Canoe duo paddling their way to the top of the charts
It was the annual Saskatoon Canoe Club Marathon on Sunday morning, featuring over a dozen canoers from across Western Canada.
For participants Edith MacHattie of Saskatoon and Rebecca Davis of Michigan, it was much more than a fun day in the sun.
The two share a common passion, canoe racing, and decided to team up after meeting through the sport.
MacHattie has been involved in competitive marathon canoeing for the last five years. Davis has been competing her whole life.
“There is a lot of skill involved with racing canoes and I love that part of it. There’s strategy, you can surf waves, there’s a lot more to it than you would think other than watching a bunch of canoes paddling down the river as fast as they can,” stated MacHattie, who also is the Saskatoon Canoe Club’s marathon director.
The two-day event in the Bridge City allowed the pair to get in some much-needed practice for bigger races that are coming up later this summer. Travel between both destinations is the key factor in not being able to practice each day.
“It’s really important that we use these opportunities to start to mesh as a team and really build confidence in each other and ourselves. So, today we are going pretty hard,” added Davis, who is also president of the U.S. Canoe Association.
The pair are ranked in the top three among women in North America. They recently competed in the first of the big three races in the sport known as the triple crown, which features races in New York, Michigan and Quebec this year.
“Those three races together are the ones attended by the best marathon paddlers in North American, generally speaking,” MacHattie said.
The team placed 17th overall (including men) at the General Clinton Canoe Regatta in New York in May with a time of seven hours 44 minutes and 50 seconds.
Their best ever time was 15:17:39 in July 2017 (16th overall) at the Au Sable Canoe Marathon in Michigan, a course record for women that year. It shattered the old record which stood for 22 years.
There is more than just bragging rights for the winner of the triple crown
“The winners of the triple crown get a great big trophy, I believe not that I’ve ever seen it,” added MacHattie.
The landscape of participants in the sport is changing.
“One of the things that is really been neat for me to see here in the Saskatoon paddling community is the number of women who are competing in all these races competing really well,” Davis said.
Based on Sunday’s showing, the duo looks ready for the big races coming later this year.