Commissioner Podziba Welcomes the Mayor's Cup New York City Kayak Championships

On October 18, 2009 the 4th Annual Mayor’s Cup New York City Kayak Championships will take place at Manhattan’s North Cove Marina. The Mayor's Cup is a 28-mile circumnavigation of Manhattan that will feature 100 racers from 22 countries and 25 states as they compete for $15,000 in prize money and an additional $20,000 in prizes. Additionally, the event will also feature a race between Team USA and Team Holland that will include members of each country's National and Olympic teams. The first of seven flights of kayaks will launch at 10:30am from Battery Park City's North Cove Marina. The elite racers will launch in the last flight at 12:00pm and are expected to cross the finish line at approximately 3:00pm.

"In only its fourth year, the Mayor's Cup New York City Kayak Championships has grown into one of the world's premier paddling races," said Commissioner Podziba. "This year's field of racers promises to be our best yet, as members of the US and Dutch National Kayak teams will be competing. I would like to welcome all of the racers who will be traveling here from overseas, as well as those traveling in from across the U.S.”

Elite racers expected to compete include: 2006 Mayor's Cup Champion Greg Barton, a 2-time Olympic Gold medalist; and US National Kayak Team members Reid Heil, Rami Zur, Patrick Dolan Sean Brennon. The Dutch National members expected to participate are: Robin Koenders, Ruud van de Berg, Joep van Bakel, Rick Daman and Jack Butter. Paddlers will be available for pre- and post-race interviews at the festival area in North Cove Marina.

"The Quadracentennial offers a very special opportunity to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Hudson’s discovery in an event which already celebrates the River every year”, said Mayor's Cup Race Director Ray Fusco. "This year we have the largest field of top-flight paddlers of any race in the U.S., more prize money, and a world class Challenged Athletes division. I am happiest when paddlers come to the race and tell me they never imagined how beautiful New York would be -- it is a great place to paddle."

For the second year, the Mayor's Cup will include a Challenged Athletes division. It will launch with the first flight of kayaks at 10:30am. Each of the challenged athletes will be paired with an able-bodied kayaker in a tandem kayak. One of the challenged athletes expected to compete is a member of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans who was wounded while fighting in Iraq. This soldier will join additional Achilles athletes to compete alongside top paddlers from around the world. Prize money and awards will be presented to the top three disabled finishers.

Joe Traum, Achilles Kayak challenged athlete director stated that, "the opportunity for disabled athletes to compete on a level playing field with able-bodied peers is a wonderful opportunity for both groups to bond and learn from each other."

In addition to the elite racers, the Mayor's Cup will also include a remarkable field of amateur racers. Earl Baldwin, an 85-year-old elder statesman from Maine, will be making his second appearance at the Mayor's Cup. At 85, Earl still competes in 25 races a year. He will be bringing some of his younger 70 year old friends to experience New York like never before.

Spectators are encouraged to visit North Cove Marina to view the start and finish of the Mayor's Cup and to enjoy the free festival and music throughout the day. The Sports Commission is partnering with a sister City Agency, the Department of Environmental Protection, to bring award winning New York City tap water to the Mayor’s Cup Kayak Championships. Kayakers will drink fresh tap water instead of consuming water from plastic bottles to keep hydrated for the event. The first kayakers are expected to finish the race at approximately 3:00pm. The Mayor's Cup will conclude with an awards ceremony at 4:30pm.

“Kayakers will be competing on New York Harbor which is at its cleanest in a very long time. As we enter the 100th year of record-keeping, it is heartening to know that the Harbor’s water quality – as measured by oxygen and bacteria levels – is better than at any point in the past 100 years,” said Acting DEP Commissioner Steven W. Lawitts. “DEP is a partner with Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability in the goal of making 90% of New York City’s waters suitable for boating and fishing. Kayakers will also be able to drink tasty, clean, fresh tap water which reminds us of the importance of investing in the infrastructure that supports the water system.” 2009 marks the fourth year of this increasingly competitive race. One of the most challenging portions of the demanding course is Hell Gate where water from the Long Island Sound, the Harlem River and the East River combine to create standing waves, whirlpools and very tumultuous water. The picturesque course includes views of the Statue of Liberty from the starting line at North Cove, the Cloisters and the George Washington Bridge along the Hudson, and the Brooklyn Bridge and South Street Seaport along the East River.

North Cove Marina is located in Battery Park City and is best accessed from Liberty Street and South End Avenue. For more information about the Mayor's Cup New York City Kayak Championships, please visit

The New York City Sports Commission is the mayoral agency charged with attracting, facilitating and promoting professional, amateur and scholastic sports events in New York City. In recent years, the Sports Commission has played a role in creating or developing many new sporting events, including the NFL Kickoff Live from Times Square, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series™ Champions Week, the BMC Software NYC Cycling Championship, the AVP Brooklyn Open, the NAUTICA NYC Triathlon, the NYC Half-Marathon, the Union Square Street Sessions presented by Jeep®, the Wild Onion Urban Adventure Race and the Men's Health Urbanathlon. For more information about the New York City Sports Commission, please visit


Ray Fusco (Mayor's Cup Race Director) 410-299-1917
Jeff Mohl (NYC Sports Commission) 212-484 5410
Joe Traum (Achilles International), 212-354-0300