The 57th Annual Marathon was on Sunday, May 18, 2014
Review: ITEMS FOUND AT 2014 MARATHON - Spiral notebook re: Ft. Atkinson Wisconsin, Kayak Paddle, Pair of Child's Bogg Boots, Yellow Dump Bag, Paddleboard tether, Black reading glasses. If any of these are yours, contact us via

The Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon, founded in 1958 by Ralph Frese, is the second oldest continual canoe race in the United States. The race is 18½ miles on the beautiful and historic Des Plaines River. There are numerous classes to accommodate people of all ages and levels, with a new 5.25-mile Minithon option. Everyone is welcome to participate. First time participants, repeat paddlers, and serious competitors can all enjoy the excitement, challenge, and camaraderie that this historic event provides.

Click here for a video preview.

The Event is Co-sponsored by the Des Plaines River Association,
the Cook County Forest Preserves and the Lake County Forest Preserves.

Welcome 2014!

WE WELCOME YOU to a preview of the 57th Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon, including this year the addition of the 5.25 mile Minithon, which ends at the same Finish Line where all the post-race activities will be happening. We do wish you abundant enjoyment and success with your preparation and participation in the May 18 Marathon!

- Al Pilgrim & Jack Snarr, Co-Chairmen

REGISTRATION will open March 1, 2014, and will be primarily by the internet-based system employed for multiple years now. Alternatively, beginning March 1, 2014, you may print and mail a paper registration form or leave a message on the Marathon Hotline to have paper information and application materials mailed to you. One partner can register up to four occupants of a craft, order t-shirts and make payment, although other paddlers or passengers must signify agreement to the waiver via an automated email process. Registration of greater than four participants per craft must be done by using a paper form.

5.25-MILE MINITHON OPTION New this year is an option enabling participants the opportunity to paddle a shorter distance, with this option starting at Potawatomi Woods in Wheeling. Cars may be parked in the adjoining lot. A map and further detail on parking and post-race-only shuttle service will be included in the information emailed to you following registration. Note that the previous 9 mile take-out at Rivershire Park will no longer be supported by a shuttle bus.

CLASS SPECIFICATIONS will include a single STAND UP PADDLEBOARD CLASS for men and women, enabling SUP participants to compete for awards and recognition as with canoe and kayak classes. SUPs may be of any length, but must be paddled in a standing position with a single blade paddle.

MEDAL CLASSES will be identified at the close of pre-registration on May 10, one week before the Marathon, as those classes with five or fewer craft pre-registered. Medal class craft will be tracked and timed identically to other larger, more competitive classes, but first place finishers for this year will be recognized with a gold medal rather than the customary Voyageur trophy. Pre-registrants in Medal Classes will be so notified by the registrar when this becomes evident at the close of pre-registration on May 10, and may, if they wish, switch to another class at the registration desk on race day. The addition on race day of craft to a Medal Class will not alter the Medal Class status for this year. Medal or Trophy Classes will be determined each year based on the pre-registration numbers for the class (five or less, or more than five).

If you anticipate including PASSENGERS in your boat, beyond two full registrants, their fee will be only $5.00 each. We hope thereby to encourage participation by young family members. Craft with greater than two occupants will automatically be assigned to the No Contest Class. Dogs ride free, but may not paddle.

BOAT NUMBERS must be picked up and applied to your craft at the Start of the Marathon or Minithon, per follow-up email instructions announcing your Start time and providing additional procedural details.

YOUR DAM BUSINESS We were recently notified that work has begun on the removal of Dam #1 in Wheeling, which will be followed by removal of Dam #2 just below the Finish Line. Both removal projects will be completed by mid-April. We appreciate how you will miss portaging Dam #1. Worse yet, with Dam #2 gone, don't forget to stop and take out anyway after crossing the Finish Line! Further information on the Forest Preserves of Cook County's other Dam Removal Plans may be examined by clicking here. You should also be pleased to learn that the Hollister and Daniel Wright Woods low rise dams near Route 60 will be removed by Lake County this summer.

R.A.C.E.S. SUPPORT In recent years many participants have opted to contribute to the Upper Des Plaines River Ecosystem Partnership, the Illinois Paddlers' Patrol, Openlands and the Water TrailKeepers, organizations devoted to extending the environmental and recreational potential of the Des Plaines and other Illinois rivers. This year the Marathon organizers have identified the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service of Lake County as the organization for which we encourage your financial support by adding an optional amount to your registration fee. For nearly 40 years RACES has provided with boat-spotting, emergency assistance, monitoring of weather phenomena and radio communication. Both the SignMeUp web registration and the paper registration will facilitate your contribution to this cause! For further information on R.A.C.E.S. click here!

TWO GRAND MASTER AWARDS will again be given in recognition of continued strong showing relative to peers of all ages in a class. One will go to that solo paddler whose percentile finish in his or her class is highest among all solo competitors over 70 years of age on race day. The second will go to that tandem paddler whose percentile finish is highest among C2 or K2 paddlers over 70, regardless of who his or her partner may be. For 2013 the winners were: Solo – Don Browning from Crete, IL, and Tandem – Pat Faul from Lake Geneva, IL. Having now received this recognition in 2013, they will be removed from 2014 consideration.

AGAIN WE ENCOURAGE YOU to partake of the opportunities at the Finish Area to wind down after completing the race, pick up your patch and t-shirts, enjoy the quality food and music and view special exhibits and the award presentations.


Sponsored by: Des Plaines River Association | Lake County Forest Preserves | Cook County Forest Preserve District
Sanctioned by: Illinois Paddling Council | The United States Canoe Association
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