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Statewide river race returns to run through Alabama River

The Great Alabama 650 will begin Saturday in the Alabama River.

The statewide river race will feature some of the country’s top paddlers.

Selma-area residents will be able to track the race from Northeast Alabama at www.AL650.com. They can view the racers live from the river walk when paddlers approach Selma on the Alabama River.

Race officials predict that Wednesday will be the best day for Dallas County residents to view the race.

The Great Alabama 650 is the longest annual paddle race in the world, and one of the toughest endurance events on the planet.

The racecourse is the core section of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, a 6,000-plus mile mapped river trail system in one of the most biologically diverse regions of the United States.

The 650-mile core section of the river trail extends from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Northeast Alabama through alligator country to the Gulf of Mexico.

Racers will face whitewater, battle tidewater currents, and hike around a dozen dams in the 650-mile race.

Racers will have up to 10 days to complete the course and vie for prize money, which will be divided across three divisions – male solo, female solo, and two-person team.     Racers will be allowed to use kayaks, canoes, or stand up paddle boards inter-changeably throughout the event.

The event has no sleep requirement. Under COVID-19 guidelines, masks will be required at stops at dams along the route. Event admittance will be limited to race staff, racers, and crew members.