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What is Marathon Canoeing?

Marathon Racing is an exciting sport where fitness, strength, skill and strategy come into play. Races can take place on a number of different types of courses. Some run on rivers with rapids or weirs while others run on flat water. Ireland has a strong tradition in Marathon racing with Irish Athletes winning medals on the world stage from the 1980’s right up to 2019. Along with this the Liffey Descent is one of the Worlds greatest Marathon races with competitors travelling from around the globe to take part.  The below video features a number of our Irish Athletes who have won medals on the world stage.

For domestic races race length is typically determined by division. The top divisions usually race over courses of approx 20km but there are distances to suit everyone with courses usually starting around 5km in length for beginners with most racing over courses of 10 to 15km. Races can include portages where paddlers will jump out of their boats and carry them before re-entering the water.

At International level races are longer with Senior Men’s and Women’s race typically taking place over 30km and 26km respectively& will include 4 to 6 portages. In recent years to add excitement the traditional long course races have been supplemented with short course racing which takes place of a short 3 to 4km course including 2 portages. Marathon Canoeing has been Ireland’s most successful canoeing discipline over the years with a multitude of World Cup, European Championship and World Championship medals over the years.  In recent years alone the International role of honor for currently active racers is below.


Ronan Foley:

2018 World Championships: Silver medal (Junior Men’s Long course)

2018 European Championships: Gold medal (Junior Men’s Long course)

2018 World Cup: 2 X Gold Medal (Junior Men’s Long and Short course)

2017 European Championships: Bronze Medal (Junior Men’s Long course)

2017 World Cup: Silver and Bronze medals (Junior Men’s Long and Short course)


Jenny Egan:

2017 World Championships:  Bronze Medal (Senior Women’s Long course)

2017 World Cup: Silver and Bronze medlas (Senior Women’s Long and Short course)


Barry Watkins:

2018 World Cup: Silver Medal (Senior Men’s Short course)


Matt McCartney:

2019 World Cup:  2 X Bronze Medal (Junior Men’s Long and Short course)

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