Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 5, 2015

Texas River Marathon 2015

The Texas River Marathon is a fast-paced 34 mile canoe race on the Guadalupe River. The river marathon is important because it is the preliminary race for the grueling 260-mile Texas Water Safari. The race begins in Cuero, a small town that once was a stopping point on the famous Chisholm Trail, and ends in Victoria. The finishing positions on this race are used to determine the starting positions on the Texas Water Safari.

O & D at TRM 2015
This past weekend Doyle and I headed to Cuero to compete in the river marathon for a second time. Our adventure started off a little rough this past Friday when I gashed my head open on the rack that holds the canoe onto my truck. Doyle drove me to the emergency room where the doctor sealed the wound with six staples and two stitches and instructed me to keep the wound dry for 48-hours.

J & B TRM 2015
Keep the wound dry for 48-hours? I told the doc that we were headed for the Guadalupe River to compete in the Texas River Marathon. “Whatever you do,” he emphatically said, “do not get that wound wet and definitely do not expose it to river water!” That was certainly an incentive to not fall into the river. On a positive note, the gash in my head distracted me from the pain in the toe I had broken in Bangladesh earlier in the month.

TRM 2015 - B
This year, almost 130 paddlers signed-up to do the river marathon, including my son Jonathan and his safari partner and other friends we have met in the paddling community. I personally enjoy these opportunities to be on the water with Jonathan and friends. Between my gashed head, broken toe, and some viral infection that had Doyle coughing up a storm, we knew that this race would be a little more challenging than usual.

TRM 2015 - C
Doyle and I determined to paddle at a steady pace and to not stop along the way. And that’s exactly what we did. We kept up a good safari pace and finished the course in 5 hours and 44 minutes with no stop time. That is more than an hour faster than our finishing time in 2013. We finished 86th out of 128 boats — certainly not the fastest but a personal best for us. We were also happy that our new friend Melissa James finished just ahead of us. We will definitely be rooting for her to have a good safari finish this year.

Omar at Salt Water Barrier
On Sunday, we joined my son Jonathan and our friends Ben and Jay to paddle the infamous log jam section of the race course. Most safari paddlers will tell you that this is their least favorite section of the river. The portage around the log jam is absolutely brutal. But, great news! After all these years the log jam is no more! Apparently the river authority folks have been clearing it out. Many of the logs are now near the Salt Water Barrier where they are being removed from the river. We paddled through this section with only a couple of minor portages.

2015 TRM Paddlers
Doyle and I still have a few more training runs to do before the big race in June. In many ways we feel stronger and better prepared but still know that anything unexpected can happen along the way to keep us from finishing. But, that’s one of the fears that makes the Texas Water Safari so exciting. Peter Hillary, the son of Sir Edmund Hillary, stood on the summit of Mount Everest 37 years after his father became the first man to summit the world’s tallest mountain in 1953. Peter said, “Challenge = uncertainty = excitement. Every great goal is a challenge, and the outcome is always uncertain — but that is what makes life exciting!” I totally agree.

Thank you Patty Geisinger for the photos of me and Doyle on the river. And thanks for taking photos of Texas paddlers during the Texas Water Safari.
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