From a local perspective, this August long weekend was a relatively quiet one when it came to the world of sports.
There was truthfully only one major event on the go, but it was an intriguing one as the Sudbury Canoe Club and the Northern Water Sports Centre (NWSC) played host to the Canadian National Canoe Marathon Championship.
Some 40 paddlers from right across the country, including a healthy delegation from Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Southern Ontario, gathered in Sudbury for three days of competition.
Races were organized in a strategic manner over the course of the three days, recognizing that the enjoyment of water sports is often a family affair. "What we try and do is capitalize on opportunities for the athletes to run in several races over the course of the weekend," noted event co-organizer Aaron Hutchings.
"For example, we will mix up the men's C2 and the women's C2, so that a couple can share the same boat and do a different race later on." That type of flexibility was evident throughout the entire event, including handling the curve balls that Mother Nature felt compelled to throw into the mix.
“The weather compromised the course on Saturday, so we had to make some last minute changes,” said Hutchings. “We were going to circumnavigate Ramsey Lake and go into South Bay and around some islands and such, but because we had such a large fetch on the water, we were getting some pretty turbulent conditions on the south shore.
“We adjusted so that we were basically going along the north shore all the way down to Moonlight Beach, turning around and coming back, to provide the paddlers a little more shelter.”
Though the majority of participants were from out of town, the locals were treated to some rather unique nuances that would have differed notably from their standard visit to the NWSC.
"Some of the pro racers have offered up their boats to local people so that they can compete with high end boats, which adds another twist to things," said Hutchings. "The biggest thing for people here is that it opens some doors and opens their eyes as to the possibilities outside of the city to participate in the sport.
"We've got a couple of events that we run here throughout the year - the Sudbury Canoe Marathon, part of the Beaton Classic - but this does show local people that there are events outside of this area that can provide some pretty colourful and fun courses, and events to take part in."
This certainly is not news to many of the out-of-towners, including 59 year old Mississauga resident Darryl Bohm, a native of South Africa and no stranger to Sudbury, competing in a handful of events in this region, including the recent kayak polo championships.
"I'm a lifelong paddler, starting as a child in grade seven or eight, and I've been paddling ever since," said Bohm. "South Africa is similar to here in Canada, with the lakes and rivers that we paddled."
Beyond the waterways, however, the two countries feature more contrasts than similarities when it comes to this sport.
"In Canada, the kayaking is mainly focused on sprints," said Bohm. "But the marathon is very popular in South Africa, in Europe, in Australia. It's a nice long race and it builds up your stamina very well.
"And the other nations, other than Canada and America, are not very keen on the canoe," Bohm added. "But the water is warmer in those regions, and in the kayak, you tend to get soaked. In the canoe, you don't get as wet. With the colder waters over here, the canoe is the ideal boat for the longer distances."
Making his second trip to Sudbury in the past few weeks, the avid paddler who is planning on attending the World Marathon Canoe Championships in his native South Africa later this year was quick to sing the praises of the Nickel Basin.
“I know this place very well,” said the Master Men II ICFK champion, posting a time of 1:21.52, and finishing first the next day in a K2 event.
“It’s an enjoyable course and that’s what’s great with the marathon, you take the water as it comes. It was a little rough yesterday. But you’ve got a lovely lake here, great for paddling.”
As for his off-season from paddling, Bohm will hold that off until the very last second.
"We'll paddle all the way through until the ice forms," he said with a laugh.
Following are complete results from the 2017 Canadian National Canoe Marathon Championship:
Saturday, Aug. 5
Senior Men - ICF K-1 - Peter Boylan (Sudbury) - 1:20:31
Master Men I- ICFK-1 - Mark Shouldice (Shallow Lake) - 1:18:54
2nd - Shawn Bruins (Lively) - 1:21:38
3rd - Vadim Lawrence (Toronto) - 1:21:56
4th - Andrei Zoubakine (Richmond Hill) - 1:34:10
Master Men II - ICFK-1 - Darryl Bohm (Missisauga) - 1:21:52
Master Men III - ICFK-1 - Chris Helyar (Toronto) - 1:28:10
Master Women II- ICFK-1 - Rory Bohm (Missisauga) - 1:26:34
Master Men II - USCAC-1 - Mike Hayes (Elmira) - 1:49:08
Master Men III - USCA C1 - Don Stoneman (Cambridge) - 1:34:39
2nd - Stan Anusiewicz (Brights Grove) - 1:34:48
Master Women II- USCAC-1 - Cathy Rae (Saskatoon) - 2:00:51
Sunday, Aug. 6
Mixed Senior Marathon C2 - Christine Archer & Oliver McMillan - 1:57:19
Mixed Master II Marathon C2 - Inger Pors & Don Stoneman - 1:47:41
Mixed Master III Marathon C2 - Liz Loek & Dragan Olajdzija - 1:39:10
2nd - Kate Germin & Randy Chapman - 1:42:42
3rd - Cathy Rae & Stan Anusiewicz - 1:42:52
Men Senior Kayak K-2 - Peter Boylan & William Boylan - 1:42:19
Men Master II Kayak K-2 - Darryl Bohm & Vadim Lawrence - 1:35:43
Men Senior Stock C2 - David Ahong & Jordan Hotta - 1:54:58
2nd - John Larmer & Buddy Green - 1:58:15
Men Master II Stock C2 - Tim Turner & Pat Turner - 1:44:03
2nd - Randy Donato & Andrew Noob - 1:59:16
Monday, Aug. 7
Senior Men - Marathon C2 - Oliver McMillan & Dean Coulson - 1:43:01
Master Men II - Marathon C2 - Shawn Bruins & Robert Gregoris - 1:44:31
2nd - Mike Hayes & Don Stoneman - 1:49:37
Master Men III - Marathon C2 - Randy Chapman & Stan Anusiewicz - 1:45:30
Master Women II - Marathon C2 - Inger Pors & Kate Germin - 1:49:58
2nd - Tamara Flannigan & Laura Young - 2:20:11
Mixed Master II - Marathon Stock - Carol Zimbalatti & Mark Swain - 2:02:05