Competitors take on Saluda River rapids in Millrace Massacre and Iceman Championships

A contingent of men and women converged on the Saluda River, Saturday, to compete in the 19th Annual Millrace Massacre and Iceman Championships.

The event, on a warm and sunny  January day, drew a crowd of spectators on the riverbank to watch.

The kayak race included the Millrace Massacre time trials, requiring paddlers to take on the rapids near Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens in a timed event.

The Iceman got underway after the time trials. It’s a free-for-all race in which the competitors begin at the same time in a test of strength and endurance.

First, the racers paddle through the river’s Millrace rapids to the zoo bridge. Then they race back to a patch of river bank. From there, they travel back up to a spot above the rapids, up a river trail on foot, to relaunched and run the Millrace rapids again. Before finishing, the competitors plunge into the cold water below the rapids and swim to shore, kayaks in tow behind them.

And there was a reward at the end of the grueling event. The Palmetto Paddlers club serving up food and drinks for the occasion.

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