A MULTISPORT TRAVERSE OF THE ENTIRE HUDSON RIVER FROM ITS SOURCE HIGH IN THE MOUNTAINS ALL THE WAY TO NEW YORK CITY.
Our challenge encompasses running and trekking, biking and kayaking. This is the ultimate mountain, river and road trip all combined into one helluva multi-sport adventure.
20 - 23 SEPT / 2024
NEW YORK, USA
5 DAYS /
DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?
This is the perfect adventure for those with a good base level of fitness who are comfortable with cycling.
35 MILES (56 KM) ON FOOT + 260 MILES (418 KM) ON BIKE + 21 MILES (34 KM) ON KAYAK
3 nights accommodation / Hotel
Most meals included.
GUIDES AND SUPPORT
Professional 4x4 support vehicles, mountain guides, water safety staff, medical, mechanical and welfare.
Includes kayak and associated equipment rental.
High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.
Flexible transfer policy.
Professional local and UK safety staff, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.
RAISE £5000 AND GET UP TO £2500 REFUNDED
Imagine a journey undertaken on foot, bike and boat that starts in pristine wilderness at a hidden mountain lake, giving rise to one World’s great rivers. Then follow that river as it winds its way downstream, carving a course through a lush valley before finishing as a colossal waterway amidst the most famous icons in America in the hustle and bustle of New York City. This is Source to City – a multi-sport descent of the mighty Hudson River traversing all 300 miles of its course.
The river itself flows from a little-known lake in the High Peaks Wilderness area of the Adirondacks of Upstate New York and makes it way down the Hudson River Valley: A breath-taking tour-de-force of American beauty, steeped in culture and the very cradle of the Nation’s history. The river officially terminates at ‘mile 0’ at The Battery, at the very tip of Manhattan Island. Celebrate as you finish this challenge amid the skyscrapers of Wall Street and with the Statue of Liberty in clear view – a magical end to an incredible adventure.
Our challenge encompasses running and trekking, biking and kayaking. This is the ultimate mountain, river and road trip all combined into one helluva multi-sport adventure. Make no bones about it, this one does not pull any punches and this event is a seriously committing undertaking. But it is forged in true Rat Race-style: The objective is achievable to anyone who fronts up, trains hard and commits to the start line.
Take on this 300 mile one-way journey along the entire length of the Hudson River valley from its source to its mouth at New York City with a 22 mile trek/mountain run, 21 mile kayak and 260 mile bike ride over 4 days. The kayak stage includes the Hudson Highlands, a stunning section of river flanked by some of the United States’ most historic sites. The event is fully supported with pit stops (feed stations), logistic support, bike mechanics and kayak rental and safety, with 3 nights accommodation included as well as a sensational finish amidst the skyline of New York City and a Wrap Party, food and beers in Manhattan. Transfer options are also available to get you and your gear upstate pre-event plus bike rentals for those who wish.
Arrive Lake Placid and attend registration at our race HQ, open 1600 – 2200. You will drop your bike with us and we will then transport it to the bike transition. It will then be available to you when you transition from foot to bike upon the completion of the hike the following day.
A map of the locations we use I nthe event can be found here. There are optional transportation services you can purchase from us to move your bike and gear for you from New York City area, if you wish.
DAY ONE: FRIDAY
Source to Summit begins! You will line up at our startline for an ascent into the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area. After summitting Mount Marcy (the high point of NY State) you will descend to Lake Tear of the Clouds, the official source of the Hudson River. From there it’s a thru-hike to continue out of the High Peaks Wilderness Area to connect with your bikes, waiting for you on the other side of the mountain. A fast, mostly downhill road cycle then takes you to our first overnight in the North Crek area.
DAY TWO: SATURDAY
Back on the bikes for some 120 miles of smooth tarmac along the Hudson River
valley lies before you. The going is beautiful, largely on quiet country roads with good surfaces. The scenery changes throughout the day from mountains and hills to rolling farmland and there is hardly any elevation to speak of. It really is a superb ride. Our destination is the quirky town of Hudson and you are again accommodated in quality lodgings.
DAY THREE: SUNDAY
Today is all about playing around in boats but first, we must cover another 45 miles on the bikes as we head south to Poughkeepsie through the Hudson Highlands. The going is a bit hilly now on the bikes, offering up rolling ups and downs and eventually passing the famous Vanderbilt Mansion and FDR’s house, right on the banks of the river. Once in Poughkeepsie, we ditch the bikes and we take to the river itself for a stunning 21 mile paddle downriver through the Hudson Highlands to Cold Spring. Lodgings in the Cold Spring area in comfortable accommodation.
