A group of people paddling on boats

2023 Spring Races

The 2023 Racing Season is underway.  The first three races proved a challenge as Mother Nature grinned, but did not favor paddlers with a wide smile or water in the rivers.

CURRENT BUSTER:  Fox River; Pottawatomie Park; upstream about 4 1.2 miles and return. Temperature was good, but wind and lower-than-usual water proved a challenge.

Thirty–seven racers started in one mixed heat in the morning, and one mixed heat in the afternoon (many people raced both races for the price of one).

Upstream paddlers stayed close to shore, but low water prevented them from being as close as they wanted, forcing them out into the current.  As paddlers made the turn, they turned into a headwind (don’t remember a tailwind going upstream).

There was a mix of relatively new paddlers and some veterans.

Some veteran paddlers who no longer race came by to renew acquaintances and cheer paddlers on.

Fastest time for the long course:

Peter Visser of South Bend, IN, in the Unlimited Kayak Class: 1:21. Followed closely by Matt Meeresman, also of South Bend, IN, at 1:27 in a 1-Man Canoe. Marck Koraski of Hinsdale, IL, won the OC 1 (Canoe with an outrigger) in 1:29.

Complete results (or for more information about canoe racing) at St Charles Canoe Club website.

DES PLAINES RIVER CANOE AND KAYAK (& sup) MARATHON:  For the 66th time, paddlers gathered at Oak Spring Road in Libertyville (or Dundee Road for the short course). Over 500 people participated.

A perfect day for a race, but the river forgot to have water in it. Times were 30 minutes or more slower than normal, but when you finished, you could be proud of what you accomplished. Those who started the race persevered and finished.

The best times of the day for the 18 1/3 mile course:

2:45 William Bellinger, West Olive, MI, Open Class

2:46  Pieter Visser, South Bend, IN, and Dave Hutton, Phoenix, AZ, in a K-2

2:50 Al Limberg and Barb Bradly of Wausau, WI, Mixed Competition Canoe

(Just a note, they could have been in the Masters Class age-wise)

2:52 Jim Pechous, Lombard, IL, and Andy Nevitt, Wausau, WI in a K-2

Results at canoemarathon.com website.

MID-AMERICA CANOE RACE: The 10 miles on the Fox River from St Charles to Aurora provided a challenge, as again water was lacking (but fun was not). There was also a short course and a few paddlers completed one course and were able to go back and do the other course.

The best times for the long course:

David/ Rob Simon, Warrenville   1:38  Century Class Canoe

Pete/ Daryle Simon, Plainfield   1:44 Men Comp

Cindy Wilsdorf Easy, Peoria    1:45  Women Kayak

Brian Pohrte, St Charles 1:50 Men Kayak

Results here.


WATER – enough to get your paddle wet.  Canoeists did not even hit bottom with their paddles, which we thought was the norm after the Marathon and Mid-Am.

The course was changed to stay in deeper water but a brisk wind added to the fun. 

Only one jet ski to add to the excitement – so interested in something, she did not realize the person she was towing was not swimming, but she did give us a wave to navigate.

Afterward, hot dogs and good conversations and camaraderie, which is what we come for.  


Jim Pechous – Sea Kayak 1:20

Wally and George Wederich – Men C-2 1:21

Dave Kies – C-1 1:27 

Anthea Halpryn – Sea Kayak 1:28