Con­quer­ing pad­dle for char­ity

The Cobram Courier - - SPORT - By Pa­trick Tansey

Some peo­ple go to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths for char­ity, which sums up Louise Green­wood and Fiona Boyer.

The two mates are fresh (or weary) off the gru­elling Mas­sive Mur­ray Pad­dle — a 404 km race down the Mur­ray, test­ing stamina, de­sire and re­solve.

The rea­son for putting them­selves through the lay­ers of pain? A phys­i­cal chal­lenge the duo set at the start of the year, the other to help na­tive an­i­mals.

Green­wood is a vol­un­teer and fos­ter carer for wildlife res­cue shel­ter Dutch Thunder in Koonoomoo.

‘‘When Dutch Thunder started the Save Our Koalas Pro­ject, Fiona and my­self de­cided any fundrais­ing we would make through the race would go to the pro­ject,’’ Green­wood said.

‘‘We chose the name Hop­ping Mad for our team be­cause ev­ery time we were out on the river we would see kan­ga­roos and wal­la­bies around and we thought we were pretty mad to at­tempt the Mas­sive Mur­ray Pad­dle, be­cause we strug­gled in a 4 km race back in Jan­uary.’’

The long­est pad­dle the Co­bramBa­rooga Ca­noe Club mem­bers had done be­fore the big race was the 50 km Echuca mini, so it was brave to dive head first into the 404 km chal­lenge.

‘‘We joined the club in Jan­uary and our coach back then said we should have a go at the Mas­sive Mur­ray Pad­dle and do the full dis­tance as a chal­lenge, so we’ve spent the year train­ing for it,’’ Green­wood said.

Things did not ex­actly get off to the best start for the ea­ger pair.

‘‘I put my back out on the Wed­nes­day be­fore it, so I spent the Thurs­day and Fri­day get­ting it put back in by the chiro and I was a bit un­sure if I’d be able to par­tic­i­pate at all,’’ Green­wood said.

‘‘One of the seats in the kayak broke five min­utes be­fore the start of the race so we had to pull over and quickly tape it all up be­fore it started.

‘‘It didn’t get off to the best start but they were the only dis­as­ters that hap­pened thank­fully,’’ she said.

Boyer said although the race was ex­tremely de­mand­ing, she rel­ished the op­por­tu­nity to test her­self.

‘‘It was a chal­lenge, but I loved it, I thought it was just fan­tas­tic. All the other teams were re­ally friendly and there was such a great at­mos­phere among com­peti­tors,’’ she said.

‘‘It was re­ally tough though. Phys­i­cally, you had to push through pain bar­ri­ers that you didn’t even know ex­isted be­fore just to keep on pad­dling and, from a men­tal stand­point, the days were so long you had to break down each leg into small sec­tions just to get through it.’’

De­spite bat­tling in­juries dur­ing the race, Boyer had re­cov­ered rel­a­tively well.

‘‘I pulled up bet­ter than I ex­pected. I had a mas­sage straight af­ter it which was pretty much tor­ture but I’m still in one piece which is the main thing,’’ she said.

Boyer re­called one par­tic­u­lar leg of the race that had burned a painful mem­ory in her mind.

‘‘It was def­i­nitely day four, which was ac­tu­ally the short­est leg com­ing and it was com­ing into Tor­rum­barry Weir,’’ she said.

‘‘The wa­ter flow re­ally slows down and it was the day we had the worst head wind, rain, and it was just cold. You just had to keep pad­dling just to stay warm.’’

The pair had set a goal at $2000, but fin­ished with $3600.

Green­wood said the money would help Dutch Thunder achieve the $5000 de­posit needed for an­i­mal re­searchers to come to the area to start re­search­ing the ef­fects of sca­bies on the na­tive koala pop­u­la­tion.

She said the to­tal amount raised would not have been pos­si­ble with­out spon­sors Hungie Fangs, Co­bram Ir­ri­ga­tion, Mogg Os­borne, Co­bram Thai Boxing, Pad­man Stops and The Big Straw­berry.

Fin­ish: Louise Green­wood (front) and Fiona Boyer give a fist pump dur­ing the Mas­sive Mur­ray Pad­dle.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.