World’s longest canoe race kicks off in Whitehorse

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Could you paddle 715 kilometres all in one go?

The Yukon River Quest is a marathon paddling race that began Wednesday morning. In total, 234 canoeists, kayakers, and stand-up paddleboarders from 13 different countries will race from Whitehorse to Dawson City. The fastest will reach the finish line in 40 hours, and others will be on the water for three days.

This is the first year that paddleboarders will be able to compete for the prize money. Last year, they participated in an experimental race, where they had to prove they could carry appropriate food and survival gear.

“Stand up paddleboards are hugely popular now and we had been pushed by both local groups and internationally to allow it maybe for a year,” spokesperson Jeff Brady told What’s Up Yukon. “They just wanted to be able to prove themselves, and we said ‘We’ll let you do it was long as you can do what we require of any team.’”

Along with the nervous anticipation of the race, the hardest part of this gruelling trip is staying awake. “I think once we get on the river, it’s really just a long paddle,” kayaker Kelly Watson told CBC.

If you want to follow along, the race provides a Race Tracker that shows where the competitors are at the moment. Some of our favourite team names include: Yukoned Me Into It, WTF: Where’s the Finish, Canoe Believe It, and Fashionably Lake.

What would your name be?