Tackling the 90 Miler

Ellie Condgen is a 90-Miler finisher. As a member of the Paul Smith's Marathon Canoe Team, she knows a thing or two about training for a race like this. This is her story. 

Ellie Congden

I paddled the 90 Miler with my teammate Randall, who was chosen as my partner by our coach Jon. It was a great match. My favorite memory from the race happened in the last quarter-mile as Randall and I paddled toward the finish line. We were in a dead-heat sprint race with another boat, and I gave it everything I had to finish ahead of them – and we did!

For me, the best part of the race was at the end of each day when a milk truck delivered free chocolate milk to the racers. It was the best thing to drink after a long day of paddling – especially after I popped my knee during a portage. I slid it back in, but still, it was rough. When we finished, Randall and I high-fived, took the number from the boat and went in search of chocolate milk. I'm telling you, that's the best stuff to drink after long paddles!

Now that I'm a 90 Miler finisher, I have more time to paddle some of my favorite spots in the Adirondack Lakes Region such as Floodwood Pond Loop and the Hoel Pond Area. Both are secluded and relaxing places to get out on the water. I get asked a lot which I prefer, canoeing or kayaking, but the truth is I'm not partial to either – I love them both and either way, I always have fun.

My top 3 tips for paddlers thinking of entering the 90 Miler:

  • Train for it – Don't go into the race thinking that if you paddled a couple times in your life you will be fine, because you need much, much more than that.
  • Hydration is key – Just because you're surrounded by water doesn't mean you won't get dehydrated.
  • Prepare for the pain – Tape some ibuprofen to the inside wall of your boat, you never know when you might get a headache. It is a mental sport as well.

I'll be out there this fall racing again. Keep an eye out for my canoe; I'll be the one charging for the finish line!


About the Author …
Ellie Congden
I am from Camden, NY and I attend Paul Smith's College of the Adirondacks. I raced my first 90 Miler in 2013, but it won’t be my last because even though it was CRAZY – it was an incredible, unforgettable experience.
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