There's been a last minute change to the Murray Marathon course.December 23, 2013 6:00am
There’s been a last-minute course change to the annual YMCA Murray Marathon as thousands prepare for the five-day paddling event.
Around 600 paddlers and 2500 volunteers are expected for the marathon which kicks off on December 27.
The five-day canoe race starts in Yarrawonga and finishes in Swan Hill - passing through Tocumwal, Picnic Point, Echuca, Torrumbarry, Cohuna and Murrabit.
YMCA Victoria acting chief executive Stephen Bendle said the last-minute change is important for teams to be aware of.
Mr Bendle said rain in the Barmah forest over recent months has made some roads impassable.
He said these are access roads to the Murray River between Tocumwal and Picnic Point, which have been extensively damaged.
Mr Bendle said as a result on day two, Saturday, December 28, paddlers will be going from Picnic Point to Echuca - a day earlier than first planned.
On day three, Sunday, December 29, paddlers will be travelling from Echuca to Torrumbarry.
‘‘The extra day will be made up by holding the fifth leg, between Murrabit and Swan Hill twice, on day four, Monday December 30 and day five, Tuesday December 31.’’
Mr Bendle said the Murray Marathon Management Committee is disappointed this section of the river is unavailable and apologises for the inconvenience.
‘‘This decision is beyond our control and while disappointing, safety is our number one priority,’’ he said.
Camp sites will not be greatly affected by the change.
Mr Bendle is encouraging Echuca and Moama residents to come down to the finish line on December 28 to cheer on paddling teams.
‘‘Our real heroes are community groups, friends and families that are participating in the event. There’ll be lots of colour and enthusiasm if anyone wants to come down.’’
● New course schedule is day one, December 27, Yarrawonga to Tocumwal, day two, December 28, Picnic Point to Echuca, day three, December 29, Echuca to Torrumbarry, day four, December 30, Murrabit to Swan Hill and day five, December 31, Murrabit to Swan Hill. The official event campsite is Cobram Showgrounds, and those involved are asked to report there on Boxing Day, December 26. Crafts can be inspected on Boxing Day between 2pm and 4pm at the campsite. If your craft has already been inspected, please check in to the event and attend the official race briefing from 6pm to 7.30pm on Boxing Day. For more information go to www.murraymarathon.ymca.org.au.
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