Mystic Community Celebrates River Herring at Annual Herring Run and Paddle

On Saturday, May 18th over 300 people will gather to celebrate the annual return of the herring at the 23rd annual Mystic Herring Run and Paddle—our 5k and paddle race. Each spring more than 600,000 herring swim from Boston Harbor to the Mystic Lakes and Horn Pond. The Herring Run and Paddle is the only local event raising awareness for this spectacular wildlife migration. Run, walk, paddle, bike or cheer—the celebration is for all!

The Herring Run and Paddle will take place at the Blessings of the Bay Boathouse in Somerville with the 5k route passing through Medford’s scenic Macdonald Park. Participants can run or walk the 5K and/or get on the water for the 3, 9, or 12-mile paddle, or even join the bike ride led by Bike to the Sea. There are some great prizes including swag from Patagonia, Orvis and REI, passes to the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium, as well as gift cards to the best local restaurants.

The event, which kicks off at 9am, serves to raise awareness of the returning herring to the river, promote stewardship of the watershed, and provide access to open space and recreation for residents. It is a day to highlight the beauty and recreational value of the Mystic River as well as the environmental challenges it faces.

Scanner Cheung, winner of the 2018 Herring Run and Paddle’s Iron Herring Award, said, “I think the Mystic River Herring Run & Paddle really brings together some of the best and most unique parts of Boston: the waterways and the tight-knit running community. Some of the biggest events here are the Head of the Charles and the Boston Marathon, but not many races can claim to combine the two...  I could tell this race was really a grass-roots event--sponsored by local companies (with great prizes!)--and dedicated to protecting the natural resources (like the Mystic River) that make exercising outside in Boston so great.”

“I had raced it a couple years earlier (2015) and remembered it being a fast, flat course,” said Beverly Atunes, winner of the Herring Run and Paddle women’s 5k race, “it is a really well-organized community event.”

Registration is open until Wednesday, May 15th and registration is only $25 per person. For more details about the event and local sponsors and to register online, head to