Au Sable River Canoe Marathon

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The Au Sable River International Canoe Marathon is an annual 120 mi (193 km) canoe race in Michigan from Grayling to Oscoda. It first ran in 1947, is perhaps the oldest marathon canoe race in the United States, and is the longest, non-stop, canoe-only race in North America. The race has been billed as "The World's Toughest Spectator Race" as many of the spectators follow the racers overnight down the full 120 miles (190 km) to the finish.[1]

Au Sable River Canoe Marathon by Mark Bialek

The race is always held the last full weekend in July during Grayling's annual Au Sable River Festival. To determine the order of the racers the night of the canoe marathon there is a sprint held to determine which of the teams is fastest or slowest. The sprint trials are held at Penrod's canoe livery. The trials are held the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before the race on Saturday. Each team will head downstream one quarter mile towards the east branch of the river. Once there you must complete a counter clockwise turn around a buoy. Then you must head back upstream to the starting point and the next team does not start until the team finishing reaches a point close to the start buoy. On average this can take from 2 minutes and 15 seconds to 5 minutes. The overall finish times range from about 5 minutes and 30 seconds to 13 minutes. While they are on their way back to the starting buoy they must maintain the amount of buoys on the left side of their canoe. Once all of the teams have finished the sprint trials they will be lined up in groups of five, from fastest to slowest, on the night of the marathon to make the four-block foot race.

The Marathon starts at 9pm in Grayling in a LeMans-style start where the competitors carry their canoes in a footrace four blocks through town to the Au Sable River entry point. Upon reaching the Au Sable River, they begin paddling non-stop throughout the night. In addition to paddling for 14–19 hours non-stop overnight, competitors must also make portages over six dams along the river race route.

The race relies on the efforts made by many volunteers.

The Triple Crown of Canoe Racing[edit]

The Au Sable River Canoe Marathon is one of the three marathon canoe races that make up the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing which recognizes the top performances by Marathon Canoe Racers who compete at all three of North America's most prestigious marathon canoe races:

  • General Clinton Canoe Regatta, staged Memorial Day on New York's Susquehanna River - a one-day, non-stop 70-mile (110 km) non-stop race from Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, to Bainbridge, New York.
  • Au Sable River Canoe Marathon, one of North America's toughest, richest canoe races, an overnight, non-stop 120-mile (190 km) race from Grayling to Oscoda on Northern Michigan's AuSable River during the last weekend of July.
  • La Classique International de Canots de La Maurice, staged Labor Day weekend on central Quebec's majestic St. Maurice River - a three-day, three-stage 120-mile (190 km) race from La Tuque to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

Winners[edit]

(Since 1980)

This is the finish of the 2005 AuSable River Canoe Marathon - the closest finish in the history of The Marathon. After nearly 15 hours, more than 50,000 paddle strokes and racing overnight 120 miles on the AuSable River from Grayling to Oscoda, Michigan -- Serge Corbin & Jeff Kolka edged Andy Triebold & Matt Rimer in a sprint to the Finish Line by 1 second, finishing in 14:56:11 (14 hours, 56 minutes, 11 seconds).
2011 Andrew Triebold, Grayling, MI / Steve Lajoie, Mirabel, Quebec 14:41:00
2010 Andrew Triebold, Spring Arbor, MI / Steve Lajoie, Mirabel, Quebec 14:17:29
2009 Andrew Triebold, Spring Arbor, MI / Steve Lajoie, Mirabel, Quebec 14:17:42
2008 Andrew Triebold, Spring Arbor, MI / Steve Lajoie, Mirabel, Quebec 14:09:06
2007 Andrew Triebold, Spring Arbor, MI / Matt Rimer, Grayling, MI 14:48:55
2006 Jim Harwood, Grayling / Allen Limberg, Wausau, WI 14:33:50
2005 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 14:56:11
2004 Andrew Triebold, Spring Arbor, MI / Steve Lajoie, Mirabel, Quebec 14:59:46
2003 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 14:55:03
2002 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 15:04:56
2001 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 15:06:48
2000 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 14:48:00
1999 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 14:08:18
1998 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 14:15:47
1997 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 14:19:36
1996 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Jeff Kolka, Grayling, MI 14:04:05
1995 Jim Harwood, Grayling / Patrick Lynch, Shawinigan-Sud Quebec 14:20:40
1994 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Solomon Carriere, Cumberland House, Saskatchewan Canada 13:58:08
1993 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Solomon Carriere, Cumberland House, Saskatchewan Canada 14:23:03
1992 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI 14:33:30
1991 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada/Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI 14:33:30
1990 Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada / Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI 14:43:35
1989 Al Rudquist, Grand Rapids MN / Randy Drake, Virginia Beach VA 14:38:18
1988 Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI / Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada 14:20:00
1987 Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI / Serge Corbin, Quebec Canada 14:34:32
1986 Butch Stockton, Higgins Lake, MI / Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI 14:30:38
1985 Butch Stockton, Higgins Lake, MI / Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI 14:35:53
1984 Butch Stockton, Higgins Lake, MI / Solomon Carriere, Cumberland House, Saskatchewan Canada 14:20:40
1983 Butch Stockton, Higgins Lake, MI / Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI 14:38:36
1982 Butch Stockton, Higgins Lake, MI / Brett Stockton, Grayling, MI 14:38:27
1981 John Baker, Grayling, MI / Ken Brown, St. Clair Shores, MI 14:29:01
1980 John Baker, Grayling, MI / Ron Williams, Smither, B.C. Canada 14:48:31

The race record for the current course is 13:58:08 set by Serge Corbin of Quebec and Solomon Carriere of Saskatchewan.

The record for most wins individually is 18 by Serge Corbin (1977 and 1979 w/ Claude Corbin; 1987–1988, 1990-1992 w/ Brett Stockton; 1994-1995 w/ Solomon Carriere; 1996–2003, 2005 w/ Jeff Kolka).

The record for most wins by a team is 9 by Serge Corbin and Jeff Kolka of Grayling (1996–2003 and 2005).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AuSable River Canoe Marathon official website". Retrieved March 22, 2012. 

External links[edit]