June 12, 2018
Port Townsend, WA- After paddling through the night, four-time Olympic medalist Greg Barton and his teammate Kevin Olney of Team Epic crossed the finish line at 3:09 AM to become the winners of the inaugural Seventy48, a new self-supported, human-powered boat race between Tacoma, WA and Port Townsend, WA. The prize purse was $11,700.
The team credits their preparation as the edge they needed to fend off the 116 other teams. “We trained really well,” said Olney. The race starts at 5:30 pm from Tacoma’s Foss Waterway, and in anticipation of what would be the duo ran the portions of the course at night several times to familiarize themselves with the race course in low light situations. “Paddling a surf ski in the dark in rough water is kind of nerve-racking the first time.”
While most of the night had ideal paddling conditions, Olney and Barton we met with wind and waves in the last 10 miles of the race. “With all the spray coming off the waves my eyes were full of salt…I could barely see [Barton] to match his stroke,” Olney said. The two persevered and were the first team to ever complete the new race in 9 hours and 39 minutes, covering 70 miles with an average speed of over 7 miles per hour.
Olney’s advice to those aspiring to next year: “If you want to be great for 10 hours you have to put in 1,000 [hours] of work,” Olney said, “or just get in a boat with an Olympian.”
Seventy48 is put on by the Northwest Maritime Center, a Port Townsend based non-profit that works to engage and educate people of all ages in maritime experiences. More information about Seventy48 can be found at www.Seventy48.com
Photo link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/asfv0cce2jjbkaq/AAD4fZgLHvWl6U_Wg3e3RyaWa?dl=0