Oklahoma City has been selected to host yet another big time event on the Oklahoma River.
The city will host the 2014 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, which will see more than 30 countries compete from Sept. 26-28.
The International Canoe Federation made the announcement yesterday in Copenhagen at the conclusion of the 2013 world event.
This will be the first time the event has been held in the United States.
Mike Knopp, Executive Director for the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation was in Copenhagen last week to accept the nomination on behalf of Oklahoma City.
“Canoe Marathon is unlike any water sports event we've ever hosted,” Knopp said. “It combines dynamic kayak racing with full-out running sprints at the portage stations. It's an exciting sport to bring before the crowds in Oklahoma, as our city continues to grow as a sports mecca.”
Racers will complete a series of laps on the Oklahoma River to reach a total marathon distance that ranges between 17.2 and 30.1 kilometers (10.7 and 18.7 miles), depending on age group, boat class, and gender. Each lap includes a portage — athletes paddle into a dock at full speed, then sprint with their boats 80 yards across land before returning to the water for the next lap. Contact is allowed and penalties can be issued.
In preparation for hosting the world championship event, the OKC Boathouse Foundation will host a Canoe Marathon invitational event on Oct. 2 as part of the 2013 Oklahoma Regatta Festival. Racing will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, Oklahoma City will host the USA Canoe Marathon team trials June 21-22, 2014.
“Hosting the 2014 Canoe Marathon World Championships next fall will build even more anticipation for the opening of the MAPS 3 whitewater center, which is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015,” said Knopp. “We're excited to see the sport of canoe/kayak grow here in Oklahoma City.”