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 a healthy active lifestyle. Conceived by Race Director David Thomas in 2013, the concept was introduced to the Northfield Kiwanis and Northfield Area Tourism and Business Association (NATABA) who provided initial underwriting. Since that time the Coordinating Committee has assembled a group of business and community sponsors who support the event each year. Proceeds from the race benefit summer camperships programs of the Northfield Kiwanis Foundation bringing increased health and well-being to local children.
The GRC is unique in that is utilizes the longest river in New England. The Connecticut River truly is “The Great River” with over a 20 mile uninterrupted stretch around Northfield, extending from Vernon in Vermont to Turners Falls in Massachusetts. This section is easily navigable with wooded shorelines and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.
The Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts affords a rural lifestyle with a high proportion of the land for farming, forestry and conservation. Extensive trail systems are maintained in the state parks, preserves, land-trusts and hiking trails throughout the region. Northfield’s Trails offer a paradise for hiking, biking, running, horseback riding, skiing and snowshoeing.
Home to the race, 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. With a full complement of facilities in place, the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center is the ideal place to hold a triathlon.
Northfield is also 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. Visitors are invited to enjoy the historical streetscape, food, lodging and things to do!