Kingham enjoys scenery along the way to a win

Kayaker Gary Kingham paddles his way to another win.                                                  -Photo by Robert Hirschfield

May 16, 2015 marked the 58th running of the Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon in Illinois. Historically, this part of Chicagoland was woods and open space. Back then the race had a “Northwoods” feel that attracted over 1,000 canoes. This year’s attendance was over 400 canoes and kayaks. 

One of those competing was Ogden’s Gary Kingham. Racing in the under 18’ sea kayak class, Kingham dominated the field, placing first, 15 minutes ahead of the next competitor.

“The most amazing thing over this 18.5 mile run was the scenery, being half the width of the Des Moines River with very low banks, good parts of it dark and tree-covered,” noted Kingham. “I expected to see “Yoda” watching me go by! My secret to success on this course is reading and riding the current. When you can do that, you’ll fly along at seven to eight miles per hour!” 

Kingham’s prior race this year was March 22 on Perche Creek in Columbia, MO where he took a silver medal over the nine-mile course.