Kayakers ready for Murray Marathon

THE 44th Murray Marathon will start at Yarrawonga on December 27, with Beechworth and Albury paddlers among those from the Border competing.

The 404-kilometre paddle now sponsored by the YMCA is one of the world’s longest canoe races, and passes through Tocumwal and Echuca on the way to the finish line at Swan Hill on New Year’s Eve.

A Beechworth Community Bank-sponsored kayak team is looking to improve on its performance last year, relay team member Darren Macdonald said.

“Most of us went to Beechworth Secondary College last year, and then a few of us were friends outside of school,” Macdonald said.

“This is my fifth year, but as a team this will be our second year doing it.”

“Last year we came sixth out of 13 for our category, surprisingly good considering we hadn’t paddled much at all and we were up against private schools who have really dedicated crews,” he said.

“We’re doing it as a relay team, so we won’t do the full 404 kilometres per person, but our (two-person) boat will.”

“We’ll probably swap paddlers every 20 to 30 kilometres.

Macdonald said that he was happy to have been able to raise the money and sponorship to enter.

About 750 paddlers will take to the water, with surplus of money raised going back into local communities.

Participants will race in the one day challenge, the three day challenge, or cover the full length in the five day marathon.

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