Marsh Mash

The Marsh Mash Canoe and Kayak Race is the 4th oldest Marathon Canoe Race in Ontario.

The race attracts Canoeists, Kayakers, Stand Up Paddleboarders, and Outrigger Paddlers from all over the province!

Date: Saturday, May 11, 2024
Location: Sovereign Grace Church (1466 5th Sideroad, Bradford)

Agenda

Athlete Check-in: 8:00-9:00 am
Athlete Briefing: 9:15 am
Races start at 10:00am

Sanctioned By: Ontario Marathon Canoe Kayak Racing Association 

2024 Registration will open in April

Race Classes 

24 km

This is a class for competitive canoeists and kayakers. The paddlers will have been training to complete this course and will be paddling in competitive canoes and kayaks. This race is also a World Team Qualifier for Senior Canoeists and Kayakers (ICF, C1, C2, K1, K2).  This is not a class for recreational boats or recreational paddlers.

Suggested time: Less than 3.5h

  • A: Senior ICF K1 and World Team Qualifier Open
  • B: Marathon C2 Open* this race is for 2 paddlers - each racer must register separately  
  • C: Marathon C2 Mixed (M&F)* this race is for 2 paddlers - each racer must register separately  
18 km 

This is a class for competitive canoers and kayakers in canoes and kayaks that are faster than recreational canoes and kayaks. This is not a class for recreational paddlers. Junior paddlers wanting to qualify in an ICF class that is not listed will be placed into an appropriate class. 
Suggested time: Less than 2.5h

  • D: Junior ICF K1 Open (ages 16 years and under)
  • E: Junior ICF K1 Women (ages 16 years and under)
  • F: K1 Open
  • H: Marathon C1 Open 
9.3 km

These are classes for recreational paddlers. A class could be split into two tiers based on racer skill and boat type at the discretion of the race organizer.
Suggested time: Less than 1.75h

  • I: Recreational C2 Open* this race is for 2 paddlers - each racer must register separately  
  • J: Recreational K1 Open
  • K: Recreational K1 Women
  • L: Recreational OC1 Open (outrigger) 
  • M: Recreational Stand-up Paddleboard Open

 

5.0 km

For novice paddlers – particularly young paddlers. Recreational canoes or kayaks.

Suggested time: Less than 1.5h

  • N: Recreational Kayak Open
  • O: Adult & Child Open (registration fee per boat)
  • P: Recreational Stand-up Paddleboard Open

Legend:
C1 - Canoe, 1 paddler
C2 - Canoe, 2 paddlers
K1 - Kayak, 1 paddler 

All participants must register in advance online. No day of registration. 

2024 Registration Fees

  • Adult Paddlers (18+ years): $30.00
  • Junior Paddlers (6-17 years): $20.00
  • OMCKRA 1-day Membership: $8.00

More Information

Results
Marsh Mash 2023 Results
Course Map

 2024 Course Maps will be available in early May. 

 

Directions

Sovereign Grace Church
1466 5th Side Road
Bradford ON
L3Z 2A6

 

If you are travelling from Toronto
Take Hwy-400 north to Canal Road. Turn left on Canal Road and proceed west approx. 1.5 km to 5th Sideroad (Rupke Road), turn right on 5th Sideroad (Rupke Road), and the Church will be located on your left hand side.  

 
If you are travelling from Barrie
Take Hwy 400 south to Canal Road. Turn left on Canal Road and proceed west approx. 1.5 km to 5th Sideroad (Rupke Road), turn right on 5th Sideroad (Rupke Road), and the Church will be located on your left hand side.  

Boating Safety
  1. Paddlers should ensure that their watercraft is in excellent shape for racing, and that they are totally confident in paddling it in a variety of water/wind/weather conditions.
  2. Each boat should have a bailer and each paddler should have a whistle. 
  3. Every paddler MUST either wear a PFD, or have one  in the boat. The PFD MUST be properly fitted for the paddler. A lifebelt will not classify as a PFD.
  4. Paddlers under 14 years of age MUST wear a PFD.
  5. Non swimmers and weak swimmers MUST wear a PFD.
  6. Inflatables in good order are permitted.
  7. Paddlers must attend the race briefing and pay close attention to the information given to paddlers by the race organizer and the starting official.
  8. In case of a flip (capsizing), stay with the canoe/kayak, check with your partner, and swim the canoe to shore. If you leave the course without finishing, let the race organizer know that you have pulled out. Read the OMCKRA Safety Policy (It will be posted a the race site).
About Marsh Mash

