When does registration open?

Entry Registration for the AuSable River Canoe Marathon will be open in early May.  An announcement is made on this website and on social media when it officially opens.

Are kayaks or solo canoes allowed?

No, kayaks and solo canoes (C-1’s) are not allowed for competition in the AuSable River Canoe Marathon.  For anyone wanting to use a kayak or solo canoe, please see the details for the AuSable River Challenge 120.

Where can I get a racing canoe?

You can buy new racing canoes directly from most manufacturers.  These include but are not limited to Wenonah, Savage River, Serge Corbin, Grasse River Boatworks, Kisseynew Canoe, H2O Canoe, Boardman Boatworks, Clipper, and others.

The best places to start looking for a used racing canoe are:

  • The Marathon Canoe Racing For Sale Facebook group
  • The ONLY Marathon Canoe Racing For Sale Facebook group
  • Asking around at regional canoe racing association or canoe club races (i.e. MCRA, NYPRA, LACC, etc.)
  • Canoe racing association and/or canoe club Facebook pages
  • From retailers like Northbound Outfitters or Southern Tier Canoe
What are conditions like for the race?

River conditions:
The AuSable River has Class A and Class 1 river conditions. Average time between visible daylight during the race is approx. 8 hours.

Nighttime conditions:
Temps are typically around 55°F (13°C), but can typically range from 35°F to 75°F (2°C to 24°C), with high dew points.
Fog is common between Camp Ten Bridge and Alcona Dam. There is a noticeable temperature drop below Mio Dam.
Bug hatches are common in the early hours of the race, especially through the “Holy Waters” section of the river.
Average time of Sunset is approx. 9:04 PM, and average Civil Sunset is approx. 9:38 P.M.

Daytime conditions:
Temps are typically around 80°F (27°C), but can typically range from 60°F to 95°F (16°C to 35°C).
Typical weather is partly cloudy with winds increasing as you get closer to Lake Huron.
Winds on Foote Pond are common, and can cause constant side waves in the main part of the pond.
Average Civil Sunrise is approx. 5:42 AM, and the average time of Sunrise is approx. 6:16 AM.

Extreme Weather conditions:
Typically clear or partly cloudy, but rain or light thunderstorms are not uncommon. Snowfall (e.g. 2004) and severe thunderstorms/tornados (e.g. 2014) have occurred during the race, but these weather events are extremely rare.

I'm new to the sport. Where can I find information?

Take advantage of the Newcomer’s Guide to Completing the AuSable River Canoe Marathon” (2022) by Eric Batway. The book is geared towards helping prospective paddlers on their journey and reduce their initial steps to success.

The “AuSable River Canoe Marathon Guide Book” (1990) by Dave Foley

How long are the portages?
The Mio Dam portage is approx. 625 ft. (191 m)
The Alcona Dam portage is approx. 675 ft. (206 m)
The Loud Dam portage is approx. 800 ft. (243 m)
The Five Channels Dam portage is approx. 360 ft. (110 m)
The normal Cooke Dam portage is approx. 160 ft. (49 m).
The alternate Cooke Dam portage  (a.k.a. Bradford portage) is approx. 400 ft. (122 m)
The Foote Dam portage is approx. 225 ft. (69 m)


When and where does the marathon start?

The race is held annually on the last full weekend in July. The Marathon starts in Grayling at 9:00pm on Saturday. Be sure to arrive early to enjoy the AuSable River Festival and the Marathon Opening Program. A complete list of events in Grayling and Oscoda can be found in the annual Program Book and  Spectator Guide.

I plan on following the race from Grayling to Oscoda, how should I prepare?

The Marathon is known as the World’s Toughest Spectator Race, so preparation is key. The paddlers leave Grayling on Saturday at 9:00pm with leaders arriving in Oscoda on Sunday around 11:00am. Summer weather in northern Michigan can change drastically so you will want to dress in layers and have rain gear. Since most of the race is overnight be sure to have a flashlight (needed to get you from parking locations to the viewing areas), insect repellent and a pillow if you want to catch a nap between stops.

    How is cell service along the course?

    Cell service is limited and at times not available along the course. Be sure to have a map with you of the course and local roads.

    Are there places where I will be able to get a meal or snack ?

    Grayling and Oscoda have great options for dining or just grabbing a snack. The majority of the Marathon is overnight in remote locations. Be sure to pack a cooler with snacks and beverages to keep you fueled throughout the night.

    Is there a map of the marathon course?

    Click here for a downloadable version of the Marathon course map. You can also find more information in our annual Spectator Guide. Please be aware that there will be periodic road and bridge closures during the race.

    I can't be there in person, where can I follow the action

    If you can’t make it to the banks of the AuSable River we have you covered. Check out the Follow Online section of the website.

    Coverage options include GPS tracking, radio updates throughout the race, live race results on the website and the Marathon Facebook page.

    Where is the best place to watch the marathon?

    There are many great places to watch the Marathon ranging from the thrilling start in Graying to the amazing finish in Oscoda. Many spectators enjoy watching the teams overnight as the race through the darkness or while they portage the dams. You can find out more about viewing locations in the Spectator section of this website.


    Where can I find vendor information for the Grayling area?
    Canoe Racing Vendors – If you are a vendor that deals specifically with canoe racing, please contact the Marathon committee via email
    All Other Vendors – If you are a food, merchandise or art/craft vendor please contact the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce.   The Chamber organizes the AuSable River Festival events and coordinates all festival vendors.  
    Where is the vendor information for the Oscoda area?

    All Vendors – The crowd at the finish line typically gathers between 9:00-10:00am, and disperse between 3:00-4:00pm on race-day Sunday.   Limited space is available for vendors on the Mill Street Bridge and at the Finish Line Park.   Interested vendors should contact the Oscoda Race Committee for additional information. 

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