By Don Muggenborg

(There was at least one inflatable that started – got to Dam # 1.)


For results go to canoemarathon.com


Just a few comments about the 2017 race.


From the look on the faces of the paddlers at the finish line, they were happy and often tired – people enjoyed the race as always.  Having paddled the race for over 40 years, this was as much fun as any year (well, maybe it was more fun the year I beat Ed)


Good weather, good water, and good fellowship with other paddlers – what more could you ask for?


Well, we could have had less wind and more water in the Dam # 1 area


A couple comments from some of the racers:


Hi Don,


My family loves the Minithon option! We get a taste of the race excitement but it’s short enough that everyone crosses the finish line with cheers instead of tears. Calvin (4 years old) is a seasoned veteran and proudly shows off his 3 marathon patches.  Susan (10 months old) completed her first race with smiles and squeals of joy the whole way.  It’s such a great way for my husband and me to share our love of canoeing and the outdoors with our kids.  We’re already looking forward to next year’s race!

Thank you for everything you do to keep this race going year after year!

-Christy Dahl




The Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon was fun.  I like being in the competition in the outdoors on the river.  At the end of the race it is the best because they have food, drinks, chips and a board that tells you your race time.  It was fun to meet people and see all the different boats.  




Great race as always Don!

I think this was my 6th time but first time on a SUP. A first for my 18 year old daughter, Stephanie, though she has done the race several times too, this was the first time under her own power! It’s a long way and long time to be standing on a SUP, but we did it!


The river tried to toss me two or three times when my skeg caught a submerged log! But I managed to stay on board.


It’s a different and very fun experience on a SUP, standing gives you a better perspective on the scenery. But you do have to duck more often!


We never stopped to take a break! But we were still slow, just enjoying the event and spending time with my daughter.


Thanks again for all your hard work and the other volunteers.




(I remember Stephanie as a 9 year old paddling the whole race in a kayak with her dad paddling next to her – ed note)



As far as I know, the only problem was that a paddle was lost – if anyone knows where it might have gone, let us know, please.


The food at the finish line was excellent and the band added to the fun at the finish.


About 900 people paddled or worked the marathon – numbers are going up.  If you missed this year – join us for even more fun in 2018.


Over the years some things have changed, but much has not changed.


SUP –  16 Men and 6 Women stood up and paddled the whole course.  Way to go – I would have to sit down somewhere along the line if I tried it.


Recreational Kayaks – 52 women and 85 men signed up for the recreational class – add sea kayaks, K2’s, and kayaks paddled in the Open Class and the No Contest and Minithon –  probably the most kayaks ever in the race – a lot of people fanning the air with every stroke.


Maybe that is why we had the wind.  By the time the last boats finished, it was a force to be reckoned with.  (blame the kayaks for stirring up the air.)


Eimantas and Arunas Dabauskas set the pace with a time of 2 hours, 11 miniutes in a K-2 for the fastest time of the day.  Kiril Floriv was the fastest 1 person boat at 2:21.  They hardly got their money’s worth.  Good job guys, I admire your ability.


Without a head wind perhaps they could have broken the 2 hour barrier.  And Kiril has a new challenge.


The river was free of dams for the first time in over 100 years – some fast water where Ryerson dam had been (fun) and slow water above where Dam # 1 (not fun)  was but no scrapping bottom at Hollister or portaging.  I kinda missed looking for the chute at Hollister, but not much.


Paddler in boat # 60 was 60 years old.  Paddlers in boat #  46 were doing their 46th marathon.


Ages of paddlers ranged from 1 year old (well, she really did not paddle) – some 7 year olds may have helped their folks – to my friend Ed at 83 (and he beat me in age too!)


Paddlers came from as far away as New York, Arizona, and Kentucky as well as all our neighboring Midwestern states.


It would be nice to see more juniors paddling – that is one change not for the better.  Women competition paddlers are also missing.  Of course, the women may be paddling kayaks.


We could use a few more volunteers at the start and at the finish line.  Consider paddling and working as a volunteer before or after the race.  Pay isn’t much (t-shirt) but you will have our thanks.


We are also looking for any suggestions to make the race better, let us hear from you.


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