Canalway Challenge Racks Up Big Miles

300,000 miles! That’s the distance you’d travel if you drove from New York City to Los Angeles 107 times. That’s how far you’d go if you flew from Paris to Shanghai 52 times, or rocketed to the moon and halfway back. That’s how many miles people have pledged to walk, run, cycle, and paddle for the Canalway Challenge in 2019!

Congressman Paul Tonko recently joined staff from Parks & Trails New York, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Capital Region participants to celebrate this significant milestone in a reception in Waterford, New York. Since launching in May, 591 individuals, 229 families/groups, 29 organizations, and over 600 Cycle the Erie Canal participants have been tracing history while tracking miles along the NYS Canal System and Canalway Trail. 70 people are doing two or more challenges. Participants hail from 24 US states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.


Personalized challenge names give a glimpse of the motivation and the fun behind what’s happening on the trail and waterway: Get Off The Couch; Healthy Happy Life; Kayaking through History; No More Strokes; One mile at a time; Checking Off the Bucket List; It’s all about the stickers.

John Robinson of Our Ability, Inc. received special recognition at the Waterford reception for helping to make the Canalway Challenge more inclusive. Robinson invited people with disabilities and their families and friends to participate in a 1st Mile Challenge as he hand-cycled all 360 miles from Buffalo to Albany in July. Hundreds turned out along the journey to join him.

Tune into the Canalway Challenge Facebook group or #CanalwayChallenge on Instagram and you’ll see where people have been, where they’re headed, and what they have discovered along the way. Some have lived here for years, but never explored the canals before. Others are going beyond their usual stretch of trail to see what other parts of the Canalway Corridor offer. Some had never walked a mile before.


There’s still lots of time to get in on the Canalway Challenge for 2019!
Late summer and fall are excellent times to be on the water and trail, with cooler temperatures and changing colors. Set your goal of 15, 90, 180, or 360 miles and let’s get to the moon and all the way back!

Sign up at:

The Canalway Challenge is funded in part by a grant from Market New York through I LOVE NY, New York State’s Division of Tourism, as part of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Additional sponsorship is provided by the New York State Canal Corporation.

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