A kayaker explores the Snake River Canyon Tuesday, April 23, near Centennial Waterfront Park in Twin Falls.

Bring your shoes. Bring your bike. And bring your ... kayak?

That’s right. The Fourth Annual River Dash Kayathlon is coming to Twin Falls and promises to not be your garden-variety triathlon. Swimming is not a segment in this race — unless you fall into the river, of course.

The race is the brainchild of Trever Turpin, an Idaho native with a passion for the outdoors and this funky race. The kayathlon is a run/pedal/paddle format race unlike the swim/pedal/run format race of traditional triathlons, yet still provides a solid challenge. Not a big swimmer, Turpin thought adding a kayak or canoe made sense and gave the race a unique twist.

“I thought of the idea about 10 years ago,” Turpin said. “We used to ride mountain bikes in the Kelly Canyon area outside Idaho Falls on a trail that led down to the river and I thought, ‘a cool idea would be to run a race that would include a kayak or boat instead of a swim’.”

The term kayathlon is foreign to most Americans, but well known to Europeans.

“In the U.S. there are similar events like this but not named kayathlon,” Turpin said. “The name kayathlon is big in Europe, big as tris. The spelling of our race is the same as the way the foreigners spell it over there.”

But putting on a race of any kind is difficult. Turpin launched his initial idea and started planning a kayathlon about five or six years ago. With friends in the running and ski communities, Turpin organized the first Twin Falls edition four years ago with their help. He also partnered with United Way and promoted the race as a fundraising event.

Unfortunately, he parted ways with them two years ago, but quickly found a new group to help. The Magic Valley Composite High School Mountain Bike Team and Turpin became fast allies, and the bicycle team picked up where United Way left off.

“I wanted to create a nice event for everyone,” Turpin said. “They provide volunteer support and hopefully we can try and raise money and give back to the team through the race.”

Fifty or more athletes participated in the race the inaugural year. Turpin said the numbers fell slightly in the event’s second and third year, but saw a spike going into its fourth year.

“The past two years, about 30 participants raced, but the race was held on days other events were happening, conflicting with ours,” Turpin said.

Numbers are showing promise for 2019, Turpin said.

“Nine people signed up immediately after registration opened,” Turpin said.

Turpin plans on donating part of the proceeds to the Magic Valley Composite High School Mountain Bike Team at the end of race day for their time volunteering.

The River Dash Kayathlon will be held Saturday, May 18, at Centennial Waterfront Park in Twin Falls.

For more information about the race and to register to participate visit riverdashkayathlon.com.

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