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A canoe marathon is a paddling competition in which athletes paddle over a long distance to the finish line. Although the International Canoe Federation states that kayak marathon standard distances are up to 30km, many are significantly longer. Many events are raced down sections of river, including currents or portages around obstacles. Some events attract thousands of competitors and are staged over several days.
Racers are generally divided into five main classes, though they can be split into further sub-classes:
K refers to the boat being a kayak, and C a canoe. The number refers to the number of paddlers in the boat. Though K4 has been included on this list, they are very infrequently raced at the marathon discipline.
- The MR340 is an annual 340 miles (550 km) continuous race on the Missouri River from Kansas City to St. Charles, Missouri. Participants have 88 hours to complete the race.
- Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon: A race over 125 miles (201 km) of canals and rivers from Devizes to Westminster, England which can either be completed "straight through" or over four days. The course includes portages around 77 locks. There are no rules about the boat specifications but most competitors use ICF kayaks.
- The Dusi Canoe Marathon in South Africa: a three-day race over 120 km. Classes include K1, K2, white water, touring kayak, and touring canoe.
- The Fish River Canoe Marathon: a two-day river race over (81 kilometres (50 mi)) in South Africa in ICF-style K1s and K2s. K3s are also run.
- The YMCA Massive Murray Paddle, 404 kilometres (251 mi) down the Murray River in Australia. Classes include ICF canoes and kayaks, as well as touring craft as defined in Australian Canoeing regulations, surf skis, outrigger canoes and recreational paddle-craft such as sea kayaks.
- The Hawkesbury Canoe Classic. 111km down the Hawkesbury River in NSW Australia from Windsor to Brooklyn. The event is run at night (under moonlight on some years). Classes include canoes, kayaks and skis, as well as limited dragon boats.
- The Texas Water Safari a race over 262 miles (422 km) from the interior Texas south to the Gulf of Mexico. It must be completed in 100 hours. Classes include:
- Solo: USCA C-1, unlimited (any human powered boat)
- Tandem: USCA aluminum, standard, USCA C-2, unlimited
- Up to six crew: unlimited. The record time of 30 hours was done in a six-man canoe.
- The Triple Crown of Canoe Racing: consists of the General Clinton Canoe Regatta, the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon, and the Classique international de canots de la Mauricie. Most crews are USCA C-2.
- The Adirondack Canoe Classic, also known as "The 90 Miler," is a three-day, 90-mile (140 km) canoe race from Old Forge to Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks of New York, United States. Classes range from C1 Stock to war canoes and traditional guide boats.
- La Ruta Maya: a four-day river race in Belize
- The Muskoka River X: a 24-hour race over 130 kilometres (81 mi) of lakes and rivers in Ontario, Canada. The course includes 20 portages. Paddlers must carry expedition gear such as shelters and emergency rations. Classes include canoe (single and tandem), kayak, and stand up paddle board.
- The Yukon River Quest: a 715 kilometres (444 mi) wilderness paddling race from Whitehorse to Dawson City in The Yukon, Canada. Classes include canoes and kayaks (single and tandem), and voyageur (six-person) canoes.
- The Yukon 1000: a biennial wilderness race over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of the Yukon River lasting 7–12 days. Classes include K1, K2, C1, C2 and voyageur canoes.
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