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Head of the Ohio Regatta set to hit the water

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Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 10:50 p.m.

Nearly 2,000 rowers will gather on the Allegheny River on Saturday for the 26th Head of the Ohio Regatta.

Racing begins at 8 a.m. and will last through 4:30 p.m., with participants ranging in age from 12 to 78.

The 2.6-mile course begins at Point State Park and the Fort Duquesne Bridge and races upstream to the 40th Street Bridge near Washington's Landing.

For some, this is the only race of the year they'll participate in. For many, however, the Head of the Ohio is part of a fall schedule that includes the prestigious Head of the Charles in Boston at the end of the month.

“There's probably a couple hundred people who row recreationally, but the majority are folks that row at least two, three, four times a week, if not more,” said Rick Brown, executive director of Three Rivers Rowing Association, which presents the race each year.

Brown said most of the nearly 500 boats entered come from Western Pennsylvania, including many area high school and college crews. They also have entrants from Ohio; Tennessee; eastern Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; New York; and Canada.

There are also categories for athletes with disabilities, including a race in the Legs, Trunk and Arms category for the first time at Head of the Ohio, which consistently ranks as one of the 10 largest fall races in the country.

Brown estimates probably 300 to 400 of the 2,000 entrants began rowing as early as this summer.

“When (Three Rivers Rowing) was just starting 25 or 30 years ago, people were just starting to think the rivers were clean enough to be on,” Brown said. “Now, really, the general view is that people aren't afraid to be out there. People are getting outside and enjoying that part of Pittsburgh.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7980 or

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