Many happy returns for the paddlers of the 65th edition of the Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon

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Sunny skies, calm winds and cool temperatures on Sunday would be cause for celebration all on their own on Sunday morning for competitors in the 65th annual Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon.

But for this year’s paddlers, the ideal conditions were just a dessert for the main course — the long-awaited return of the beloved race.

Dozens of canoeists and kayakers hit the river early Sunday morning in Libertyville, to begin the 18.5-mile course that ends at Mount Prospect. Some paddlers took part in the event’s “minithon”, a 5.25-mile race that finished at the same location in Mount Prospect after starting in Potawatomi Woods north of Dundee Road in Wheeling.

It was the first marathon since 2019, after the 2020 and 2021 races were canceled due to pandemic concerns.

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