Probably the greatest achievement in whitewater racing history just happened. Dane Jackson broke the elusive 4 minute barrier in the 27th edition of the Green Race.
There is a theme each year for the Green Race. This year it was ‘Wishful Thinking’, and it did not disappoint. Dane Jackson won for the fifth time in a row with a time of 3:58.68, breaking the elusive 4-minute barrier on November 5, 2022, about 11 inches on the river gauge. The second-place runner this year was more than 12 seconds away.
Dane Jackson is the goat
Jackson started racing the Green Narrows at 16, missing just a year since his debut in 2009. That’s 13 green races under his belt and several hundred practice laps. Jackson’s signature Red Bull helmet, shiny Kokatat drysuits and pink Jackson Kayaks Karma UL kayak haven’t changed for many years, as it shaved seconds off the overall race record almost every year in the recent history.
He got the record up to 4:02 in the past. He even had a good race last year, but, unfortunately, a flip and some backpadd made him finish with a 4:10ensuring that the 4 minute barrier was not broken for another year.
Dane Jackson’s Sub-4 Green Race
This POV video of Jackson winning the 2022 Green Race blows my kayaker mind. These images will be watched, started and stopped, and rewound a million times by paddlers and whitewater racers for many years to come.
Dane’s smooth, fluid flow with the river, his incredible athleticism and his extremely hard work – doing multitudes of practice laps every year than any other competitor – are reflected in every shot he took in the race. This year.
Besides that near-perfect longboat race, Jackson also raced in the shortboat class and won. He actually set a new short boat course record with a time of 4:22.70, beating his own previous record of 4:24.
The “greatest spectacle of all sports”
The paddling community calls the annual Green River Narrows Race “the greatest spectacle in all of sport.” As a lifelong avid kayaker, it’s hard to argue with that.
At noon on the first Saturday in November each year, approximately 175 expert whitewater kayakers set out at one-minute intervals to set a time on a steep, technical three-quarter-mile stretch of the Green River Narrows in North Carolina. North.
In addition to all the paddlers, there are always plenty of boating and non-boating spectators on the course. This year has seen some 2,000 spectators hiked the Green River Narrows Gorge on a beautiful fall day while many others watched the livestream online.
Green Race Results
Clay Wright, one of Jackson’s mentors and a true sports legend, won the first-ever green race in 1996, with a time of 4:57. This made Wright the first runner to go under 5 minutes – still a huge accomplished benchmark for any runner today.
If you sit down and think for a bit, it took 26 years of improvements in equipment and technique to achieve a 20% faster time. Let’s not forget raw talent and an insane work ethic when it comes to talking about Jackson pursuing – and accomplishing – the sub-4 minute goal.
If you want to dig deeper into all the race results from this year and previous years, check out the complete green race results.