Marathon Canoe Racing is an exciting canoeing competition with a world-wide following. It’s a true endurance sport for all ages, and long-distance racing at its bext, with races from 10 kilometres all the way up to ultra marathons, using various types of water, and can include portages (carrying the craft for a short distance). In Marathon, Australia has some of the most highly-qualified and successful Marathon paddlers in the world, including several World Champions!
Marathon races can be on flatwater – lakes or esturies, or on rivers, the ocean, and even whitewater. There are optional or compulsory portages, or both, usually over about 100 to 500 metres, although sometimes up to a kilometre. Competitors often carry water or a suitable hydration fluid to drink during the race, which can be up to 6 or 7 hours, but usually about 1 to 4 hours.
The types of craft used in Marathon events are slim and fast, generally like the craft used in Sprint Racing. The fastest boats are international class K1 and K2 (kayak single and kayak double), and C1 and C2 (Canadian single and double). In Australia, there’s also the ‘Touring’ K1 and K2 classes and similarly ‘Touring’ C1 and C2. These are a little shorter and wider for extra stability, and a good entry point for the novice paddler. The growing popularity of the sturdy (but slower) ‘plastic’ canoes and kayaks means there’s more classes and events being offered for these craft. Many competitors prefer S1 or S2 (surf ski )single or double), which have the advantaage of being suitable to climb right back on if you fall out. Where the course consists of more open water, you”l see both Dragon Boats (a big, twenty-person canoe) and the new and rapidly growing class of Outrigger Canoes – both the OC6 (6-person outrigger canoe) and the solitary OC1.
Canoeing WA runs a comprehensive range of Marathon Races each year, including the WA State Championships. There’s events suitable for paddlers fromt he beginner to the expert, and usually a ‘short course’ event for juniors, novices, and the casual or recreational participant.