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Are You Strong Enough to Survive San Marcos’ ‘Texas Water Safari’?

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For the past 53 years, hundreds of people pour into San Marcos the second Saturday of June to willingly participate in what has been dubbed ‘The World’s Toughest Boat Race’.  Not only do participants have to deal with obstacles that include alligators, fire ants, mosquitoes and snakes, but they also have to contend with over 260 miles of rapid rushing water. San Marcos’ Texas Water Safari is a grueling water course that can (and will) make a grown man cry.

The first official Texas Water Safari was held in June of 1963, the year after Frank Brown and Bill “Big Willie” George navigated the same route themselves via non-motorized boat. It has continuously grown in popularity over the years, and hosted over 75 teams in 2015. Starting off at the headwaters of the San Marcos River, participants then merge onto the Guadalupe River. From here, they must traverse the famous Guadalupe until they reach the Gulf of Mexico. All within the 100 hour time limit. Many competitors admit that the mental aspect of the race is the most taxing of all, with hallucinations not being an uncommon occurrence. As if the snakes and fire ants weren’t bad enough!

There are two other aspects to the Texas Water Safari, the Texas River Marathon and the Texas Junior Water Safari. The Texas River Marathon, held in May, is a preliminary of sorts for the Water Safari, where starting positions are determined (although it is not mandatory to attend). The Junior Water Safari is a 16 mile sprint race for those who would like a taste of what the actual Water Safari entails.

This documentary, presented by Yeti® Coolers, gives the viewer an inside look into the arduous challenge.

The rough terrain of the Texas Hill Country has always been common knowledge. Now our waterways can be added to that distinction. Make sure to visit the Texas Water Safari website for requirements, fees, deadlines and other useful information:

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