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Advocate editorial board opinion: Race gives paddlers chance to go distance

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 14, 2012 at 1:14 a.m.


Once again, the Texas Water Safari has come to an end. And we would like to congratulate race organizers for reaching the landmark 50-year point, along with the largest number of participants in the race's history.

We are saddened by the tragic death of one of the event's racers. We understand that the boat racing community is a close-knit group and we express our condolences to racers, as well as the family and friends of Brad Ellis. We know he will be missed.

But despite this tragic event, the race was able to carry on with moments of triumph, from the winning team for the fourth consecutive year in boat No. 314, to all the racers who made it to the finish within the set time period. This is a grueling test of endurance and those racers who made it through deserve much praise and congratulations.

The Texas Water Safari was listed by Forbes in 2005 as one of the top ten toughest endurance races in the world, making the same list as the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska and the Vendée Globe sailing race that circles the world.

And this year was truly a landmark year. A total of 141 boats, the most boats ever entered, started the race in San Marcos. And while the 1997 record time of 29 hours and 46 minutes still stands, the winning team managed to shave off almost 90 minutes from their previous winning time of 39 hours and 51 minutes in 2011. And a record 94 boats made it to the finish this year.

We applaud the organizers of the Texas Water Safari, as well as all the brave souls who chose to compete. This is a good example of a well-organized event with safety guidelines spelled out, including rules requiring life preservers, aid kits, emergency flares and tracking devices. In this modern world, where people are hunting for the next big challenge or thrill, it is amazing that such a grueling race courses straight through the Crossroads.

Keep up the good work, Texas Water Safari. We look forward to many more years of amazing competition.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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