Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Sport -

In its 50th year or­gan­is­ers of the Mas­sive Mur­ray Pad­dle, for­mally known as the Mur­ray Marathon, will send over 550 pad­dlers and 800 crew mem­bers down the Mur­ray River from Yar­ra­wonga to Swan Hill this Novem­ber.

The gru­elling event is over 404km, takes five days and has fol­lowed the same course for 50 years.

It has been one of the great long dis­tance pad­dling races in the world for a very long time and con­tin­ues to at­tract hun­dreds of keen pad­dlers mostly from Aus­tralia and many from overseas.

The Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala Ama­teur Ca­noe Club has seen many of its lo­cal mem­bers en­ter the marathon break­ing records and re­turn­ing home win­ners in their var­i­ous classes.

Ca­noe club Pres­i­dent Jared Lough­nan, who has won a TK2 class in the marathon’s full dis­tance event with Tim Roadley, said the lo­cal club has an ex­tremely es­teemed and proud his­tory in the marathon.

“We would be one of the most suc­cess­ful club’s in the marathon’s his­tory with­out a doubt,” Jared said.

“Over the last 40 years the club has as­sisted many pad­dlers both with train­ing and coach­ing ad­vice, bet­ter pre­par­ing them for the gru­el­ing event.”

Since na­tional cham­pion pad­dlers and lo- cals Vic and Ken Poll first en­tered the marathon in 1976, record af­ter record has been bro­ken by Yar­ra­wonga Ca­noe Club pad­dlers.

Lo­cals Kevin Phillips and Barry Hick­in­bothom started tack­ling the marathon in 1981 and it was not too long be­fore Aus­tralian rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kevin Phillips won the first of his many line honours. Since then a num­ber of mem­bers have also achieved line honours,

In fact the fastest ever time for the 404km was achieved by mem­bers of the club in a K4 team in 2006. The team in­cluded lo­cal cabi­net maker Nev Har­graves and cham­pion pad­dlers Mick Leveritt (Al­bury), Si­mon Sten­house (Melbourne) and Tim Naugh­tin (Corowa), who fin­ished in a never to be beaten time of 24 hours and 18 min­utes for the 404km marathon.

Be­tween 1992 and 2006 club mem­bers An­gus Camp­bell, Neville Har­graves, Glenn and Neal Hem­phill had won be­tween them an amz­ing10 of the 15 outright fastest times.

In 1997 Kent Jac­ques was awarded the Mar­garet Baker Tro­phy as the hand­i­cap win­ner and more re­cently in 2014 Adele Church was awarded the highly re­garded Mark Thorn­th­waite Award for the many years she has steered the CWA re­lay team across the line. For the last 13 years the CWA team has in­cluded many lo­cal women from all around the district and looks for­ward to again com­pet­ing in the 50th an­niver­sary year.

At 16 years of age, lo­cal pad­dling sen­sa­tion Brea Roadley, in one of the most dif­fi­cult of boats a K1, be­came the youngest fe­male to com­plete the full dis­tance and in 2014 she had set a new open fe­male record for the half dis­tance race.

“The club has a spe­cial place in the his­tory of the Mur­ray Marathon now known as the Mas­sive Mur­ray Pad­dle,” Jared said.

“We look for­ward to sup­port­ing our lo­cal pad­dlers again this year.”

The Yar­ra­wonga Chron­i­cle will pub­lish a se­ries of ar­ti­cles and in­ter­views lead­ing up to the marathon’s 50th an­niver­sary which starts in Yar­ra­wonga on Novem­ber 19.

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