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No doubt the single most famous, most respected, and most competitive creek race on the planet, the annual Green Race remains a fabulous and homespun little affair held each Fall on the steepest section of western North Carolina's Green River Narrows. Local boaters train here for much of the year due to the reliable flows, and people come from literally around the world to compete. More than five hundred friends and family members either hike or paddle in to watch and cheer on every racer, scattering themselves along the river's boulders and bedrock near the photogenic signature rapid called Gorilla -- a.k.a. "The Monkey" -- heart and soul of the entire run.
Looming larger than life in any paddler's mind, the Green Race is -- save for a few individuals -- largely not about winning. It's more about having clean lines and a safe run, making a personal best time, beating (or losing to) a friend by a few seconds, and simply participating in such a unique event and the fine community that surrounds it all. And yet to date, in seventeen years, with perhaps a couple-few thousand people having navigated and portaged themselves down the Green in total, only 446 people have entered the race.