Mid-American Canoe & Kayak Race returns to Fox Valley in June

The Mid-American Canoe & Kayak race returns to the Fox River June 5. This year marks the first race in five years.

The Mid-American Canoe and Kayak Race returns to the Fox River on Sunday, June 5, for the first time in five years.

According to a news release from the Fox Valley Park District, the race was last run in 2017. The previous four races were canceled because of dangerous water levels and flow rates on the Fox River (2018, 2019) and pandemic-related concerns (2020, 2021).

“We’re determined to get these boats back in the water,” said JD Ostergaard, facility manager at Prisco Community Center and coordinator of the 2022 race. “No matter the circumstance, canceling an event is always the last resort, and it’s demoralizing for organizers who understand the special meaning the Mid-Am holds for many families throughout the community and beyond. The tradition of the race and its importance to so many serve as natural motivators for us to deliver another day on the water.”

This year’s race offers two race lengths. Paddlers can choose from start lines in St. Charles (10 miles) or Batavia (6 miles), both finishing with a post-race lunch celebration at Prisco Community Center/McCullough Park in Aurora.

Registration and canoe/kayak rental should be completed online. Race packet pickup will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 3, at Prisco Community Center. There are 10 canoe divisions and eight kayak divisions, as well as a noncompetitive, recreational category. The top three boats in each division receive an award.

“There are options for anyone who wants to be a part of this community event,” Ostergaard said.

“We’ve seen the full spectrum of racers,” he said. “Certainly, we’ll get the super-competitive group that’s looking for those personal-best times, but we’ll also see families doing a themed paddle … all the way down to decorating their boats. It’s just a really fun way to spend an early summer morning. The Mid-Am tradition spans generations.”