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Recreational and Competitive Canoe/Kayak/SUP Racing is Back

paddlers in boats across the river
Waiting to go; the start line (at the marathon, boats put in and drift about 1/2 block or so to the start line)

After layoffs of 4 years for the Mid-Am and 3 years for the marathon because of the unsafe water conditions and then that cursed virus – Illinois’s two biggest recreational and competitive races are back.

The Des Plaines River Canoe, Kayak, and SUP Marathon and minithon and the Mid-America Canoe Races were welcomed back by hundreds of paddlers most enjoying the experience again after the layoff and the camaraderie that comes when fellow paddlers gather together.

These races give the most competitive paddlers a chance to compete against each other and give less competitive paddlers a chance to test their skill and endurance and maybe beat their buddy or spouse or neighbor or someone, and if not still have fun.


Water and weather conditions were good and the course record of 2:03 for the 19 mile was challenged, but Joe Crnkovich (from Tennessee) just missed at 2:06:08 while Robert Hartman (Michigan) was only 19 seconds behind Joe. (Next year they should start them in the same heat.)

Changing of the guard so to speak. Kayaks outnumbered canoes with Mens Recreation Kayak being the largest class with 75 boats. Dick Pula (MN) won in 2:49. Women Recreation had 35 boats. (Linda Deith WI 3:06) Competition classes were down. The race that started as a boy scout event, junior class, was very low.

A couple other close races:
  • Mixed Competition:  Beth Schlueter/Dave Timmerman 32 seconds over Barb Brady/Al Limberg
  • C-1 Dave Kies over Ron Koenig by 34 seconds

There were 10 people who did the 19 miles standing up (SUP) while a few more did the short race. Bryan Block (Moline) won in 2:48. (Glitch and apology – the short race start times were not recorded so no times were available).

Although total number registered was a bit lower than pre-virus, there were paddlers from 8 states plus Germany and Australia.

Ages of the paddlers ranged from 7 years old to 6 people over 80. For results and more information, visit canoemarathon.com

Next year May 21, 2023.


At the finish line, there were so many happy faces. For many it was a chance to see old friends (in my case some really old). It was a festive atmosphere even though the number of entries was lower than usual, but was expected after such a long layoff.
The water was on the low side which made for some slower times, but the weather was good and people were excited.

The fastest time of the day was Jim Pechous, current chairman of the St Charles Canoe Club with a time of 1:34 for the 10 mile course.

Next year June 4, 2023


When tripping, we always carry some duck tape to repair a canoe or a shoe or whatever. During the Mid-Am race, a canoe hit a sharp rock and put a hole in the bottom. Two C-1 paddlers stopped to help. Solution – they removed the race numbers from their canoe and pasted them over the hole. The repair got them to the end of the race course. Good thinking and good Samaritans.

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