Kayak­ers cre­at­ing a river of fundrais­ing cash

The Riverine Herald - - GAME ON SUMMER -

A ‘‘MINIA­TURE city’’ of kayak­ers is on the way to waters near you.

On Novem­ber 21, a squad of more than 550 tired kayak­ers and their 800 crew mem­bers will make their way to the banks of the Mur­ray River at Echuca.

It is part of the 50th an­niver­sary of the Mas­sive Mur­ray Pad­dle (for­merly the Mur­ray Marathon), where the pad­dlers make their way from Yar­ra­wonga to Swan Hill in just five days.

The huge 404km jour­ney has fol­lowed the same course ev­ery year since its in­cep­tion in 1969, when there were just 10 pad­dlers tak­ing part.

On the day the pad­dlers ar­rive in Echuca, when the group ar­rives at the Vic­to­ria Park boat ramp, of­fi­cials will be in at­ten­dance rep­re­sent­ing the Yorta Yorta Na­tion, Vic Po­lice, ma­rine res­cue as well as Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices.

There will also be a smok­ing cer­e­mony and Yorta Yorta dancers.

Pad­dlers are ex­pected to ar­rive from 2pm un­til 5pm on the day.

The MMP has grown ev­ery year, and is now re­garded as one of the fore­front long-dis­tance pad­dling races in the world.

Part of the race has al­ways been about fundrais­ing — and since a change of own­er­ship three years ago, rac­ers have been able to pick the com­mu­nity ser­vice or char­ity of their choice to raise funds for.

In that time, nearly $300,000 has been raised in the past two years; with the 2018 edi­tion ex­pected to raise $250,000.

Among the 550 pad­dlers tak­ing to the wa­ter for the 50th an­niver­sary edi­tion will be 180 dif­fer­ent craft; ca­noes, kayaks, out­rig­gers, sin­gle stand-up pad­dle­boards, a dou­ble stand-up pad­dle­board and a 10-per­son dragon boat.

There are 130 dif­fer­ent teams tak­ing part, with in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors com­ing from New Zealand, as well as fur­ther afield in USA and Scot­land.

The largest team tak­ing to the wa­ter is Dun­gu­layin Mileka, a 100-strong team with 10 dou­ble kayaks, rep­re­sent­ing Vic­to­ria Po­lice and at risk In­dige­nous youth from re­gional Vic­to­ria and NSW. The Mas­sive Mur­ray Pad­dle: Novem­ber 19: Yar­ra­wonga to Tocumwal

Novem­ber 20: Tocumwal to Pic­nic Point

Novem­ber Echuca

Novem­ber 22: Echuca to Tor­rum­barry

Novem­ber 23: Murra­bit to Swan Hill. 21: Pic­nic Point to

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