Marathon Racing is truly a sport for all. It is open to paddlers of all ages and abilities – to novices of any age; to paddlers with disabilities that may preclude them from other sports; and to supremely fit international athletes. Importantly, it is open to you, whatever your age, ability or fitness.
Races are held throughout the year on rivers, lakes, canals and estuaries over a wide range of distances and in a wide range of craft from sleek racing kayaks to touring canoes. So if you are looking for endurance sport to test yourself over marathon distances or simply looking for a pleasant experience racing over much shorter distances, then Marathon Racing has something for you.
All clubs will give you a warm welcome and most can give you guidance on the boat most suited to your ability and provide equipment and coaching. With help and encouragement from club colleagues you will quickly find that you will be tackling your first race.
At most races paddlers are ranked by ability so you will be racing against others of similar ability to your own. As you improve and get faster you will rise in the rankings and if your aim is to get to international status then within many clubs and in most regions there are coaches who can help you progress in the sport to achieve your goals.
The Marathon Racing Committee organises the National Championships, the Hasler Trophy Series and the Lightning Series on behalf of the BCU. It is also is responsible for selecting and administering teams representing Great Britain at international events.
There is a wide range of other races which take place throughout the year. The Devizes to Westminster and the Cheshire Ring, at 125 and 95 miles respectively, are amongst the longest races. The Frank Luzmore K2, the Waterside and Thamesside Series are between 13 and 34 miles and attract large entries despite being held in January, February and March. These together with local and regional races and descent races, held down stream on faster moving water, mean that there are races suitable for all abilities and ages throughout most of the year. It will be a gateway to a sport that you will be able to enjoy for years to come and bring with it some lasting friendships for you and your family.
You can find out additional information on the Marathon Racing website which has a comprehensive list of canoe clubs, or from the Sprint and Marathon Racing Handbook, which can be obtained via the BCU E-Shop or by sending a cheque for £6 (made payable to BCU Racing Committee) to Diane Bates, Secretary to the Marathon Racing Committee, 11 Cranley Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 5BX