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The Marathon Dating Game!

(A re-post by request of #DannyPaddle, this article was originally posted on another website which I have since closed down.) Switch paddling male (calm down people, I can paddle both ends of the boat) seeking 120 partner. Have excellent condition Rimer Gillies and beat up Kevlar We-no-nah V1. Three time Marathon participant/finisher, twice stern, once bow. Very familiar with river. Top notch feed team. XC skis extensively with poor technique throughout winter months, will have documented verifiable Garmin/Strava log with a minimum of 120 hours on water between January 1st and Spikes Challenge. C1 record against Dwight Walker in 2017 was 7 wins 0 losses. Seeking capable partner either end of boat for cracking Top 40. Must be equally committed to logging training. Prefer experience but would look at first time partner if from out of state with proper references. NO drama, disease or Hassel paddlers. Please send all inquiries ASAP so that I can put you on my “list” while I take the next three to six months thinking things over.

This…is how the “Marathon Dating Game” goes. Every paddler has a “list” of people they want to do the race with. They all pretty much work the same exact way. Who’s faster than me that can move me up in the world. So, the people in the back of the pack ask and talk to the people in the middle of the pack. Whom then nod politely at the back of the pack paddlers and tell them “let me see how things go, I’m waiting on insert name of top of pack paddler here to decide before I decide”.

I…am awful at this game. My wife and I are high school sweethearts. The first thing I ever said to this stunningly beautiful girl on the bus after Cross Country practice was “move over” so I could sit next to her. Smooth as sandpaper. How, 20+ years later we find ourselves still together is nothing short of spectacular. I would imagine the odds that “move over” pans out like this are slightly worse than getting stuck by lightning.

It’s that time of year again. The text messages come in. Who ya got? Who ya looking at. At a social gathering with paddling friends, the subject came up. It’s unavoidable. Hey, I know the race is TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY DAYS away. Who’s on your list? Which end of the boat do you want to paddle? I think you should ask insert random name here.

For me, it’s the nut worst. It throws me in to this fit of anxiety, which then causes me to send the same texts to a million different people. Who ya got, who’s available out your way, who’s so and so with? Who do you ask? Obviously the goal is to move up. What do you tell the people you’re not interested in. Clearly the answer to this is “let me see how things go, I’m waiting on insert name of top of pack paddler here to decide before I decide”.

So how about the conversation with the faster people you’d like to paddle with.

Uh yeah…Hey Bruce…uh…is it okay if I call you that, or do you prefer Mr. Barton? It’s Bill. You’re kinda like my paddling idol.

This one time I stayed close to you for about 400 yards in the c1. Okay maybe it was more like 250 yards. Okay okay, 150, on the 3rd stern wake. But still.

So I’ve been thinking. How about it. You and me. Marathon 2018.

Bruce Barton said “Hey Bill” one time. I almost fainted.

I came home from the race, and babbled on about it the rest of the day. Bruce Barton knows my name!!!

I would love to do the Marathon with Bruce freaking Barton. I will spare myself the rejection of asking him (*though I’m certain he’s been asked by worse. maybe.)

Or how about the strangers. The people you’ve never met. I’m talking to a paddling friend earlier tonight about “the list”. His suggestion was a rookie female we’ll call “B”. Do you just send this person a Facebook message?

Uh hi. You don’t know me. But Joe said you might be looking for the 120 this year. He said you were supposed to do it with “insert random fast paddler here” last year, but something happened and you didn’t come out. Let me know if you’re interested in paddling with a dude who’s biggest claim to fame is once staying on Bruce Barton’s 3rd stern wake for 150 yards in a C1 race on Mio pond.

*Okay. Maybe I’m a little better than that. Sean Casey and I beat Bruce in Spikes this year. By seconds. We were enjoying a nice leisurely paddle (okay, maybe I was, I’m sure Sean was working a lot harder) when we realized that Bruce and his partner were coming on like a freight train down by Conner’s Flats. I was so giddy about a chance to beat Bruce I almost blew the last corner and gave them a shot to pass us.

**This does not mean I’m a Bruce Barton level paddler. Sean Casey is a god amongst men with a zenlike paddling approach.

Maybe I should just start sending people texts telling them to move over. That seemed to work out okay for me. The joys of the “Marathon Dating Game”.

Who’s on your list? I’m thinking about having a post card made up this year and mailing it to everyone on mine along with return postage. Please check YES or NO and return by said date. Thank you for your cooperation. There’s only TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY DAYS until we go again! (In case you were wondering...the paddler named "B" cracked the top 40 after I chickened out asking them to race. I've now added an older JD Pro to the fleet. And managed to hang on to Bruce's stern wave in the C1 for like seven minutes. Progress. Plus it's my understanding that someone might have taken this article a little too seriously and actually put together a candy basket with a card asking them to Marathon. The Marathon Dating Game. The next Hallmark holiday.)

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