Seven Roscommon residents to paddle in Canoe Marathon
A total of 75 teams will take to the AuSable River this Saturday for the 66th AuSable River International Canoe Marathon and seven of those teams are Roscommon area residents.
Roscommon residents who are slated to race in the marathon include Tim Mc- Clure, Fred Mills, Austin Weiler, Daniel Medina, Brian Royce, Rodger Moak and Jeff Baerlocher.
The marathon will begin on July 27 at 9 p.m. with a LeMans-style sprint. The competitors have to carry their canoes for four blocks before entering the AuSable in downtown Grayling. Teams will navigate 120 miles of the AuSable until the finish in Oscoda.
“I would like to tell you the marathon is 60% mental and 40% physical, but you have to be in good shape,” Committee member Phil Weiler of Roscommon said.
Weiler said paddlers will race about eight hours a day and usually average about 60 to 70 strokes per minute.
He added that a majority of the teams have about 100 hours of training under their belts and that 20 to 30% of the field won’t finish due to time cuts, physical injuries or equipment failure.
Weiler said the key to teams keeping their spirits up during the race is the support they get from their “feeders,” those who are stationed to give them fluids and snacks and from the spectators.
Spectators then can follow their favorite teams throughout the night, however sometimes must find access to the river in total darkness.
This year’s first prize winner will be awarded $5,000 and cash prizes will be given to the first 40 teams to cross the finish line.
Last year’s winners were Andrew Triebold and Steven Lajoie, who have won the marathon six times together. Triebold and Lajoie finished with a time of 14:42:43.
For information on the marathon visit www.ausablecanoemarathon.org.