Lehigh River Sojourn is a physical and educational event

The registration deadline for taking part in the 2014 Lehigh River Sojourn is rapidly approaching. This three-day, 28-mile paddle adventure on the Lehigh River from the Lehigh Gorge to Northampton is a celebration of the river that made the Industrial Revolution possible as coal was floated down the river and its canals to help forge the steel industry in the United States.

Along the way, the Lehigh was polluted to an almost ecologically dead state from mine acid and coal, but efforts in the 1970s to clean up the Lehigh have taken it back into a vital, vibrant waterway that provides drinking water and recreational activity for hundreds of thousands of people a year.

The recreation includes fishing, boating and the ever-popular summer tubing.

The Lehigh River Sojourn is conducted by Wildlands Conservancy to help people understand the importance of the river and the need to keep it, and the surrounding environment, clean as part of its namesake Lehigh Valley's lifeblood.

Paddling on a lake or pond is child's play compared to paddling in some of the Lehigh River whitewater, but an expert crew of volunteer professional river guides has helped the sojourn focus on safety while providing a challenging but fun educational experience of the local landscape.

This year's Lehigh River Sojourn runs Friday evening, June 20 (overnight camping at Mauch Chunk Park) through Monday, June 23. The paddling begins with a Whitewater rafting adventure through the Lehigh Gorge from Drake's Creek to Jim Thorpe on June 21, followed by canoeing or kayaking from Jim Thorpe to Walnutport on June 22, and finally paddling from Walnutport to Canal Park in Northampton on June 23.

The whitewater rafting day fee is $95 per person while the canoe/kayak days are $75 per person. Canoe rentals are available for $15 a day.

Registration deadline is June 6.

For more information, call or email Megan Sciarrino, Director of Annual Fund & Communications for Wildlands Conservancy at 610-965-4397, ext. 116, or msciarrino@wildlandspa.org.

You can take part in any one, two or all three days of the Sojourn, which will feature morning safety briefings, meals, and educational programs, including a stand-up paddleboard demonstration, creek snorkeling presentation, and a special historical presentation by the Walnutport Canal Association.

Tour of Somerville results: Several local cyclists did very well during the 2014 Tour of Somerville (N.J.) race on Memorial Day. Barry Miller of Kutztown finished seventh overall (third for the pros) while two-time U.S. Olympian Bobby Lea of Mertztown finished 13th overall, fourth among pros. Eric Workowski of Kutztown finished 15th, which was sixth for the Cat 1 men's riders.

For the Masters 45-99 class, Wind Gap's Dave Bonser was fourth, second among Cat 2 men, and Macungie's Ed Slaughter finished fifth, first among Cat 3s.

Northwestern Lehigh and Penn State Lehigh Valley graduate Erica Allar, now living in Arizona, was first in the women's division. Laura Van Gilder of Cresco was fourth overall, Colleen Hayduk of Kutztown was seventh, followed by Spring City's Colleen Gulick, which finished ninth.

In last Saturday's Raritan (N.J.) Cycling Classic, Easton's Bill Elliston finished seventh in the Masters 35-39 category, fourth for the Cat 1s. Van Gilder finished second for the women.

Emmaus Run Inn Pub Run: Join the running group from the Emmaus Run Inn to take part in a pub run 7-9 p.m. today. This month's run feature Mizuno running gear and Funk Brewery. Contact the shop at 610-966-9939 for more details.

Train with Aardvark: Aardvark Sport Shop running store in Bethlehem is forming a training group to help people prepare for the Runner's World Half marathon on Oct. 17 in Bethlehem.

The group, called Team Vark, will meet Saturday mornings for a long run beginning June 28. Speakers, training guidance and some running swag will be available during some of the training runs.

Limited runner space is available for the free training group. Email teamvark1@gmail.com to express interest or for more information.

Women's race at the Tour de France: They're calling it the inaugural La Course by Tour de France, but the women's 13-lap, 90-kilometer race on the final stage of the Tour de France before the men come barreling through marks the first inclusion of women in the Tour.

The July 27 end-stage women's race will be broadcast on Universal Sports network at a time to be announced. This year's first-time event will feature 100 women from 20 teams, including Dutch star, Olympic and world champion Marianne Vos, as well as England's Lizzie Armistead and Sweden's Emma Johansson.

Keeping with the women's race theme, policewomen from the Paris Police Prefecture will be watching the course, and the event will be officiated by a 100 percent female jury. The podium finishers will be greeted by podium boys instead of the traditional podium girls.

gary.blockus@mcall.com

Twitter@gblockus

610-820-6782

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