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Amazing Race! River Cities Relay to Debut in NKY this Summer

There is a new event on the horizon that aims to link Northern Kentucky's River Cities of Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and Covington.

The River Cities Relay will take teams of four through some of the most scenic parts of these riverfront cities.

The race, presented by St. Elizabeth Healthcare, will start and end underneath the Purple People Bridge in Newport and will be capped off with a celebration of local food and drink, with live music by the Naked Karate Girls. A portion of net proceeds will benefit five local charities.

“We have designed the relay route to highlight the beauty of these communities,” said Gary Auffart, Fire Chief of the City of Fort Mitchell and Executive Director of the relay race. “Our primary goals are to promote both community vibrancy and health & wellness, while shining light on Northern Kentucky charities doing great work.”

“The River Cities Relay was created by the Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2016 as a unique way to bring the many different Northern Kentucky communities together, and to attract those in Cincinnati and other nearby areas to see what this region has to offer,” said Pamela Schmitt, Managing Director with RiverPoint Capital Management and Executive Committee member for the race.  

The charitable recipients selected for the inaugural year of this event are Be Concerned, Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky, Redwood, Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky, The Brighton Center, and The Parish Kitchen, all of which were part of the LNK class programming this year.

The 15-mile course, which starts at 6 p.m., has been designed to roughly follow the path of the proposed Riverfront Commons, an uninterrupted 11-mile walkway, bikeway, and pathway along the Ohio River that will connect all six River Cities in Kenton and Campbell County (including Ludlow and Ft. Thomas) when it is finished.

“This journey will embrace regionalism and let participants experience the coveted view of the Cincinnati skyline that can only be found in Kentucky,” Schmitt said.

The relay will have three different registration categories: a four-person relay, which costs $170,; a two-person relay, which costs $110; and individuals, which cost $70.

“The Leadership NKY Class was dedicated to selecting a project that will impact the region for years to come,” said Jon Salisbury, Chief Technology Officer of Nexigen and race executive committee member. “Northern Kentucky deserves a big race like this to attract new visitors who will have the chance to witness the growth and vibrancy of the river cities. The scenic route, unique night experience, and charitable benefit is a win for everyone involved.”

The race is being professionally managed by Shawn Verhoff and John Cappella, race directors for the Flying Pig Marathon, and has been endorsed by the Flying Pig Marathon with its “Squeal of Approval.”

The River Cities Relay is currently looking for runners and sponsors for the event. For more information visit

-Staff report