Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Murray Marathon men again

A wide smile spread across 72-year-old Tocumwal competitor Bill Dunn’s face as he crossed the Murray Marathon finish line for the 35th time on Monday.

RANDALL JOHNSTON January 2, 2013 4:30am

Murray Marathon veteran Bill Din, 72, of Tocumwal (front) with paddling partner Tony Kewish. Photo courtesy Mark Dadswell

A wide smile spread across 72-year-old Tocumwal competitor Bill Dunn’s face as he crossed the Murray Marathon finish line for the 35th time on Monday.

Dunn was in high spirits as fellow participants paddled into Swan Hill, exhausted from the last leg of the marathon.

‘‘I’m all finished and it’s a great feeling,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s been five days of hard paddling, but we have been fortunate in that we had mostly good weather with not too many really hot days or high winds.

‘‘When you’re on the river, wind is your worst enemy. The toughest day would have been day two. That was the longest day, at 96km and it was very windy that day.

‘‘About 15 paddlers had to be pulled from the water on the second day, because they were running so late there was no way they could have made the next checkpoint in time.’’

Dunn, who has competed at the event since 1972, said he enjoyed meeting up with all his old mates — even if it is only once a year.

Dunn has been living in Tocumwal for the past 12 years and in the Cobram-Barooga area since 1952.

‘‘I try to get out on the river about twice a week and would normally paddle about six to eight ks each time,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a very personal sort of sport, you’re only competing against yourself really.’’

His paddling partner Kewish is equally experienced. He is one of the few who competed in the first marathon back in 1969. The pair will participate again in 2013.

Other competitors in the 404km event from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill included James Miller of Tocumwal, as well as Alysha, Daryl and Brett Sutton and Ray Goldsack of Numurkah.

‘Two Short Men’ from NSW claimed overall line honours.

The team, comprising Greg Smith from South West Rocks and Stephen Monger from Green Point, completed the race in a total time of 30hours 32minutes and 57seconds.

It dominated the five days and it was the first time in more than 20 years that one team has crossed the line first in every leg of the race.

The winner of the Margaret Baker Handicap is Raewyn Duffy, from Malabar NSW, who took the honours in Swan Hill with a time of 30hours 1minute and 24seconds for the full 404km.

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