DAY FOUR: MONDAY
Back on the bike and over the Bear Mountain Bridge and into Bear Mountain State Park, for a classic 50 mile section on County Road 6W that brings you screaming downstream and face to face with the bright lights of the Big City. Ditch the bikes on the Jersey side of the George Washington bridge and run across the bridge and into Manhattan itself. You’re going to finish as you started: On foot, with a half marathon run down Manhattan’s west side in full view of the now mile-wide Hudson river, as it winds its way down the side of Manhattan to come to its official terminus at The Battery. This is journey’s end for you, with the Statue of Liberty, skyscrapers and other famous landmarks dotting the skyline. Welcome to New York City and to beers, food and party-time. .
Prior to the event start, no accommodation is provided. There is loads of accommodation options in Lake Placid and the towns of Keene and Keene Valley, all of which are local to the start area.
Your event entry includes a night’s accommodation at each of the end of days 1, 2 and 3. This will be in a comfortable hotel/motel with good amenities and will offer secure storage for your bikes also. On conclusion of the event at Manhattan, participants will select and reserve their own lodgings, or depart for home.
Included each day and featuring hot and cold selections plus hot drinks
We will supply a $30pp allowance towards evening meals each day with our compliments, for a job well done! Participants will split and settle their own checks above that allowance and everyone will contribute to tips.
Including a celebration hot meal for all participants and a complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. Further beverages (Alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are not provided. A vegetarian option will always be provided.
A complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink is offered at end of each day along with a simple plate of something hearty and at the celebration dinner in Manhattan.
Where we offer pit stop (for kayak, bike and Manhattan run stages), we will offer savoury and sweet snacks, bananas, sports drink (carb-based powder for you to add to your water at your own discretion) and water.
Please note that the pit stop provision whilst on the route does not consist of ‘full meals’ and will be more snack-based grab n’ go options, to reflect the journey being undertaken. You are welcome to bring your own foodstuffs and we will transport it with us on the route in your transition bags (these are accessed at transitions only and not pit stops). We would also advise that if you have sports nutrition products that you know work for you, please bring them with you.
Please make sure you sanitise your hands prior to eating any food. Please, please, please take care with your trash and help us in our aim of leaving these incredible islands tidier than we find them. This is even more critical in this environment, with any lost trash instantly becoming a choking hazard for the marine life we are here to admire.
The date-range is set and the route is tried and tested. However, our challenges unfold in some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sometimes we do have to change plans on account of weather or other unforeseen factors. If we do have to do so, you will be informed and usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! That having been said, our route is likely to remain largely intact, regardless of any on-the-ground changes.
Click ‘Buy Event Voucher’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.
Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case.
Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.
The latest kit list will be sent to you before the event within the Essential Event Information Document.
Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer UK and raise the target amount for this event per person, we will refund your entry fee up to the amount of £2500. You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.
Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.
We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.
Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.
To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.
To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry.
Yes, travel insurance is compulsory for our events that are not in your home country. You need a decent travel policy covering you for general travel and which covers participation in outdoor sports. You will also need what is called an Evacuation Insurance Policy, which is for if we need to send you back to the closest city for urgent medical attention via a helicopter or similar. We also recommend you have this in place as soon as you enter this event and that if you book flights, we highly recommend booking a flexible option for any last-minute changes you might need to make or to ensure you have maximum flexibility if you cannot attend for any reason.
Travel insurance is compulsory for our events, so please make sure your insurance policy covers the activities you will be participating in. There are a number of specialist providers available including Mann Broadbent.
Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.
If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed.
Rat Race have been audited and accredited to the prestigious BS8848 expedition safety standard. We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.
Race entry includes a glorious finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tee. We will request your t-shirt size and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.
The Event is headquartered at Lake Placid, which is the hub for Start-line activities. It is up to you to make arrangements on your own lodgings pre-event at lake Placid and post-event in the NYC area; but on the overnights whilst you are on the event, (that’s nights 1, 2 and 3) we will be accommodating you in comfortable lodge or hotel/ motel-style lodgings. See more on accommodation here. More detail will be released nearer to the event itself.
No. Kayak rental is included in the entry price.
There are cut-offs on the bike and the run stages, although they are very generous and are not there to make you fail. We want everyone to finish and the cut-offs are generous. If you do end up lagging behind and you really cannot make it in time, (or if you are injured) we will pick you up in an event sweeper vehicle and transport you to the overnight locations. You can re-start the next ay if you wish. There is none of this ‘if you miss a cut-off you’re out’ kind of stuff on this event.
For the kayak, it’s a little different as tide may be the reason that you cannot finish. If the tide turns and you run out of time to run downriver with it on the ‘ebb,’ then you may simply not be able to paddle hard enough to go against it. The tide in this section of the Hudson is not strong, but it does make a difference on tired arms and legs! In this instance, that’s your cut off right there. We will be able to tow slower boats if required but the cut-off will be applied 13 miles in at Beacon. So if you are too slow to there, there will be options to get warm and dry and transit by road onto the overnight location. Don’t worry though – there will be ample time to complete the leg however for a paddler with reasonable fitness.
