The Mystique of Marathon
In a battle during the year 490 BC, the Greeks were victorious over the Persians. The Greek
Commander, exuberant over the success, sent a long distance runner to Athens to announce the
victory. The battle was fought in Marathon.......and as they say, the rest is history.
Since that time we have come to think of a marathon as an event characterized by great length
or concentrated effort, an endurance contest, a long race.
In the minds of runners it is 26 miles 385 yards (42.2km). For bikers the distance varies
but rest assured there is no rest; and for paddlers distance varies but many refer to anything
over 10 km as a marathon. However, not to be outdone by the running fraternity the big Marathon
Canoe Races in North America are true tests of endurance; the 70 Mile General Clinton Race in
upstate New York, the all night Au Sable in Michigan, or the 120 mile La Classique on the
Saint Maurice River in Quebec.
To the uninitiated one would ask why, why do you subject yourself to such torture, but to
the initiated we would reply because I can, I will and I want to. Surely there is more to
it than stubbornness and self determination.
Perhaps it is the music that comes to the paddler as the sleek craft glides smoothly
through the water propelled by a team paddling in perfect unison, a rhythm brought forth
by man and boat, at one with themselves and the darkness of the waters.
Perhaps it is the rhythm of ones stride, pace after pace, breath after breath, until time
is no more and you are once again listening to the music.
As I run and paddle and bike I often start out with a mind full of thoughts that need thinking
and ideas that need sorting, but as time stops and distance passes by my mind clears and
once again there is the music. So it is for me, so how is it for you?
" There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded
of distance, adventure, solitude and peace." Sigurd Olson
The Nova Scotia Marathon Canoe Association welcomes all our members, friends and visitors
to another year of paddling. The 2005 schedule of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick races
follows and I`m sure if you attend one of our events you will enjoy yourself. Not only
will you experience the comradery of a friendly race, but if you are new to the sport
you will begin to learn a whole new way of propelling your canoe through the water. The
technique of hit and switch using bent shaft paddles can add great efficiency when it is
needed, regardless if you are racing or perhaps just wanting to get to the campsite prior
Focussing on technique is paramount in any sport if one wishes to improve. The article by
Kris Archibald, "Switch it Up", extols the benefits of changing paddling partners.........
you can always learn something new from somebody new.
In "Want to Get Results" by Steve McAleer, the basics of training are broken down and
discussed with the following adage to hard work, "The Will To Win Is Nothing Without The
Will To Train!!!"
The adventures and exhilarations of an eighteen day marathon canoe trip are related in
Rick McMahon`s, "Pekan Skies and Moisie Mornings", an account that will have you sitting
on edge as they negotiate the kind of stuff most of us only dream of.
So pull up a chair, sit back and relax with our 2005 Newsletter. I`m sure you`ll find
something of interest, and while you are at it remember to scratch a few race dates on
your calendar, and invite some friends. Perhaps if you race you will receive the honour
of being nominated female or male paddler of the year. This NSMCA award is presented to
paddlers who participate in and do well at our sanctioned races. The 2004 recipients were
Abbey Lewis from our Youth Division and Jean Marien, Adult Masters I.
So as the spring days lengthen into the warm summer evenings, grab your paddle and hit
the waters. With paddling comes fitness, relaxation, good health, comradery and if you
focus and listen you too may feel the Rhythm and hear the Music!
Keep your paddle wet,