into Douglas State Forest. The triathlon will start in Lincoln Woods State Park, and the Burrillville segment will be part of a 24-mile street bike race.

A cyclists makes his way through Douglas State Forest as part of the Greenway Challenge in 2016.

Roads will remain open for the event, and organizers may hire a detail officer to help cyclists through the intersection of Route 7 and Route 102. The bikers are expected to be spread out as they enter the town, passing through between 9:45 and 11 a.m.

Three years ago, Burrillville hosted the finish line, as well as two segments, and according to Thompson, it was a great success.

“If you look on the roads, you see that there are bicycle events through Burrillville on a regular basis,” noted Town Councilor Raymond Trinque. “It’s a very challenging area for bikes rides.”

With the mission of promoting recreational quality of life in the region, the Greenway Challenge has become one of New England’s premiere racing events.

“They know what they’re doing – they’re bringing people to see Burrillville and I think we should encourage more of that,” said Trinque. “We’ve been talking about bringing people to look at some of the things that we have in Burrillville and one of the ways is by bicycle. These type of events can bring at the very least recognition and a small amount of revenue to local businesses.”

Councilor Stephen Rawson agreed.

“It’s important for the rest of the world to know what we offer,” Rawson said.

The rain date for the event is Saturday, Oct. 6.

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