The AuSable River Canoe Marathon is one of the most premiere canoe races in the United States. It covers a distance of approximately 120 miles, starting at Grayling and ending in Oscoda on the shore of Lake Huron. The majestic and storied AuSable River winds its way through the beautiful and occasional primitive forests of northern Michigan challenging the competitors, support persons for the competitors, and the omnipresent and vocal fans of the Marathon. From the race’s inception in 1947 it has been the source of hundreds of unwritten stories about courage, perseverance, determination, pride and not-to-be equaled love of “The Marathon”. To those who have participated in whatever form and to whatever degree a heartfelt thank you is given. To those who have exceeded others, whether by paddling or supporting, a special honor will be bestowed in the form of recognition by a committee of persons chosen to be enshrined in the Marathon Hall of Fame.
- The members of the Marathon Hall of Fame Committee shall accept nominations from any source to be considered for entry into the Marathon Hall of Fame. The nominations shall be made in writing to the A.R.C.M. Committee no later than the second Saturday in April.
- The Marathon Hall of Fame Committee shall annually select from the nominations presented for induction into the Marathon Hall of Fame. One of the nominees that are selected shall be a past or present Marathon Paddler. The remaining person selected may be a non-paddler.
- The persons selected need not have won the AuSable River Canoe Marathon.
- The persons selected must have:
- Contributed time and resources of whatever kind or nature, added innovations to procedures and assisted to the degree that either improved or continued the success of the Marathon.
- Exemplified the competitiveness, stamina, drive, strength of character, fair play and ability to overcome obstacles while participating in the Marathon.
Marilyn Wagner – Marilyn was the first female competitor and first female to finish the Marathon (Amateur – August 3, 1968).
Jay Stephan Sr. – Jay paddled the very first Marathon in 1947. He was in five more and finished first in 1950, 1951, and 1952.
Hugh Bissonette – Hugh paddled in the first Marathon 1947. He was the Marathon champion 1948 and 1949, setting Marathon records both years. He is a Thomas P. Marston Memorial recipient.
Bernie Fowler – Bernie paddled the very first Marathon in 1947 and was in five more after that. He finished first in 1950, 1951, and 1952.
Butch Stockton – Butch was the Marathon champion 1982 through 1986. He assists current paddlers with repairs to their canoes.
Harry Curley – Harry never paddled in the Marathon but was known for his promotion of canoe racing and making the AuSable River Canoe Marathon what it is today.
Ralph Sawyer – Ralph was the Marathon Champion 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, and 1968. He had his first Marathon finish in 1953 at age sixteen, and finished second.
Al Widing Sr. – Al paddled in 41 Marathons with 33 official finishes. He was the first person to finish 20 Marathons, and 11 years later the first to finish 30 Marathons. He competed in every race from 1987 to 2009. He made his 41st and final Marathon start in 2014 at the age of 89.
Oscoda-AuSable Township Fire Department Water Rescue – This group covered everything from staging race to raising funds and providing safety. They have been part of the race since its inception and continue to contribute.
Frank and Peggy Smutek – Frank has the longest career in Marathon history – 58 years and counting. He competed in his first Marathon in 1952 at age 18. Peggy contributes time and resources including three generations of family. They exemplify generosity and sportsmanship.
Stan Hall – Stan knew he was going to be a paddler when he saw the racers finish in 1947. He entered 11 Marathons and finished 7. He was the champion in 1967 and 1968.
John B. Cook – Through diligent and scrupulous record-keeping John has recorded the history of the Marathon for all who love the race.
“Big” John Baker – John’s accomplishments are as big as his personality. He is a four-time champion and a five-time runner up. John is a mentor and an inspiration to the paddling world.
Ed Wojahn – Ed has watched the Marathon since 1948 and still gets butterflies at the start, sharing “The race is one of the most exciting events in North America”. Ed loves to follow down river with fellow paddlers. He was champion in 1960.
Bruce Myles – Bruce is an Oscoda businessman who has been involved with the Marathon for decades. He recorded the history of the race through photography and has contributed to the continued success of the race.
Serge Corbin – Serge is the most successful paddler in AuSable River history. He is an 18-time Champion and set the course record of 13:58:08 in 1994.
Lynne Witte – Lynne is an inspiration for all women paddlers. She has competed in 40 Marathons, earning her Triple Iron Paddler Award in 2015 at age 61. She was the first woman to earn the Iron Paddler Award (1993). Lynne holds the Mixed Division record (1988; 4th Place; 15:05:26), and she had paddled consecutively since 1980.
Jack Kolka – Jack had 13 consecutive finishes (1964-1977). He entered the race 22 times and finished 18. He earned the Iron Paddler Award in 1972. Jack has mentored many young paddlers who later became Marathon Champions, including his son, Jeff Kolka.
Larry Kindell – Larry has finished 6 Marathons, all in the top three places, with 2 firsts, paddling with Steven Kolonich 1958 and his brother Victor Kindell 1961. He ranks 35th in the top 50 Official Marathon Career points.
Larry Roberts – Larry has been “The Voice of the Marathon” for over 20 years. His familiar voice continues to pump up the fans with his series of Marathon minutes and live radio broadcasts of the entire Marathon event.
Howard Brubaker – Howard was instrumental in starting the AuSable River Canoe Marathon. He and Percy Jocks paddled from Graying to Oscoda in three days to prove the race was possible. Howard was chairman and sponsored teams for ten years.
Réjean Huard – Réjean entered 11 and finished 3 Marathons. He served as an ambassador of the sport by playing a vital role in establishing the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing. He was a mentor to many young paddlers from Canada and the USA. It was his passion for paddling that made him loved and respected by many.
Jerry & Jeff Kellogg – Jerry & Jeff, sons of Elmer Kellogg, who raced in the first AuSable Marathon, developed a passion for paddling at a very young age. Jerry & Jeff won many races in the ’60’s and ’70’s together and with other paddlers, but they were at their best together, winning the Marathon in ’74 & ’75.
The Gary Family – Few families have been as involved with the Marathon as the Gary family. Their family business is a long-time sponsor. Four members of the family, Dan, Matt, Deborah, and Vance, have raced the Marathon. Melissa served on the race committee, as well as Mary Ann as Chairperson.
Bruce Barton – Bruce began paddling in 1969. He has 17 Marathon finishes, including 11 top 10 finishes and 7 top 5 finishes. Bruce continues to paddle because he loves the challenge and being a mentor to new paddlers. Bruce earned his Iron Paddler Award in 2003.
Solomon Carrière – Solomon “Sol” is a three-time Marathon champion in ’83, ’93, and ’94. Solomon holds the course record of 13:58:08, set in 1994. He is an Iron Paddler recipient with 11 career pro finishes and 9 of which were top 10 races.
Jeff Kolka – Jeff is considered one of the legends of canoe racing. Jeff has had 21 Marathon starts and 21 finishes, 20 top 5 finishes, and 9 wins. He received his Iron Paddler (10 pro finishes) in 1994 and Steel Paddler (20 pro finishes) in 2004. Jeff holds several Pro and Masters division time records.
Joe Wakeley – Joe has been on the Marathon committee for over 30 years, doing everything he can to help the paddlers and their families, including loaning his year for parking and boat prep. Along with Steve Southard and Phil Weiler, Joe helped form the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing.
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