CLARENDON, Pa. – The United States Canoe Association Canoe and Kayak Marathon Championships have been to Warren County before – nine times, in fact, most recently in 2019.
After an early rain shower, they made their return on Thursday, day one of the four-day event that began at Chapman State Park with the sprints and kids races, which is National Youth Day. The marathon events run Thursday through Sunday.
“We feel very happy to be back here,” said USCA Vice President Teresa Stout, who hails form Brookville. “It’s really nice of the chamber (Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry) and John (Papalia) and Savannah (Casey) to work so fast to come back. This is a beautiful place to be and a really nice course.”
This year’s event was supposed to be in Michigan, but the USCA had to pivot at the last minute due to COVID-19 regulations.
“It was a little up in the air for a while where it was going to be, and we’re very lucky,” Stout said.
And for those who are unfamiliar with the marathon event, the concept is quite simple.
“The United States Canoe Association is a flatwater marathon racing group and once a year we have the nationals, which move around,” Stout said. “We have the Youth Day, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the marathon races, which are always between 12 and 14 miles.
“They will be racing from the (Kinzua Dam), down through town, do a loop and end up at Betts Park. There are different classes each day. People can race more than one day because of the different classes and many of them come from a distance and they want to race. They can do one-person canoe, two-person canoe, kayaks. That’s basically what we’re doing on Friday through Sunday.”
And the paddlers come from all over, but there are certain areas that are more of a hotbed.
“There are big paddling areas,” Stout said. “Areas like New York and Michigan have a lot of paddlers. We have North Carolina, Arkansas, different places, lots of areas.”