The Marsh Mash Canoe and Kayak Race is the 4th oldest Marathon Canoe Race in Ontario. It is just one of a number of Marathon Canoe Races that are sanctioned by the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayak Racing Association (OMCKRA). The race attracts Canoeists, Kayakers, Stand Up Paddleboarders, and Outrigger Paddlers from all over the province. There are a great number of classes and a choice of Race Distances. The new canal (that surrounds the Holland Marsh) provides one of the best canoe racing courses in Ontario. It is a very safe course, and we are extremely safety conscious. There are classes for paddlers with very little canoe racing experience, and there are classes for very competitive paddlers. 


The course itself provides great stretches of open water (the canal is approx 2.8m deep throughout). There are no rocks, no rapids, no portages - there may be a few weeds. All races start and finish at the church, where there is free parking and access to washrooms.

 

Sanctioned by the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayak Racing Association (OMCKRA).

Marsh Mash History

In July of 1979, Janice Matichuck and Peter Puddicombe organized and ran the first Marsh Mash Canoe and Kayak Race. While training for the race, and setting up the course, they found the weeds to be so thick that they literally had to “Mash” their way through – hence the name the Marsh Mash. The race started at the Highway 11 bridge and the Holland River. The course was one complete lap of the canal that surrounds the Holland Marsh – a distance of approx. 27.5 km. The event was supported by local Bradford merchants, the South Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority, and the Moro family from the Holland Marsh. The following year Janice and Peter moved away, and the Conservation Authority ran the race. Peter Seibert from the Conservation Authority was very supportive of the race. Robert Alsop did the bulk of the work for the Conservation Authority. In those early years framed native prints were the prizes. In the mid eighties the Conservation Authority suffered some serious funding issues, and were not able to provide assistance to run the race. Iain Craig, who had been involved from the start, took over the organization and running of the race. By that time the race date had been moved into mid June (an attempt to beat the weeds). The race start/finish location moved to the Portuguese Cultural Centre on Canal Road. 

 

In May of 1985 a tornado ripped through the Marsh, leaving incredible amounts of debris in the canal. Amazingly the Drainage Commission had the canal clear in time for the Marsh Mash. In the late eighties the single Canoe (the C1) became a popular class.

 

By the early nineties the course was changed to use only the north part of the canal – it was too difficult to keep the entire course clear. The race continued to attract many of the top Marathon Canoe and Kayak racers in the province.


In 2001 the Marsh Mash found a new home. The start and finish was at the Springdale Christian Reformed Church (about 1.5 km west of Highway 400 on Canal Road.), now the Sovereign Grace Church. This new location, with a large parking lot, washrooms, an indoor registration area, and a kitchen for preparing refreshments, worked out extremely well. By 2006, the race date was changed into May – to avoid conflicts with an increasing number of Dragon Boat and Outrigger races.

 

Holding the race in May meant that there were fewer weeds. By 2007, the Marsh Mash became a World Team Qualifier. Young kayakers who wanted to represent Canada at the World Marathon Canoe and Kayak Championships, had to compete for a position on the team by competing in a Qualifying Race.  The Marsh Mash continues to be a World Team Qualifier.

 

A highlight of the 2013 race was having two Olympic Medalist attend and compete at the event.  Mark Oldershaw, Bronze Medalist in the C1 1000m at the 2012 Summer Olympics, and Adam van Koeverden, Silver Medalist in the K1 1000m at the 2012 Summer Olympics.  

 

In 2019 there were 100 registered paddlers. The number of Stand Up Paddleboard competitors is increasing. There were no races in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

 

Starting in 2022, several classes will paddle the 28 km course that goes around the Marsh – just as they did when the race first started in 1979. The Race continues to be a World Team Qualifier.

 

The race continues to operate in a partnership with Iain Craig and his family, and the BWG Community Services Department. 

 

For race specific questions, please contact craigers@rogers.com or 905 967 3108.

Address: Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, 100 Dissette St., Unit 7&8, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2A7

Phone: 905-775-5366,

By GHD Digital