Treston Sisters Tackle AuSable River Canoe Marathon

GRAYLING – As the start of the 69th AuSable River Canoe Marathon inches closer, one team is looking to set itself apart in North America’s longest canoe race.

One of only four all-female teams competing, Katie and Kristi Treston will take to the AuSable River this weekend for the second time.

Originally from downstate Pinckney, the Trestons have since relocated and now call northern Michigan home, with Kristi living in Grayling and Katie in Traverse City.

The Trestons are no strangers to northern Michigan, though, having spent summers in Grayling, cheering on marathon competitors.

“We’d throw a tarp down like that morning at about 7 a.m.,” Kristi Treston said. “We’d all go and we’d make our own team shirts, we didn’t even follow a boat at the time.”

Former volleyball athletes at Clarion (Pa.) University, the Trestons have continued to challenge themselves athletically, running in the Detroit Free Press and Boston marathons.

Despite their growing resume of marathons completed, Katie and Kristi Treston had yet to meet a challenge quite like the 120-mile AuSable Rive Canoe Marathon.

Competing as rookies last year, the Trestons came home in 67th place out of 84 teams, finishing in 18:24:34.

“The most challenging part was knowing what the night was going to entail, because we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into,” Kristi Treston said.

A nursing student at Western Michigan, Kristi says few had confidence in the sisters finishing last year’s race.

"People were like, ‘We’ll see if you get to Oscoda,’” she said. “People just…counted us out pretty much, and so I think that’s what fueled us last year to get to the finish line."

Ignoring critics, the Trestons are proving they can compete with the best.

“Being an all-female team is great and I love being part of it, but for me, I never want to use that fact that I’m a female as an excuse to not do anything,” Katie Treston said. “When I run, my goal is to always finish as men’s times that are around my same age. I want to prove that I’m as good as any guy out there. So, I will prove that, yes I might not have biceps as big but my mental game is there and is strong and I will work just as hard, if not harder, and I will find a way to get to the finish line. It might not be as fast as you but I’ll find a way to get there and I will work definitely as hard.”

The Trestons will set off for their time trials Thursday at 5:20 p.m.