Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 5, 2012

Texas River Marathon 2012

Seven hours, forty-four minutes and twenty seconds (with only a minute and a half of stop time) — that’s how long it took Jonathan and me to complete the Texas River Marathon today. This latest race is part of Jonathan’s training strategy to get me ready for the Texas Water Safari in June. The 260-mile Texas Water Safari is billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, a world-class event that attracts paddlers from around the nation and beyond. With the race only weeks away, our training has intensified. Over the past few months Jonathan and I have trained on the 100-miles of the upper part of the race course and paddled some sections more than once. In the coming weeks we will train on the last few miles of the course including San Antonio Bay, the last big challenge before the finish line at Seadrift, Texas.

The Texas River Marathon is a 39-mile race along the Guadalupe River from Cuero, Texas to Victoria City Park. This race is important for several reasons. First, the race takes place on the fastest-flowing section of the Texas Water Safari Race course. Second, it gives racers the opportunity to see two of the rapids along the course that they will have to navigate at night on the actual water safari. Finally, the finishing positions on this race are used to determine starting positions on the Texas Water Safari. Jonathan and I enjoyed this fast-paced and competitive race. It gave me a better sense of what it will be like to race with more than a hundred boats on the water during the water safari.

This was my fourth marathon canoe race over the past year and the first race of my 56th year of life. Other than the opportunity to complete another race with Jonathan, the thing I enjoyed most was meeting paddlers along the way who are older than me. Perhaps the reigning rock-star of older paddlers is the 72-year-old Hungarian-born Zoltán Mráz. We had the opportunity to paddle beside him for a while. He was paddling solo and was tough to keep up with. Zoltán has finished the Texas Water Safari a total of 11 times and is the oldest finisher of the water safari. Another 60-year-old paddler told us that he has finished the water safari numerous times in both solo and tandem boats. Now that I am over 50, guys like these are my new heroes. They remind us that age does not have to preclude anyone from adventurous pursuits. I know that the Texas Water Safari will be the toughest physical challenge I have ever faced, but I am encouraged to do my best because of the example of the men I met today. I hope that one day I too will be numbered among the old guys that have finished the world’s toughest canoe race. Barring any unforeseen problems along the way, my hope is to finish the race with Jonathan in less than the 100-hours allowed.

Today’s Texas River Marathon route along the Guadalupe River.


  1. While reading Texas River Marathon route you are preparing for, I found myself wandering into Scriptures. In order to enter the race, or even qualify as a contestant, one must learn to cast aside anything detrimental to his program of training. An important part of God’s training program is becoming sure-footed. Before we can compete we must become “established,” firmly rooted, “grounded and settled in the faith.”
    I wish you all the best with your marathon preparations.


    • Thanks you for your encouragement, Veronica. I appreciate your good insight into God’s Word.

  2. Omar, you are a crazy man. God bless you and Jonathan. You never cease to amaze me—from mission trips to canoe races. I am so glad to have a way of keeping up with you now. Pat

    • Thanks, Pat. I must confess that I have often wondered about my sanity while paddling down the river on these races. 🙂 I do appreciate Jonathan’s patience with me. Thanks for following our story.

  3. Way to go!! Woo hoo!!

    • Thanks, Carolyn. So glad to have one more race behind us! Regards to the folks there in Qatar.

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