NOT THE DES PLAINES MARATHON – BUT ULTRAMARATHONS
If the 18.5 miles of the Des Plaines Marathon (May 22 this year) are not long enough for you – participate in one of these events to test your stamina – or at least, be astonished that some paddlers can do this.
Friday, April 22 – to Sunday, April 24 – CAMPUS TO COAST – www.msuoc.org/c2c/
Starting in Wonch Park, Okemos, MI and ending in Grand Haven on the edge of Lake Michigan. Campus to Coast (C2C160) is a paddle sport adventure race put on by the Michigan State University Outdoors Club. The race starts on MSU’s campus at the Rock (central part of campus), following the Red Cedar River into the Grand River and out through Grand Haven, finishing at Grand Haven State Park. The race is approximately 160 miles, with estimations of the fastest times being anywhere from 26-40 hours, depending on the river conditions, and 57 hours being the cut-off time. This race also contains 7 portages, along with one section where racers must “canoe line” a small section of fall over dams. This race can only be competed in using kayaks, canoes, or a vessel that is strictly “man powered.” Participants are from all over the U.S., as well as other BIG 10 Universities.
Saturday, June 11 – Texas Water Safari – http://www.texaswatersafari.org/
Described as the World’s Toughest Canoe Race – The Safari is an annual race via the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers, from Aquarena Springs in the college town of San Marcos, to the shrimping village of Seadrift on the Texas coastline, a total distance of 260 miles. The first official race was held in 1963, and is run annually on the second Saturday of June. It actually has a series of events – so be sure to check the calendar page for more details http://www.texaswatersafari.org/calendar/
Wednesday, June 29 – to Sunday, July 3 – Yukon River Quest – http://www.yukonriverquest.com/
Described as the “Race to the Midnight Sun,” this 444-mile wilderness adventure paddling race is held on the Yukon River, from Whitehorse to Dawson City, in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Held during the last week of June, the YRQ is the world’s longest annual canoe and kayak race. Paddlers race round-the-clock under a sky that never gets dark. There are just two mandatory rest stops – totaling 10 hours – over the course of the entire event. The Yukon River Quest draws participants from all over the world. In 2015, 57 teams from 12 countries started the race and 44 teams finished.
Saturday, July 30 – AuSable River Canoe Marathon – www.ausablecanoemarathon.org/
This is a non-stop canoe race that starts at night with a thrilling running-start to the river in Grayling, MI, and ends 120 miles later near the shores of Lake Huron in Oscoda, MI. Contestants must navigate the narrow, winding upper stretch in total darkness, as well as stump-filled ponds and the blazing July sun in the lower stretch. This race is not a recreational canoe float, but a professional, ultra-competitive race with the very best professional paddlers from around North and Central America. Before planning to participate, check the website for more details – this is not for beginners.
From one participant:
Throughout my life I have been a waterman. I have snorkeled, done scuba diving, fishing, rec. canoeing, surfing. When I started training for racing I had finally found a way that I could tie my love for the water in with mastering an artful craft. A race canoe is something that you can master. There is so much technique and skill involved you can always be improving. The AuSable Marathon is the ultimate proving ground for your hard work and dedication. You don’t have to be a top ten paddler to be a master of your boat. By L.j. Bourgeois
For more AuSable Marathon pics, info, and videos:
Check each website for more information, pictures, and if you know of any other North American long distance paddling races, let us know and we’ll add them to the list.