The Boathouse District on the Oklahoma River will be the site of national championship racing Saturday and Sunday as USA Canoe/Kayak is holding its Canoe Marathon National Championships.
This is the first time the event has been held on the Oklahoma River, which also will be the site of the International Canoe Federation’s Canoe World Championships on Sept. 26-28.
Men and women will be racing in single and two-person canoes and kayaks for distances of 11.6 miles, 13.9 miles and 16.2 miles in four divisions: masters (age 30 and older), senior (elite level ages 23 and older), under 23 and junior (younger than 19) divisions.
Depending on the distance of the race, competitors must complete from four to seven laps on a 2.3-mile course of the Oklahoma River. The rules of the event even require the paddlers to portage a distance of 131 yards after each lap except the first one.
Portage is the act of carrying the kayak or canoe from one point of navigable water to another. Competitors must dock then sprint with boat and paddles in hand to the launching point to try to get back on the water as fast as possible.
The portage area will be in front of the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower, which has terrace seating for the public. Sometimes a race can be won or loss during the portage.