We will be able to come and get you at key shore-based off the river if a.) You have problems and wish to withdraw or b.) are going too slowly and we need to cut you off because the tide is turning and it will prove impossible for you to finish
The latter is unlikely as we will of course have seen you paddle pre-event at the skills check and ultimately, we will only let you commence the event if we are satisfied with your ability to complete the leg. However, if this does occur, we will cut you off, bring you ashore and then transport you to the end of the stage at Cold Spring. Your boat will follow, although we will not guarantee the arrival time of the boat as it will be collected en masse with other boats and transported together by one of our road support vessels.
No. There’s enough time available to walk either of them and we have designed it that way. If you walk the final half marathon into the city, don’t worry – there will still be time for beers at the end, too!
Well, it’s varied and each day has its own particular characteristic. The route map and day descriptions can be found here. Here is a rough summary:
Day 1: Mountain trek or fast-pack on well-made trails with significant vertical ascent/ descent. Road bike on good roads for 30 miles.
Day 2: Bike is on smoot-surfaced sealed roads for 120 miles
Day 3: Bike over 45 miles of good scenic roads – with a few hilly bits. Kayak on Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Cold Spring for 21 miles.
Day 4: Initial bike leg on good roads, through a few towns with stoplights but in general, pretty quiet. Followed by stunning urban run leg in city parks and on sidewalks; all on paved surfaces.
Whilst the route is long, it is pretty easy to find your way along and we make it even easier by issuing you some very capable GPS hardware units. In the mountains, there are signposts up Mount Marcy, you will be issued a written guidance with the trailhead info and we will also have some staff on the mountain with you in places. We also issue you a GPS device that has the route pre-loaded and acts as a safety tracker also.
On the bike stages, we will issue a GPS navigation device that has turn-by-turn navigation on it – just like a car satnav unit. We will also make GPX files available to download into your own personal GPS devices if you wish.
The final run has a few wiggles to get you under the GW bridge and onto the riverside route in the city, but it really is pretty simple and the route file on your own phone, or our GPS device, will do the job just fine. Other than that, just keep the river on your right!
Throughout the event, we will have aid stations and staff present to help you on your way, plus on the bike and run stages, we are only ever a phone call away if you need more assistance.
The kayak? Well, keep paddling until we tell you to step! We will have support boats with you also. Aside from that, point the boat downriver and you will get there!
It’s a big outing and you’ll need good conditioning and a solid dose of fitness, plus an appreciation of the task at hand as far as the kayak stage goes, too. See more on the skills required here. But this event has been designed for anyone to have a go at – not just seasoned adventure athletes. That is the Rat Race way. We have provided some commentary on the nature of the challenge and the ‘ratings’ we apply to it (Skill rating and Endurance rating) here. In terms of training, this is a personal thing, but a general training plan will be released shortly, which should act as an overall guide to help you prepare and get the most out of this epic adventure.
This kit list is from our 2022 event - you will be notified of any changes to this list ahead of the event you have signed up for.
THE KIT LIST
Here’s a rundown. We may revise this nearer the time but this should give you a good idea at this stage.
Note: All items are mandatory, unless it says recommended, where they are, well, recommended!
TREKKING OR TRAIL RUNNING – MOUNTAIN STAGE
Trail running/walking footwear or lightweight boots.
Day pack. An ultra running vest or a small backpack – between 2.5 – 5 US gallon capacity (10 and 20 liters) is fine.
Water carrying capacity – minimum 50 oz (1.5l). Bottles, soft flasks or bladder systems are all fine – or a combo.
Trail running/walking apparel – shorts, technical wicking tee/ base layer, long-sleeved wicking layer, mid-layer (e.g. micro fleece).
Waterproof upper-body and leg cover.
Buff or similar neck gaiter and sun hat/cap.
Spare base and mid layers.
Socks; consider neoprene and GoreTex, as well as warmer sport socks. Also consider a 2-sock system with a toed liner sock (e.g. Injinji) and an outer, cooler trekking sock. We are told our own Rat Race Merino socks are pretty good, too!
Blister care kit.
First Aid kit.
Water bottle and/or cup or Hydration system for rucksack.
Trekking poles (optional but highly recommended for some of the mountain stages).
Headtorch, waterproof to IPX7 standard. Minimum 150 lumens + spare batteries or second headtorch.
Water filter: Whilst there is copious supply of fresh water from brooks and streams in the high mountain area, it is possible that water sources are contaminated. In order to prevent infection, a small personal water filter (or filter bottle) is required. Items such as the Katadyn BeFree is ideal.
