Imagine yourself racing in a 120 mile stretch of rushing water through all hours of the day and night. Since 1947, the AuSable River Canoe Marathon has attracted the best professional paddlers from around the world, and is entirely organized by a non-profit, volunteer committee – AuSable River International Canoe Marathon, Inc. (ARICM). This annual event seeks to generate publicity of the neighboring communities of the AuSable and increase awareness of its natural resource.
Consumers Energy is proud to be sponsoring this exhilarating, community effort for the fourth consecutive year. The 68th annual marathon is set for July 25-26, 2015. The competition will start at 9 p.m. on July 25 in Grayling, MI and finish on July 26 in Oscoda, MI. Participants will be navigating around all six of our hydroelectric dams on the AuSable River.
Last year, 82 two-person teams entered the canoe marathon, with competitors’ ages ranging from 16 to 89 years old. Having endured months of rigorous training, they conditioned themselves by paddling through dark hours, only taking brief breaks to take nourishment, fresh clothes and spare paddles from their “feeder” support teams.
Supporting the AuSable River Community
“It’s special for Consumers Energy because of our history on the AuSable and it means a lot to our employees at the hydro plants,” said Rich Castle, Consumer Energy’s Natural Resources Administrator. “We want to see the race continue to thrive and keep running for another 68 years.”
Our hydro dams on the Au Sable — Mio, Alcona, Loud, Five Channels, Cooke and Foote — were built between 1911 and 1924. Together, they can generate 41,000 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power a community of about 20,500 people.
How Far is 120 Miles Exactly?
A 120 mile stretch on the AuSable River is equivalent to:
- Placing side-by-side roughly 1,760 football fields; 3,168 hockey rinks; or 5,280 tennis stadium courts.
- Stacking the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) roughly 437 times.
- Climbing Mount Everest about 22 times.
In conclusion, 120 miles on the AuSable River is not for the faint of heart.
Learn the Lingo
- Newbie: A single paddler racing for the first time
- Rookie: A team of two newbies racing
- Youth: Paddlers 19 or younger
- Masters: Paddlers 40+ years old
- Seniors: Paddlers 50+ years old
- Veterans: Paddlers 60+ years old
- Iron Paddler: Seasoned paddler who has completed the marathon 10x in the professional division.
Learn more about how we provide hydroelectric power to serve more than 70,000 people.