Texas Water Safari participants deserve accolades

By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 14, 2010 at 2:14 a.m.

The Texas Water Safari, known as the "World's Toughest Canoe Race," marked its 47th year this month. The 260-mile race down the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers has seen numerous participants through the years.

We praise these brave souls for the endurance required to finish the race, much more for those who win in whatever category entered.

We've seen finishers at Seadrift with bruised ribs, blistered hands and sans 20 or more body pounds from the start - mostly body fluids lost through the vigorous workout in extreme heat and humidity. And we've heard strange and mysterious tales these racers have shared - experienced in those lonely spots along the race path.

After more than 30 or 40 hours, many race participants hallucinate - they see cities with lights, people along the riverbanks who suddenly disappear, food floating in the air and other stranger scenes. During the night, swarms of insects attack, snakes swim along the top of the river's surface - sometimes in the moon's glow - and what appear to be logs often are alligators.

The race requires a participant to finish in 100 hours. Those who do finish receive the Texas Water Safari patch. However, many do not make it or drop out long before 100 hours. Some try so hard, they break their bones. One year, a participant broke his ribs paddling so intensely.

What we've noticed this year is a second generation of racers. These new participants have parents who have, during the past 20 years, signed up for the grueling trek every year.

Two surnames come to mind: Mynar and Stafford. The Mynars have raced for more than 20 years and Stafford is a regular participant, as well - both have second-generation racers in the race now.

Besides this passing of the baton, the race now attracts international participants. This year's winner had team members from Belize. We think more and more of the world's athletes who are into extreme sports will discover this difficult and challenging race.

Why do they subject themselves to such an extreme physical event? For most participants, it's the adventure of it all and the bragging rights to say, "I did it." But now it also seems to be a family tradition.

Again, we commend all Texas Water Safari racers for their achievements. We marvel at the workout these adventurers go through.

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



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