At 72 years-old, Bill Dunn is a Murray Marathon legend. Dunn, who identifies himself a Tocumwal local, returned to participate in the iconic paddling event for the 35th time this year.HANNAH NICHOLS January 2, 2013 4:10am
He completed a five-day, 404km journey which stretched along the Murray River from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill.
Dunn, who recently celebrated his birthday, says that it is a combination of natural beauty and good friends that keep him returning to the Murray Marathon.
‘‘We spend five days paddling in the best part of the best river in the world. I’ve always lived in the area, Cobram, Barooga and Tocumwal.’’
Having first participated in Murray Marathon in 1972, Dunn contends that the friendships forged in the searing heat are lasting.
‘‘This event is always filled with absolutely wonderful people. Every year.’’
Dunn, along with friends and family, was part of a relay team that completed the 404km journey on New Years Eve.
‘‘I have raced every day.
‘‘In the relay you do sections each.’’
Dunn started the relay completing the first 24km and also bought his side across the finish line with the last 21km.
‘‘This is my 34th Murray Marathon.
‘‘I have completed 31 full distance marathons.’’
When asked what has kept him going for 34 years, Dunn replied that it was his love of the crowd and the friends he has made over the years.
‘‘We had great weather, though it was windy for the first two days.
‘‘It is a great course, you start at Yarrawonga and finish at Swan Hill where the water is very muddy.’’
Dunn explained that with muddier waters, you had to work harder.
To keep fit in preparation of such an event, Dunn said you have to continue competing in events all year round.
‘‘It is very intense, but very personal.’’
The Murray Marathon first took place in 1969, and is currently in its 44th continuous year.
Murray Marathon Management Committee chair Scott Chapman said this year there was about 500 paddlers ranging in age from 13 to 79, coming from every state and territory of Australia.
‘‘There were even two who travelled from overseas – one from France and another from Canada,’’ he said.
‘‘The full five-day, 404km event is a true physical challenge for serious paddlers.’’
Those unable to participate in the five-day challenge can opt for the three day or one day paddles instead.
The 235km three-day event started at Tocumwal on December 28 and ended in Torrumbarry on December 30.
The one-day, 63km paddle was from Echuca to Torrumbarry on December 30.
The Murray Marathon is run by YMCA Victoria as a charity event. Funds raised are reinvested back into Murray River region communities through grants to address disadvantage.
Since 2009, more than $216,000 has been invested back into Murray River communities through ‘Take the Challenge’ grants.
To find out more, visit www.murraymarathon.ymca.org.au.
Shepparton has sang the club song for the first time in the Victorian Women's Football League after the Bears defeated Jacana at the weekend.
The Yarrawonga Pigeons scored a 20 point victory over the Myrtleford Saints at the JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
The River Rats took on Lodden Murray in a strong game on the weekend in their Regional Superleague hockey match in Bendigo fighting out a win in what new coach Chris Mathew called a great result.
FOUR Rochester residents did more than their bit for women’s cancers mid last month when they trekked 60km around Melbourne to raise funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Tongala Football Club lost to Rumbalara in the Murray Netball League on Saturday by 14 points.
Four generations of Comi girls this Mother's Day
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
DESPITE criticism from within the community over a perceived lack of use, the O’Keefe Rail Trail has enjoyed good traffic over the past couple of weeks, with more to come.
Members of a Cobram social group have encouraged women to become a part of community groups, committees and boards.
School fundraises for student with leukaemia.
ix industry and local government representatives, five water services committee members and two community members have been appointed to the new Connections Stakeholder Consultative Committee.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.