SCUGOG: “It’s the biggest and longest standing race in all of Ontario,” said Shannon Kelly, the event organizer. “It’s sanctioned by the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayaking Racing Association, and it's received their top race award in the past as well.”
The race starts on the Nonquon river, where racers endure twisty bends along the marshy waters. The river portion of the race is 12km long, followed by 8km sprint through Lake Scuogog to the finish line.
“We have had families with kids do it.” Mrs. Kelly said, “It’s a pretty good mix, if you’re a recreational starting paddler, or more of a competitive paddler as well.”
Racers can just paddle the river section, if they are inexperienced or afraid of weather conditions.
“There’s lots of different options. If you wanted to, just do the river part, you don’t have to worry about the wind or the weather or anything like that. It’s a great way to get introduced into paddling,” Mrs. Kelly told the Standard.
She added, the race can be done by anyone who is interested in canoeing or kayaking.
“People who have never paddled before have done the whole thing.” Mrs. Kelly said, “We had one women last year who was 74, kayaking by herself, and she did the entire thing.”
Safety boats are out on the lake during the race, to aid any boaters in need of assistance and ensure everyone reaches the finish line okay.
The event brings out around 40 volunteers each year, and Mrs. Kelly said, it’s a great way for high school students to get some of their community hours done.
Last year, 105 canoes and kayaks were raced by 166 participants. Mrs. Kelly said, they are hoping for a good turnout but it is usually dependant on the weather.
There will be a silent auction at the Latcham Centre, along with a BBQ, and face painting.
“It’s just a really fun event, and hopefully the weather will be good,” Mrs. Kelly said.
The cost to register is $50 per boat, people can go out and get sponsors, to pledge money towards the race, to win prizes. The top prize is a $200 Brock’s gift certificate, donated by Brock’s Department Store in Port Perry.
All racers must register for the event at the Latcham Centre prior to the race. Racers can register Friday evening, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., or Saturday morning, from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Participants race the clock, and can start at any time in-between 8:00 and 10:30 a.m., Saturday morning.
All the funds raised at the race go towards supporting the Scugog Shores Historical Museum.