New Course Debuts at AuSable River Canoe Marathon

GRAYLING – With less than 72 hours from the start of the 69th annual AuSable River Canoe Marathon, racers took to the course Wednesday for the start of the three-day time trials period.

This year’s time trials feature a new twist as the original course has been flipped, benefiting canoers and spectators alike.

The new course calls for canoers to race upstream to the Old AuSable Fly Shop before turning around and finishing downstream.

“None of the paddlers have an idea of what to expect. Nobody’s paddled it before… So the times are really kind of up in the air,” marathon announcer Colin Hunter said. “We’ve had 25 years of times that we knew, you know, if somebody comes in with a sub-six minute sprint, we know that they’re going to be in the top 10. Now it’s kind of up in the air. We don’t really know what to expect. It’s pretty exciting.”

Time trials resume Thursday at 4 p.m.