GRAYLING, Mich., July 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy is making it possible this year for anyone with a computer or smartphone to follow the most popular canoe race in Michigan.
"About 50,000 spectators gather every year in northeast Michigan for the AuSable River Canoe Marathon. Through our technology sponsorship, for the first time, all the competitors' canoes will be equipped with satellite GPS tracking devices so that fans around the world can see how their favorite paddlers are faring against the competition in near-real time," said William Schoenlein, manager of hydro and renewable generation for Consumers Energy. "The AuSable River, Consumers Energy hydro facilities and this canoe marathon are inextricably linked, and we're pleased to support this significant, fun Michigan event."
More than 80 two-person teams will compete July 25-26 in the AuSable Canoe Marathon, the middle leg of the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing, for a share of $50,000 in cash and prizes. The overnight race is 120 miles from Grayling to Oscoda, Mich. and involves portages at six Consumers Energy hydroelectric plants.
Track the race at www.ausablecanoemarathon.org/content/gps-tracking-map. A mobile app for following the race is available from a link on that web page or directly from app.bluedot.mobi. Followers can even post comments directly to Facebook from teams' pages on the tracking map.
"The competitors are thrilled that their family members and other fans will be able to follow the race virtually. The technology also improves the level of safety for competitors in this grueling event," said Steve Southard, a member of the all-volunteer AuSable River Canoe Marathon organization. "We're grateful that Consumers Energy supports this effort and is raising the level of our event."
In addition to being this year's technology and social media sponsor, Consumers Energy is a presenting sponsor and a sponsor of the Da$h For Ca$h contest for the AuSable River Canoe Marathon. More information about the marathon is available at www.ausablecanoemarathon.org.
The AuSable River Canoe Marathon began in 1947 and is the longest, non-stop canoe only race in North America. The Triple Crown of Canoe Racing also includes competitions on the Susquehanna River in New York and on the St. Maurice River in Quebec.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
LEARN MORE: More information about Consumers Energy hydro operations is available at: www.consumersenergy.com/hydro
More information about the AuSable River Canoe Marathon is available at: www.ausablecanoemarathon.org
Link directly to the race tracking map: www.ausablecanoemarathon.org/content/gps-tracking-map
PHOTOS: View and download photos, including the one on this release, from Consumers Energy's media gallery on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/consumersenergy
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SOURCE Consumers Energy