LYONS — World Famous Riley McLincha exited Lock E 27 on the Erie Canal and approached the dock in Lyons. His Garmin Forerunner 205 beeped and signaled that he had just completed six more miles of his “Runyak Expedition.” What is the expedition or goal? Riley is “Runyaking” from the source of the Flint River: Oxford, Mich., to the Statue of Liberty in a 9.5-foot kayak.
Riley is attempting his goal over a period of several years and several “Runyaking” weeks or segments. Oct. 27 was day 13 of a 14 day trip. It is the final trip for the year. How does a person “Runyak”? Early in the morning, Riley drives his auto to an anticipated docking area, usually approximately 10 miles away. He parks and then runs back to the point where he has docked his kayak. He then kayaks to his parked car, and prepares for the same adventure the following day — running and kayaking. So far, Riley has “Runyaked” over 1,650 miles, spent 70 days “Runyaking”, and is completing the fifth year of his expedition.
“The most difficult part of my journey thus far was getting past Lake Erie- not on the water, but trying to land on the bluffs and running against the gale force wind,” Riley said. “The terrain close to the lake is very treacherous”
Riley travels alone although he says that he faithfully phones his wife when he is about to enter the water and as soon as he exits the water.
On the evening of Oct 26, Riley slept in Newark near the “Welcome and Interpretation” Center. Early the next morning, Riley drove his auto from Newark to Lyons, approximately six miles. He then ran back to Newark only to return to Lyons in his kayak. With winds blustering and temperatures hovering in the high 40s, he kayaked the Erie Canal through Lock 28B, Lock 28A, and Lock E 27, and arrived at the Lyons Dock. There he was welcomed to the Lyons Fire Department and usage of free showers and restrooms. He was also treated to a chicken barbecue dinner.
So who is this “Runyaker”? Riley is a very young 62-year-old retired General Motors Engineer. He is a musician, runner, and kayaker. He is an adventurer and a risk taker. Perhaps you have seen him on Television — he has appeared on The Today Show and Live with Regis and Kelly. He has appeared in the Guinness Book of Records. He is known as The Wizard of Clio and the King of Drubbling (dribbling three basketballs simultaneously). He has “drubbled” many distance races including the Boston Marathon.
To follow Riley and learn about his experiences as a kayaker, visit To see Riley as a “Dubbler” visit What is a Drubbler.