SEADRIFT — Erin Magee didn’t know if she was going to be able to participate in the Texas Water Safari this year.
The 55-year-old had a breast implant rupture in April and it seemed that taking part in the 260-mile canoe race for the 23rd time was out of the picture.
After being cleared medically in the middle of May, Magee wanted to challenge herself yet again on the travel from San Marcos to Seadrift.
“This is probably the least amount of time I have trained for the race,” Magee said. “With my medical condition I didn’t have time to, but I have done this race a long time, and I have trained enough throughout the years. I jumped right in and thought, ‘Here we go again.’”
Magee arrived at Seadrift around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, just in time for the Texas Water Safari banquet that took place in the afternoon.
The San Marcos resident finished with a time of 72 hours and 8 minutes for second place in the solo unlimited woman division and 32nd place overall.
It was her 18th finish overall and her 15th solo finish, which became a Texas Water Safari record for the most solo finishes by a male or female.
Magee walked with her captain, Grady Hicks, to the stage to receive her plaque and a round of applause from everyone attending the awards ceremony.
“It was just kind of by accident,” said Magee, who has worked at Texas State University for more than 20 years in different roles. “I was just here to have a good time.”
Being all by herself in her canoe named ‘Just One Woman’ didn’t bother her at all.
“I don’t really focus on that,” Magee said. “We’re all really by ourselves in life, and this is no different when you’re on the water. You go out there and execute, and the key is to never stop even when it gets tough.”
With low water levels this year, it took time for Magee to set her pace and have consistent paddling.
“You were out there longer by default with the way the water was,” Magee said. “You just had to go with the current. You’re doing the same thing that you’re always doing.”
Magee admits that there were several checkpoints that were challenging, including the Swing Bridge and Saltwater Barrier.
Both checkpoints had several long jams that made it difficult to move canoes through.
Magee body wasn’t aching Tuesday and felt fine after eating fish, shrimp and some chocolate cake.
You can expect to see Magee back for the Texas Water Safari next year.
“I don’t know why people keep coming out to do the race, but I come for the challenge,” Magee said. “I do this challenge for the survival. In life, we’re all trying to survive and we go through obstacles every day. I plan on coming back next year and doing it all over again.”
Update on area competitors
Two area teams remain in the Texas Water Safari.
Martha Adame and Leticia Ruiz were projected to reach the Barrier checkpoint at midnight Tuesday. The sisters are looking to finish their first Texas Water Safari.
Wharton paddlers William Manske and Travis Johnson were projected to reach Seadrift checkpoint at 9:31 a.m. Wednesday.
Victorians Michael Felchak and Rhyan Staten were out of the race at the Victoria checkpoint Tuesday.
The deadline to finish the race in Seadrift is 1 p.m. Wednesday.