THE 56TH ANNUAL DES PLAINES RIVER CANOE AND KAYAK MARATHON, HELD MAY 19,2013
A behind the scenes look on what it takes to make it happen… by Sigrid Pilgrim
For 56 years now, the Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon in Illinois has attracted many hundreds of canoes and kayaks for the 18.5 mile stretch from Oak Springs Road in Libertyville to Dam #2 in Prospect Heights. Founded originally by Ralph Frese to introduce his boy scout troop to the beauty of the Des Plaines River, the event has become a “must participate” for many paddlers from all around the country, if for no other reason than to get the coveted embroidered patch or for the first place winners, the unique voyageur statue.
My husband Alan is co-chair of this event that happens only because a small, very dedicated group of volunteers for years has given many hours of their time to make sure no detail of the event is overlooked. As the sometimes willing sounding board, listening to Alan voice frustration about this, that, or the other aspect of the event that still hasn’t been nailed down, confirmed, reconfirmed, settled, or figured out, sometimes just a few days before race date, I sat down with him the other day with pen and paper and ask him “Tell me, what does it take to put on the Marathon?”
So here is a summary of what it will take again to have 500 or more paddlers participate in the 57th Annual Des Plaines Canoe and Kayak Marathon to be held May 18, 2014:
The Organizing Committee consisting of two co-chairs, secretary/treasurer, registrar, safety, start line coordinators, marketing and outreach members meet once a month to coordinate all that follows:
And that is just the start, because without the actual people being part of it, none of that would be needed. So here’s a list of volunteers that annually give of their time and talent:
And this is what your registration fees cover: Rental of storage lockers, Supplies and Signage for Start and Finish Lines; Website; RACES – Communication Group; Boat numbers; Trophies, Medals, Patches, T-shirts; Printing and mailing of promo materials; Insurance; Volunteer lunches; Generator and Gas; Tents; T-shirts given to volunteers and other key personnel as a “thank-you”; Port-a-Potties for the Start Line.
So that’s the summary of what it takes to put on the Des Plaines Canoe and Kayak Marathon; I may even have left out a few “needs to get done” too. I hope that all paddlers reading this will reward the many volunteers’ efforts by participating in next year’s event, May 18, 2014, to say
THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT HAPPEN
For more information on the event and a list of this year’s finish times, please go to