ADVENTURE race specialist Jarad Kohlar defied plummeting temperatures, rain and a slippery course to win his second consecutive Upper Murray Challenge on Saturday.
Kohlar, 29, completed the gruelling Khancoban to Corryong course in five hours, 34 minutes, beating home two-time winner Luke Haines by more than 30 minutes.
The win gave the Melbourne-based athlete his third win in five UMC outings and adds to his stellar year to date.
“I really love the race,” Kohlar said.
“The weather made it quite challenging — it became more a battle of the elements than competitors.
“I tend to race better in colder temperatures but I had to focus on keeping moving.”
The temperature hovered at about 10 degrees for most of the day and the water was eight degrees.
Kohlar broke away early in the 38-kilometre mountain-bike leg and then stretched his advantage in the 26-kilometre paddle and 25-kilometre run.
The win gives him adventure-race wins in Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and Western Australia this year.
Kohlar will now head to China for a five-day team stage race carrying $250,000 in prizemoney.
Serge Kurov finished third in the open male and Albury’s Ian Franzke fourth.
In the open female section, Angela Farrell was first over the line in 9½ hours.
The veteran Moller Brothers’ team smashed the over-40 team course record in 5:32 and its runner broke the sectional leg record.
Race director Peter Dikschei was a relieved man after the event.
He said the weather had been a concern with hypothermia a threat for the 85 competitors.
“It was a challenging day and pretty extreme weather wise,” Dikschei said.
“Given the conditions, it was a marvellous outcome.
“The ambulance didn’t have to treat anyone — that’s pretty incredible.”
In a sobering moment, Dikschei touched on the tragic death of Melbourne woman Amy Dickinson, before the race.
Ms Dickinson drowned in the Murray River near where the race was held after falling out of her canoe last week.
“I spoke about it before the race and just quietly mentioned it to all the paddlers,” Dikschei said.