What changed in 2022?

In 2022, GAAR changed leadership and is now managed by the Ames Jaycees.

Are there restrictions or regulations on what kind of canoe/kayak, bike, or paddle I can use?

No, you may use any type of bike, paddle, canoe or kayak.

Do I have to wear a helmet while on my bike?

Yes, all participants on the bike portion of the race will be required to wear CPSC/ANSI approved helmets.

Do I have to wear a life jacket while I am in my boat?

Yes, all participants will be required to wear a US Coast Guard approved personal flotation device while on the lake.

How do the categories work?


Participants compete in the entire course.

Solo Masters participants are aged 50 and over.


Participants compete together over the entire course, paddling and/or biking tandem. The finish times of Adult – Tandem participants are averaged; Adult – Youth participants must race together. (Eligible youth are aged 12 and under.)


Participants compete in sections of the race as assigned by their team. Two, three and four – person Relay Teams will compete together as one category.

Can I rent a boat?

You are responsible for providing your own boat. Canoe and kayak rentals can be arranged IN ADVANCE with:

JAX Outdoor Gear, (515) 292-2276

Seven Oaks Recreation, (515) 432-9457

ISU Outdoor Recreation, (515) 294-8200 (for ISU students, staff, affiliates)

Be sure to tell them you are renting for the GAAR and work out arrangements for transport with them!

Where do the proceeds from this race go?

The GAAR is a joint, volunteer effort between members of the Ames Area Running Club, Ames Velo, Friends of Central Iowa Biking (2008-2017), and the Skunk River Paddlers. Proceeds have helped support the Lincoln Way Chapter of the American Red Cross, Food at First, the Friends of Ada Hayden Heritage Park, the Ames Emergency Residence Project, Friendship Ark Homes, the Story County Sheriff’s Dive Team, the Story County Amateur Radio Club the Gilbert Trail Project, the Ames Miracle League Field/Playground and WeCycle.

2019 proceeds went to Iowa Able, to Story County Conservation (for the HOINT), to the Let’s Connect Woodward to Perry Trail project and to the paddler’s Access Ada Hayden accessible dock and launch project.

How can I volunteer to help?

Many volunteers are needed for the GAAR. Please email volunteer@greatamesadventurerace.com and indicate how you or your group might like to help.