There is no better time of year to come out and enjoy the wilds of Western Mass. Cooler temperatures, local Festivals, fresh vegetables, warm water and the first autumn leaves poking out make it an ideal place to be!
The Great River Challenge, Off-Road Triathlon was created to help foster greater awareness of the Upper Pioneer Valley’s cultural and natural resources and healthy active lifestyle. Northfield is the only town to straddle the Connecticut River, which for millennia has been the bread-basket to all who have inhabited the region with fishing, hunting, farming and logging. The corruption of the native Monhegan word Quinetucket, became the Connecticut River, describing the river as simply “The Great River”. Its rich farm land, bountiful forests and river central to the region create a beautiful tableau. All of these factors make Northfield and ideal setting for an off-road triathlon, showcasing the river and surrounding lands!
The Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts affords a rural lifestyle with a high proportion of the land in conservation for farming, forestry and conservation. Extensive trail systems are maintained in the state parks, preserves and land-trusts throughout the region (http://www.northfield.ma.us/files/OpenSpace/trails/hiking_trails.html),making it a paradise for hiking, biking, running, horseback riding, skiing and snowshoeing.
Being the longest River in New England, the Connecticut River truly is “The Great River”. Over a 20 mile uninterrupted stretch of river around Northfield, extending from Vernon in Vermont to Turners Falls in Massachussetts. This section is easily navigable with wooded shorelines and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.
Northfield is known around the region to have a beautifully preserved Main Street, with Federal and Neo-Classical era houses and large sweeping front lawns that are included in the National Register of Historic Places. The Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center is another jewel in the town, offering access to the river, and 26 miles of maintained trails. For over 40 years they have offered public programs and events to help foster interest and awareness in our natural surroundings to the public. (http://www.suezenergyna.com/media/files/files/9c3d4fc4/news.pdf) With a full complement of facilities in place, the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center is the ideal place to hold a triathlon.
We hope to give back to the community too, with any proceeds generated beyond our operating budget being donated to the Kiwanis of Northfield’s Scholarship Fund. This worthy fund has been providing local students with a chance to continue their education for years. We hope you come to have fun and compete in our event and learn something about the area and its surroundings during your stay too!