GRAYLING / OSCODA – The countdown has begun for the 75th Annual Consumers Energy AuSable River Canoe Marathon July 29-30.
More than 100 teams comprised of the world’s elite marathon racers – including teams from the United States, Australia, Germany, Canada and Belize, will compete in this year’s 120-mile race. It is one of the toughest, fastest-paced, most grueling, most competitive marathon canoe races on Earth, and is the middle leg of the prestigious Triple Crown of Canoe Racing.
Thousands of fans will line the streets and riverbanks for the thrilling LeMans-style start Saturday, July 29 at 9 p.m., Teams will sprint with their carbon fiber canoes through the streets of Grayling to the AuSable, where they will shove their canoes in the river and start the 120-mile trek toward Oscoda.
A crowd of hundreds with be “HUP all night”, following the teams via roadway through night, viewing their progress at designated sites along the course, including portages at the six Consumers Energy hydro dams.
Spectators can follow the race several ways, especially through GPS units on each canoe. There will be live social media coverage on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Regular race reports are carried on Black Diamond Broadcasting’s 98.5 UPS, and by more than the 20 radio stations comprising the AuSable River Marathon Radio Network.
In addition to a record number of teams overall, this year’s marathon will also feature a record number of female paddlers and mixed teams. Fans and race officials expect a competitive race as the field includes multiple former champions:
- Six former AuSable Canoe Marathon overall champs;
- 10 former mixed-teams; and
- Eight former women’s teams.Weiler said enthusiasm for the race has been fueled by the recent release of Episode 1 of ‘Au Sable,’ a three-part docu-series produced by Consumers Energy. It spotlights the story of the race and these incredible athletes in a way they’ve long deserved.”
Episode 1 of ‘AuSable’ can be viewed on the AuSable Marathon YouTube Channel and Facebook Page. Episode two will launch July 20 and episode three will follow in August.
“It’s always an exciting and busy time throughout the (region),” said Spokesperson Phil Weiler, a former marathon competitor himself. “With this being the 75th anniversary, it is extra special, and the anticipation is already at a fevered pitch.”
Rich Castle, Consumers Energy Community Affairs Manager for Northeast Michigan said, “Consumers Energy is excited to be the title sponsor for the … marathon. It’s our job to deliver hometown service and it’s our privilege to provide our time, talent, and resources to help support our northern Michigan customers.”
For additional information visit the marathon’s Facebook, YouTube or Instagram pages, of its website at AuSableCanoeMarathon.org