Secrets of the Marathon Canoeist | Canoeroots Magazine | Rapid Media
canoe marathon Photo: Flickr user paddling

Few paddles are capable of what marathon canoe racers do every other weekend—keeping pace through a 1,000-mile 

course, enduring both grinding monotony and gruelling pain 

and winning sprint finishes to end 15-hour races. We wanted 

to know how they do it—so we asked them. Meet three 

racers who have proven to be the toughest of the tough.






Lynne Witte » 55

Hometown: Mt. Clemens, Michigan

Years racing: 37

Races per year: 15

Bragging rights: Weyerhaeuser AuSable River Canoe Marathon in both mixed and women’s categories.

Lead or Follow? “Riding another boat’s wash can be nice for a time, but I always prefer to be leading at the finish.”

Training Regime: “During the spring, I’m paddling five days a week with two-hour weekday sessions and four- or five-hour weekend sessions. During the racing season, I’m out five to six days a week, including two three- to four-hour sessions, some six hour workouts for marathon training and weekday interval training. I also bike and run in the summer with my dogs and crosscountry ski and dog sled in the winter.”

Staying motivated: “I set goals for each race. If I’m flagging, I focus on the time or placing I’ve set for myself.”

Hitting the wall: “There is only one remedy: to eat. The best foods are basic. For longe races, it’s potatoes, cheese and chicken. For shorter races, its grapes and watermelon.”

Pro advice: “Get your own C1 and find a local group to spend time with experienced paddlers. Paddlers like to help each other."


Discover secrets from two more marathon paddlers in Canoeroots and Family Camping's Spring 2010 issue, where this article was first published. To read it, download our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read it on your desktop here.


This photo is by Flickr user paddling and licensed under the Creative Commons. 

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