ST. Charles Canoe Club - explains "Marathon Canoe Racing"  

Marathon Canoe Racing - This is what we do!

Paddling is perhaps the most encompassing and attainable sport out there. Our races vary from 3 mile sprints down winding rivers to 3 1/2 hours of marathon racing which may include up and down stream routes with bouy turns and possible one or more portages at times. Paddling is a low impact sport similar to sports like swimming and cross country skiing. Although the races offer age groups the fastest times can come from any class on a given day. Participants can make paddling whatever they choose.

Paddling is a low impact exercise, with the possibilitys of being a highly aerobic sport. It is also a test of technique and knowledge. The ability to read water is a skill learned by time on the water in various weather conditions. All these factors are integral to enjoying and excelling at the sport. The fact that skill and knowledge are as important as muscle strength make this a sport where all ages and sexes can excel.

Marathon Canoe Racing - The Paddlers

The only thing we have in common is wanting to spend time on the water and share that passion with all we come in contact with. There are those of us so dedicated to the sport we will clear log jams and break through ice to get on the water.

You can choose to paddle only on the weekends or 10 hours a week. The beauty of our passion is that no matter where you live anyone can get to a lake or river where you can stretch out your arms and go.

Marathon Canoe Racing - The Paddles

             Often times the most important difference between recreational paddling and marathon paddling is the paddle. The bent shaft racing paddle is quite unique and requires a specific stroke method. This stroke, now called the modern canoe stroke, allows power to come from pushing down with the upper arm as well as pulling with the lower arm. The use of the large torso muscles allows you to travel further without fatigue and because the boat is maneuvered by switching sides rather than "J" stroking, no momentum is lost.

Marathon Canoe Racing - The Canoes

As mentioned above, the midwest has various racing classes based on hull length and design. Recreational classes are divided into true recreational canoes and modified varing length hulls. The racing canoes have specifications they must meet based on maximum length and minimum width. They can be made from wood, fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber. Choice of boat depends on expertise, proposed use and available resources. Before choosing your own boat it is important to paddle in several boats to find the one most comfortable for you and practical for the races you plan to do.

Where you purchase a boat depends on what class you plan to enter. We have many good manufacturers of recreational canoes, for example Old Town Canoes Inc., Mad River Canoes and Wenonah Canoes Inc.. Racing canoes are somewhat less available. The major manufacturers are Wenonah, Corbin and Savage River. For these boats talk to our members for more information. Marathon paddlers are not confined to the use of solo and tandem boats. Our stroke method is used to race larger boats such as Outriggers, Voyager, Dragon and possibly Olympic Hull boats.

Marathon Canoe Racing - The Clubs

Around the midwest there are various formal and informal groups of paddlers who meet to practice and enjoy each other's company. We ourselves have club member in many of the surrounding towns near and far from our river's home base of St. Charles. If you would like to find paddlers in your area don't hesitate to contact one of our club officers.

Marathon Canoe Racing - The Races

  Illinois hosts between 10 and 15 races per year. They are geographically spread over the entire state. If you check our schedule you can locate one close to you. Generally races offer a marathon class which will be a minimum distance of 10 miles and a recreational class which will vary from 3 to 20 miles also.

If you scan around the individual race pages your will find the courses vary from narrow winding rivers to open lakes. Some include portages. We marathoners tipically do not paddle white water in our race courses but currents and eddies will vary with water levels ( rainfall ) to an often interesting excitment usually in the spring,

This page is meant to supply as much information as possible to the best of our knowlege. Please be sure to verify all the activities you plan to attend because they change throughout the summer and we don't always get the updates in a timely fashion!  Feel free to contact us for more information or corections at web manager.