By Don Mueggenborg
One of the oldest and longest-running “races” in North America, and one of the largest, the Des Plaines River Marathon will be starting for the 60th year on May 21, 2017.
The “original” race course runs from Oak Spring Road in Libertyville to Dam # 2 Woods in Mt Prospect – just short of 20 miles if you paddle a straight line. There is a short “Minithon” that runs for about 5 miles and ends at the same place as the long course.
Some of the fastest and best paddlers in the Midwest race the course in pursuit of “Ralph,” the trophy shaped like a voyageur and nicknamed Ralph for Ralph Frese, founder or the Race. Watch them as they flash past you, admire their technique and fitness.
HOWEVER, with 22 classes, there is something for everyone. Some of the “average” paddlers will also come home with “Ralph.”
Most of us paddle:
- Because we like to paddle and share the camaraderie with 600 other paddlers on the river and at the start and finish line
- Because we want to beat our friend, neighbor, brother, or just anybody else
- Because we want to prove that we can do it
- Because it is a beautiful river with its tree-lined banks, and it is a good way to enjoy nature
- Because we want to show off our neat t-shirts and tell stories of our adventures
This year the course will be DAM FREE for the first time in over 100 years.
Go to the NEW WEBSITE – canoemarathon.com to learn more about the race and enter on-line (or copy a paper registration). (You can register at the start line on race day – either at the start of the long race or the minithon – but it will cost you more and you probably will not be able to get a tee-shirt)
SEE YOU ON THE RIVER OR AT THE FINISH LINE (eating one of those great sandwiches that our venders serve)