Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 AuSable River Canoe Marathon

A pitch black night, fog, rain and long runs along a winding river might sound like the setting for a horror film but they were just some of the hurdles Steve Lajoie and Andrew Triebold tackled on their way to winning the 62nd annual AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

Steve Lajoie (front) of Mirabel, Quebec and Andrew Triebold (rear) of Spring Arbor, Michigan paddle through a light rain towards the last of the fourteen portages at the 2009 AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

As last years champions Lajoie, from Mirabel, Quebec and Triebold of Spring Arbor, Michigan completed the grueling 120 mile AuSable River course in just under fourteen hours and twenty minutes to successfully defend their title. Second place finishers Steve Corlew of Brighton, Michigan and Matt Streib of Bristol, Indiana finished eleven and a half minutes behind the leaders and less than six minute ahead of third place Matthew Ashton and Mo Harwood both of Grayling.

Large crowds of spectators look on as Steve Corlew (left) starts his jump into the AuSable River ahead of his partner Matt Streib (center) and Canoe number 81's Tony Short (right) at the start of the 2009 AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

More than a thousand fans cheered wildly at the end of the ¼ mile foot race to the river entry point as Corlew and Streib in the number 89 boat entered the river just steps behind Lajoie and Triebold’s number 01 canoe but by the first check point at Burtons Landing the 01 held a one minute, forty one second lead. Corlew and Streib manged to keep with in seven minutes of the lead closing to it to just four minutes at the number ten, Alcona Damn checkpoint but as the sun came up the leaders picked up their pace opening and maintaining the lead at more than ten minutes by the time they reached checkpoint number 12 at Five Channels Damn.

Stern paddler Erich Podjaske (right) smiles as his partner Spencer Derenzy flops backwards onto their canoe after crossing the finish line.

Seventy five of the record ninety teams that started the race in Grayling Saturday night managed to make the finish line in Oscoda on Sunday including the team of the oldest participant in the marathon 84 year old Al Widing Jr. who crossed the line in 45th.

Connie Cannon of East Lansing (rear) and her partner Bruce Barton of Homer, Michigan steer their boat toward the races landing area.

The first woman competitor to finish was Connie Cannon of East Lansing who, along with partner Bruce Barton of Homer, Michigan finished 13th.

See Our Complete Photo Gallery at http://pa.photoshelter.com/gallery/2009-AuSable-River-Canoe-Marathon/G0000tZGOIO.BZp8

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