From the President’s Desk – Special Edition: The La Ruta Maya River Challenge 2020

UB Black Jaguars Places 1st in the Intramural Category

2020 La Ruta Maya River Challenge

The Annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is the longest canoe race in Central America. Following the very same trading and commerce route as the ancient Mayas, the race begins at the Hawkesworth Bridge in San Igancio and ends at the river mouth of the Belize City harbour, with stops at Banana Bank, Double Head Cabbage and Burrell Boom.

This year, the race, which has evolved into an international event and has excited Belizeans alike since its inception in 1998, was held between March 6th – 9th. As customary, the University of Belize’s Black Jaguar Paddlers participated in this year’s race, where Anselmo Rash, Jeans Ba, and Pablo Manzanero, along with their coach, Mr. Claude Jones, placed FIRST in their category and 14th overall. Last year, our paddlers placed second. The entire journey spans approximately 180 miles, demanding superb physical aptitude, team work, tireless effort, resilience and determination.

The Office of Students Affair also championed our paddlers as they took a bus filled with students. These students camped out at the various stops as they followed the race from San Ignacio to Belize City and cheered and encouraged and supported the team.

The President of UB – Professor Clement Sankat, the Vice President of UB – Dr. Mariot Simon join UB’s Senior Management, the Faculty and Staff, students and the entire UB community in congratulating Anselmo, Jeans and Pablo on their merited triumph at this year’s 2020 La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge.

The President would also like to especially acknowledge Anselmo as this is his final year as a UB student and his last year representing the University in the race. “Anselmo, yours and your team’s accomplishment is as always impressive. You have represented the University exceedingly well and have made us all very proud. We wish you all the best and may today’s success be the foundation of tomorrow’s achievements.”

The University of Belize would also like to thanks Koop Sheet Metal and all our sponsors. Our participation would not have been successful without your generous support. Our Black Jaguar Paddlers deeply appreciate the willingness with which you have and continue to champion their efforts in not only participating in this competitive event, but also in allowing in the opportunity to be a part of a river tournament that contributes to Belize’s uniqueness in the world of sport.



San Ignacio’s Hawksworth Bridge

Beginning at 7:00 a.m. on March 6th, 2020, our three paddlers, Anselmo, Jeans and Pablo, who after months of grueling training and muscle cramps, were ready to face a four-day river challenge. The President of UB, faculty & staff and UB fans were present to cheer and encourage.

Banana Bank

Our Black Jaguars arrived at the Banana Bank’s finish line with a total time of 5hrs 53min and 14seconds.

Henderson Bank in Burrell Boom

On their arrival, the UB fan bus was already present chanting and cheering for the UB Black Jaguars. However, it was still positive news as we were still leading the intramural category and doing tremendously well overall. The UB Black Jaguars’ total paddling time spent for the leg was 6hrs 12min and 40seconds.

Bermudian Landing

As known, La Ruta Maya River Challenge is one of the world’s toughest and most historic river races. The fun and excitement keep attracting both local and foreign paddlers to participate in the 170-mile race. UB students came together from the three campuses countrywide to show their support to the paddlers representing the institution. Students who signed up for the trip had the chance to follow the race, watch it live, cheer for the UB Black Jaguars as a way of encouragement at each river bank and experience student life as a university student. The students and staff camped at Nature resort, Bermudian Landing.

Nature Resort is located in the Community Baboon Sanctuary along the historical Belize River Valley. At this resort, students were visited by nature – the black howler monkeys as well as many birds as parrots, seed eaters, jays, and kiskadees. The students also had the opportunity to form new friendships and learn more about Belize’s culture and wildlife preservation.

Belize City

Finally, the race that started three days prior was about to end and the paddlers were ready to give their all and remain on top. The UB Fan crew cheered the Black Jaguars till the very end as they followed the race by road. With excitement and joy, the UB Black Jaguars crossed the finish line with a total race time of 2hrs 48minutes for this final leg and an overall total race time of 20hrs 5min 11secs which placed them 14th overall and still 1st in their category. The UB Black Jaguars defeated the Maya Mopan Indian Chiefs who had a total race time of 22hrs 9 min 36 secs and Galen Eagles, 23hrs 31min 40 Seconds.

The UB Black Jaguar Paddlers, Anselmo Rash, Jeans Ba, and Pablo Manzanero received three laptops as prizes for school purposes as their winning price. They also won other cash prizes for being the first to arrive at the river banks in their category.

The UB Family congratulates our Black Jaguars for their exceptional performance, their prior training, endurance and determination in the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge this past weekend. We are indeed proud of our Team and its coach, Mr. Claude Jones and all of his supporting crew. Well done!


UB Marketing & Communications Team

Mr. Oladipupo Ogunjobi, Ms. Santree Sandiford, and Mrs. Zayri Cocom