Fun for all ages and types of canoe
Marathon Racing boats are designed to travel fast in a straight line and are therefore are narrower and less stable than many other types of kayak or canoe. They come in single and double types. Children under the age of 12 tend to use Lightning Kayaks that are smaller and more stable which allows these young paddlers to develop their skills on an equal footing.
As soon as you have picked up the basics of paddling in a racing kayak or canoe you are ready to race. A coach or a fellow paddler will be able to suggest a suitable race for you to start with. This may well be one of the flatwater races which happen regularly throughout the season. Most of these are on canals where there are no currents or technical sections to worry about.
The main UK Canoe and Kayak Marathon racing season runs from April to October, with events somewhere most weekends. During the summer there are some weekday events and your club may have their own races as well as the regular training nights.
The courses raced in Scotland vary from around 6 km for a “mini” course to 13 km for a “short” course and to 20 km for a “long” course. Lightning paddlers typically race over 2 – 4km. There are also some longer events like the annual Glasgow – Edinburgh challenge which is 87 km. Paddlers from Scotland have regularly taken part in the British National and Hasler Trophy Marathon Championships as well as the epic annual Devizes to Westminster race of 200 km.
Most races are held on canals or lochs within the central belt, with a few river races further north.
1 All boats used in marathon racing must be fitted with sufficient buoyancy to support the boat and crew in the event of a capsize. Inherent buoyancy in composite boats is not sufficient to meet this requirement. Additional foam buoyancy or air bags must be fitted.
2 All paddlers who are ranked in divisions 7,8 or 9 must wear an approved buoyancy aid (compliant with EN 393, EN 395, ISO 12402-5 or ISO 12402-6) for all marathon races in K1 or K2. Organisers may require other competitors to also wear approved buoyancy aids if they feel that the conditions require it, so all competitors should come prepared to comply with this requirement.
3 Paddlers should also check individual race information sheets for any event specific safety requirements.