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2009 USA Canoe/Kayak Marathon Team Trials

When: 8 a.m. today and Sunday

Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Center on Clarks Bridge Road

Streaming live at:

For results:,,

Lake Lanier has risen, a course is set, and today the best marathon paddlers and rowers from across the nation will compete in the 2009 USA Canoe/Kayak Marathon Team Trials at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center in Gainesville.

The Marathon Team Trials are held annually to select elite marathon racers to represent the United States and U.S.A. Canoe / Kayak at various international marathon racing competitions. Athletes who qualify for the U.S. National Team are eligible to compete in the International Canoe Federation Marathon World Championships, Marathon World Cup series and other ICF sanctioned events. These trials will qualify athletes for the 2009 Marathon World Championships in Portugal.

“The trials are the top-notch marathoners in the country,” said Pete Smith who heads up media relations for the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club. “These folks will be paddling up to 15 miles at a world pace.

“The level of training and skill is unparalleled in our sport. It’s going to be a tough day.”

The event, which begins at 8 a.m. today, will include a 30K for senior men, 25.5K for senior women, 22K for junior and masters and a 4K loop course for recreational and beginner athletes.

All of which will be broadcast live at, a first for the club.

“We will have webcams at the tower and portage (across Clarks Bridge Road from the tower),” Smith said. “We are trying to make this event as spectator friendly as possible and one of the most spectator friendly on the circuit.

“All of it is hopefully going to help drive interest in the sport, club and venue.”

The mission of the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club since its inception has been to serve as a catalyst and as a legacy program of the 1996 Summer Centennial Olympic Games and to seek opportunities to host events that will have an economic and social impact on the community.

And the Canoe/Kayak Marathon Team Trials fit that bill to perfection.

“Every year there’s a bid process to hold this regatta,” Smith said. “We tend to bid on things we know we can do and events that will bring a good reputation to our venue.

“Being the site of the ‘96 Olympic Games is significant, it’s a legacy and a place we can use to not only involve the community, but give back to the community.”

Aside from the venue itself, Smith along with the other volunteers that he refers to as “almost the best committee in the nation,” are hoping this event along with the others the venue will house, bring the right kind of attention to the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club.

“Our club is simply the best place for athletes who want to get to the highest level of rowing and kayaking to come start the process,” Smith said.

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