Road bike (your own or hired).
Bike shoes and cleats (optional – rental bikes will be provided with flats but you may substitute with cleats as required).
Water carrying capacity – minimum 1.5l. As with foot sections – bottles, soft flasks or bladder systems are all fine – or a combo.
Bike puncture repair kit – to include spare inner tubes, slime (if you use it) or spare CO2 canisters.
Set of bike lights – front and rear.
We will carry a trackpump with us on each support vehicle.
WATER STAGE KAYAK
Buoyancy aid, paddle and kayak (double or single) will be provided.
You should dress in waterproofs and technical wicking undergarments. These can be the same ones you have used on the run stage. Please remember you will be sitting stationary and WILL get wet. Avoid cotton and use technical wicking fabrics.
If you do have kayaking gear, such as a cag, then please do bring these.
Sandals, boat shoes or any permeable trainers are also useful for this stage.
Gloves suitable for paddling – cycle gloves and neoprene gloves are good for this – Optional.
A dry bag and/ or waterproof rucksack liner (or a selection of small and larger ones) will be essential to stow gear inside your boat to ensure it does not wet on the kayak.
Bottom line: Try and wear quick-drying gear or stuff you can get wet and then discard and change into other clothes. There will always be the option to access your support bag after this section but you should plan to be self-contained on the river itself.
ROAD RUNNING STAGE
Road running sneakers.
All other requirements for this stage are covered in the sections above, but bring additional fresh clothing as you see fit.
NIGHT TIME GEAR
Ear buds if light sleeper.
Casual clothing for use in evenings and transit stages – you will be able to leave a ‘second bag’ or ‘transition bag’ in the support vehicles so you have warm/ spare/ casual/ dry clothes available when you interact with the support vehicles at pit stops, so you do not need to carry this with you the whole time – see below where we reference the ‘vehicle bag’.
General ‘overnight’ bag (holdall, duffel) for spare kit. Please go for a MAXIMUM size capacity of around 16 US Gal (60 litre) and no more than approx 35 lbs (16kg) pls. We don’t have unlimited carrying capacity.
General trekking trousers and robust outdoor footwear are recommended just given the type of trip we are on.
Towel – travel micro towel or full-size.
Bandana, Buff or similar.
Personal toiletries including any personal medication required.
Multitool or penknife.
Power bank for mobile phone.
Charging cables for phone and other personal devices.
EMERGENCY SUPPLIES AND FOOD
Small personal med kit including absorbent bandage.
Bivvy bag like this.
Food: Aim always to have a minimum of 400 kcal on your person (equivalent of approx. 4 gels or 2 energy bars).
Change of clothing, evening wear, food treats, charging devices, money and bank cards as laid out above in the general section, in a second ‘overnight’ bag (i.e. not your rucksack): Max 16 US gallon (60l) x 35 lbs (15kg).
IF THERE ARE ANY CHANGES FOR THE EVENT THIS WILL BE COMMUNICATED IN THE PRE-EVENT DOCUMENTATION
Carrying this kit is a requirement of the Event and forms part of our planning in ensuring reasonable measures are put in place to keep you safe should anything go wrong during this adventurous endeavour. We ask you not to take short cuts or ‘second guess’ our advice. For instance, the carrying of waterproofs is required even if rain or snow is not forecast as a means to prevent cooling down too fast if you get injured in a location that is very exposed to wind or extreme cold – remember you may be very tired and sweaty, and who says the forecast is always right? In the Arctic, being prepared is key. It is therefore important that you carry the mandatory kit at all times.
The emergency kit is important for several reasons:
1. It helps you to help yourself should you have a problem.
2. We are in this together and you may need to assist others if they have a problem.
3. In the case of an incident our Event Control and safety teams will make decisions based on the knowledge that you all have this equipment.
4. Carrying the kit is a requirement for everyone and hence provides an equal and fair challenge.
5. It is part of our risk assessment process that is shared with insurers. Your insurance may be invalid if you do not follow our advice.
6. If your lack of kit preparation contributes to making an incident more serious, then you may be avoidably drawing resources from our medical team and the emergency services at the expense of others.
7. Without the kit you will be unable to complete registration. If during the race you are not carrying the mandatory kit then you will be disqualified and deemed to have not completed the challenge.
There are 3 bags to be considered for this journey.
1). Daypack: (For trek and run stages – spare clothes, water, food) – small rucksack or Ultra vest.
2). Overnight bag: All spare and overnight gear (max 35 lbs and 16 US Gal capacity).
3). Vehicle bag: For carrying on the vehicles and getting access to quickly whilst on the route – spare clothing, snacks, transition gear to change into from hike – bike, or bike – run etc (small holdall or backpack is suitable).