Preparing For The AuSable River Canoe Marathon

GRAYLING – On Saturday July 27, 92 teams will be storming the river in Grayling for the AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

The Marathon is a 120 mile race from Grayling to Oscoda, where paddlers start on land racing from town and then have to race overnight and portage over hydroelectric dams along the way.

It’s the 72nd year for the race and it’s already breaking records.

“We have a record number of women which is outstanding, we have a record number from Texas and Minnesota like you said, but I think more and more it’s just about the word getting out,” said Phil Weiler, the media spokesperson for the Marathon. “This marathon has to be part of a paddler’s bucket list. In the paddling world, if you haven’t done the overnight race in Michigan, it’s incomplete.”

There’s an immense amount of training that goes into being a paddler in this race. You have to be prepared from an athletic standpoint to make it the whole race. You also have to have a good feel for the river. You have to have good communication with your feeders who help you with food, clothes, and repairs throughout the race as well.

“I think anywhere from 150 to 200 [hours], but what really is happening is cross country training, weight lifting, all the cardio, so they’re doing everything,” said Weiler. “It’s not just the running and getting into the boat, they’re doing everything they can to increase their cardio. The biggest thing they want to do is be able to handle their heart rate, the adrenaline when they get in here and then just continue on throughout the night, at pace that when the sun comes up they feel good and they can kick it and go.”

The time trials for the race begin on Wednesday, August 24 and go through Friday.

The actual race begins on Saturday.