Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Review set to revitalise Murray Marathon

The Victorian Government is funding a business case to look at a range of options to ensure the Murray Marathon remains viable.

DARREN LINTON December 28, 2012 4:11am

Competitor Jason Wilson (right) during the first leg of the Murray Marathon between Yarrawonga and Tocumwal yesterday.


The Murray Marathon is underway and so is a business review that could lead to a substantially different event next year.

The Red Cross dropped the annual race from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill after 40 years and while YMCA stepped in to save the event, it is also looking to the future.

Race chairman Scott Chapman said the Victorian Government was funding a business case for the race.

The business case will look at a range of options to ensure the race remains viable in an increasingly competitive adventure sports market.

‘‘The discussions go to everything, even whether it is the right time of the year for the event, it is a challenge to get numbers at this time of year,’’ he said.

‘‘We can either keep going as we are and let it peter out or make some changes.’’

YMCA has already reshaped the event, adding a one-day entry-level race and a three-day event.

But 400 of the 500 competitors who set out from Yarrawonga early yesterday morning are still doing the full 404km five-day event, which finishes in Swan Hill on New Year’s Eve.

Among them is a loud and passionate competitor known by his racing name ‘‘Mad Mick’’.

In ordinary life he’s Michael Dinkgreve from Selby, but each summer for the past 25 years he’s become ‘‘Mad Mick’’ as he takes on the challenge of a solo paddle down the Murray.

‘‘I hit the wall and I crashed straight through it,’’ he screamed as he pulled into Thompsons Beach in Cobram after six hours of paddling.

‘‘I’m travelling all right, but it is hard work with a bit of a crosswind,’’ he said before flopping into the water to cool offer before he set off again.

First to make it to Cobram was kayak pair Greg Smith and Stephen Monger, otherwise known as team ‘‘Two Short Men’’, but they are short men with a long way to go and a leaky boat.

‘‘If the pump was working I’d be even better,’’ Mr Smith said.

Paddling pollies Peter Walsh and Tim McCurdy took on the last leg of day one and although they won’t be going the distance, they both understand the importance of the event which winds its way through their electorates.

The race contributes more than $1.5million to the economies of the towns that host the travelling convoy of support crews and race organisers.

The Victorian Government contributed $40000 to ensure smooth sailing for the 2012 charity race.

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