Paddle and Portage returns to Madison, WI


Water you doing this Saturday? | Photo by @paddleandportage

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Grab your oars and running shoes, it’s Paddle and Portage time.

After a two-year hiatus, one of the arguably weirdest races in Madison returns this weekend, Sat., June 18, for its iconic row and run across the Isthmus.

🛶 What’s this all aboat?

A tradition spanning back 42+ years, the lake-to-land-to-lake race is a 2-mile paddle, 0.75-mile portage, and concludes with another 2-mile paddle.

Location-wise, the ~5-mile race consists of a paddle in Lake Mendota, followed by a portage across the Isthmus through Tenney Park, followed by another paddle down the Yahara River to Lake Monona at Olbrich Park.


A reely good race. | Photo by @jyo_thathekile

🛶 Where do I grab my paddles?

There are two ways to race: competition and fun. If you’re in it to win it, the timed sets sail at 9:30 a.m. with prizes on the line. If you’re just here for the post-race beer, untimed heats allow for wheels and carts during the portage portion.

Canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards are all welcome for solo and duo entries. Need a canoe? No worries, rent one from WI River Outings. All participants receive a t-shirt, post-race drink, and food voucher for the food carts, along with potential bragging rights.

🛶 How can I watch?

Grab the lawn chairs for a front-row seat along Tenney Beach to watch the paddlers or meet the teams at Olbrich Park for a nail-biting finish. Time to seas the day.

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