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posted: 6/1/2017 1:00 AM

Images: #TBT Gallery revisits Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon

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The design of the canoe hasn't changed much in centuries. It's a simple vessel propelled by one or a pair of people with paddles not attached to the boat. It can glide silently with the current of a river and portage, or be carried over land in an effort to avoid an obstacle like a dam or rocks in the waterway.

In 1957, 25 canoes made an 18.5-mile trek on the Des Plaines River from Oak Spring Road north of Route 176 in Libertyville, to Dam #2 south of Euclid Avenue in Mount Prospect, to complete the first Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon.

This year, the 60th event took place on Sunday, May 21, on the river. As many as 600 boats started the race and the quickest finished in about 2 1/2 hours. This was the first year that paddlers didn't have to portage to avoid dams in the river, as they have been removed.

Got an idea for a suburban #TBT Gallery? Share your ideas and photos with us at tbt@dailyherald.com. Share your favorite and memorable #TBT photos with us on Instagram using #tbtsuburbs.

A crowd gathers to watch the start of the race in 1977.
A crowd gathers to watch the start of the race in 1977.
Daily Herald file photo
A sunny, warm day in May, 1972 drew competitors to the race in bathing suits.
A sunny, warm day in May, 1972 drew competitors to the race in bathing suits.
Daily Herald file photo
Most of the 18.5 miles of the Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon winds through protected forest preserves, as this 1975 photo depicts.
Most of the 18.5 miles of the Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon winds through protected forest preserves, as this 1975 photo depicts.
Daily Herald file photo
People gather near the starting line on Oak Spring Rd. in Libertyville on what appears to be a cool day in 1968.
People gather near the starting line on Oak Spring Rd. in Libertyville on what appears to be a cool day in 1968.
Daily Herald file photo
A contestant relaxes before the start of the 18.5-mile event in 1970.
A contestant relaxes before the start of the 18.5-mile event in 1970.
Daily Herald file photo
Cars line the streets so their passengers can watch the boaters take on a dam in 1975.
Cars line the streets so their passengers can watch the boaters take on a dam in 1975.
Daily Herald file photo
This pair decided to take on a dam without having to portage in 1970.
This pair decided to take on a dam without having to portage in 1970.
Daily Herald file photo
Wearing leather gloves was probably a good idea for this paddler in 1970.
Wearing leather gloves was probably a good idea for this paddler in 1970.
Daily Herald file photo
These competitors charged straight into the white water churned up by a dam in the 1976 event.
These competitors charged straight into the white water churned up by a dam in the 1976 event.
Daily Herald file photo
An aluminum canoe called the Tipsy Gypsy awaits it's passengers for the race in 1968.
An aluminum canoe called the Tipsy Gypsy awaits it's passengers for the race in 1968.
Daily Herald file photo
Most canoes are light enough to carry overhead, as this young man does in 1970.
Most canoes are light enough to carry overhead, as this young man does in 1970.
Daily Herald file photo
Some boaters had better luck than others in the rushing water in 1976.
Some boaters had better luck than others in the rushing water in 1976.
Daily Herald file photo
Some just held on tight and hoped for the best outcome as they glided over the dams in 1976.
Some just held on tight and hoped for the best outcome as they glided over the dams in 1976.
Daily Herald file photo
Oak Spring Rd., north of Route 176 in Libertyville, is crowded with cars and boats near the start of the 1970 race.
Oak Spring Rd., north of Route 176 in Libertyville, is crowded with cars and boats near the start of the 1970 race.
Daily Herald file photo
This gentleman preferred to watch the race from his folding lawn chair in a forest preserve near Wheeling in 1971.
This gentleman preferred to watch the race from his folding lawn chair in a forest preserve near Wheeling in 1971.
Daily Herald file photo
The photographer used a low angle, downriver from a dam, to show kids leaning over the river on tree trunks to watch competitors paddle past in 1971.
The photographer used a low angle, downriver from a dam, to show kids leaning over the river on tree trunks to watch competitors paddle past in 1971.
Daily Herald file photo
Canoes are framed in a concrete bridge over the Des Plaines River during the 1971 race.
Canoes are framed in a concrete bridge over the Des Plaines River during the 1971 race.
Daily Herald file photo
Daily Herald file photo Racers probably enjoyed the 18.5-mile paddle in the sun in 1972.
Daily Herald file photo Racers probably enjoyed the 18.5-mile paddle in the sun in 1972.
A puppy takes the front seat for a long ride on the Des Plaines River in 1972.
A puppy takes the front seat for a long ride on the Des Plaines River in 1972.
Daily Herald file photo
Dams were a major obstacle on the course until this year. All the dams that forced paddlers to portage or take their chance at riding over the dangerous obstacle, have been removed.
Dams were a major obstacle on the course until this year. All the dams that forced paddlers to portage or take their chance at riding over the dangerous obstacle, have been removed.
Daily Herald file photo, May 1975
In 1977, some boats carried three passengers.
In 1977, some boats carried three passengers.
Daily Herald file photo
People on shore watch casually as a capsized kayaker clings to his boat in the white water in 1978.
People on shore watch casually as a capsized kayaker clings to his boat in the white water in 1978.
Daily Herald file photo
The finish line in Mount Prospect marks the end of the trip in 1975.
The finish line in Mount Prospect marks the end of the trip in 1975.
Daily Herald file photo
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