The World’s Toughest Canoe Race Kicks-Off in San Marcos

By Conor Yarbrough
News Director

It’s called the world’s toughest canoe race. Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., 116 teams will enter the waters of Spring lake at the Meadows Center to begin the 54th annual Texas Water Safari, a 260 mile long race that ends in the coastal town of Seadrift.

The Texas Water Safari will start in San Marcos. Photo by Conor Yarbrough.
The Texas Water Safari will start in San Marcos. Photo by Conor Yarbrough.

Taken at a steady pace, the race usually runs four to five days, but the average amount of time a team takes to finish usually ranges between 40 to 60 hours, often without stopping. First time race participant, David Ernest, says that he expects the race to be long and painful.

“We’re hoping to finish somewhere between 55 hours and 70 hours,” Ernest said.

The race was originally scheduled to be held on June 11 but the extensive period of excessive rainfall central Texas faced during the months of April and May caused the race to be pushed back two weeks. President of the Texas Water Safari Allen Spelce says despite the delays, the rain has been a positive variable.

“You know, it’s actually helped out the race,” Spelce said. “We’ve got some of the best water conditions we’ve ever had here at the Texas Water Safari so we’re expecting a record number of finishers to complete the 260 mile course.”

Spelce says that the continuous annual appearance of the race is a huge boost for the city from an economical and tourism standpoint.

“Definitely an economic booster but not only that, it brings attention to the city,” said Spelce. “The people know that the start of the Texas water Safari is here in San Marcos.”

Racers face a small chance of storms over the next few days as they make their way closer to the coastal region, but overall, weather looks bright and hot.

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