The 12th annual Suwannee River Challenge was held on Saturday, Oct. 12th, 2013. The challenge
starts in Fargo, GA and ends 52 miles downriver in White Springs, FL. There is also a shorter,
26 mile “marathon” for those paddlers looking for an easier day on the river.
I was racing in a 26 ft. long Spencer canoe with Scott Werner from Clermont, FL. This was the
first time I had raced in this type of canoe, and to get used to paddling and steering the long
boat – Scott and I trained for about a month. The Suwannee River is frequently running at a shallow
depth during this time of year, but there was enough water for everyone to maintain a good
There was a total of 15 paddlers in the challenge race and 17 in the marathon. The overall winners
were Marty Sullivan and Bob Waters who raced in a sleek tandem kayak in a time of 7:57:14. Scott
and I were in the first canoe to cross the finish line. This was the eighth time that I had won my
division in the challenge. Roger Mann was the first paddler to complete the challenge on a standup
paddleboard and was the last racer with a time of 13:05:30. Brint Adams finished the marathon in
4:18:49 for his sixth win in a row. He beat kayaker Peter Gelzinis by six minutes.