In Ely, canoe rides 26.2 miles on YOU

PHOTO: Josiah Mackenzie, Flickr CC

I’ve never run a marathon. Further, I’ve talked to enough runners to know that I’m a good year from being able to do so without requiring medical attention or adult diapers. And I’m fine with that. I don’t want to run a marathon.

Nevertheless, I’m always intrigued by the psychology of those who do. In modern life, it’s not normal to run 26.2 miles at speed. Hasn’t been evolutionarily necessary for people to do in a couple hundreds years or more. In fact, a fella can reproduce without even owning a pair of running shorts.

But for some, running marathons becomes a spiritual ritual, a ticket to better health and personal discipline. And, after mastering the task, they look to do more.

That’s why the Ely Marathon announced this year it would offer a portage division in its annual contest. Individuals and relay teams may participate in the full or half marathon while portaging a full sized canoe.

That’s right, people can run 26.2 miles carrying a canoe. For fun.

It’s not an abstract concept. People have been doing that at the Ely Marathon since its inception in 2015. In fact, portaging long distances goes back hundreds of years. The difference is that people usually portage canoes because they have to. Paddling them is far more appealing.

Here’s what they say at the Ely Marathon:

The Portage Division will include options for those who are searching for the challenge of portaging a canoe for the entire 26.2 mile race on their own, or a team relay division which will allow up to 6 members on each team. The Boundary Waters Bank Half Marathon, which takes place on the same day added a canoe division in 2017. Those not quite up to a 26.2 mile trek can take part in the half marathon race!

A canoe used for the Ely Marathon or Boundary Waters Bank Half Marathon must be a traditional canoe designed to be paddled by one or two people, commonly used for extended time in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Kayaks, models, plastic, inflatable and cardboard are not allowed.

The Ely Marathon will be Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. So, train with your canoe all summer long. If you start now you’ll be all set.

Good luck with that.



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