Bush Pigs In Red’s Michael Dinkgreve and Gary Porter crossed the line first in yesterday’s leg of the YMCA Murray Marathon.GEORDIE COWAN December 30, 2013 4:59am
The Echuca leg of the 45th YMCA Murray Marathon went off without a hitch yesterday.
More than 200 paddlers started from the Victoria Park boat ramp for the 63km leg to Torrumbarry, well rested after paddling on Saturday was cancelled because it was a day of extreme fire danger.
Under race rules, the race is cancelled under extreme or code red days in the northern country fire district, resulting in the cancellation of the 76km leg from Picnic Point to Echuca.
Starting about 7am, the first paddlers crossed the finish line in Torrumbarry just after noon, with Dandenong Ranges friends Michael Dinkgreve and Gary Porter — Bush Pigs in Red — the first to finish.
In his 26th year of taking part, it was the first time Dinkgreve had claimed line honours, while it is Porter’s first try at the full distance.
‘‘After the first few times I competed in the event I thought I was a long way off being first across the line,’’ Dinkgreve said.
‘‘After 26 times it’s been a bloody long wait.’’
Porter said paddling a large distance at pace was difficult, but made easier if completing the challenge with the right people.
‘‘Just thrilled with the result. I’m sore, but having someone like Mick around has really helped me push through,’’ he said.
YMCA event manager Lee Conway said while cancellation of the second day was not ideal, everyone understood the situation and had reacted accordingly.
‘‘We are as pleased as we could be,’’ he said.
‘‘Everything we can control has gone really well.
‘‘It’s disappointing we haven’t been able to paddle every day but safety has got to be our priority and the decision to cancel day two was well understood and supported by paddlers.
‘‘Today was a fantastic day on the water in stunning conditions.’’
Paddlers reported a tough head wind later in the day, providing an extra challenge to tired competitors after what had been calm conditions in the morning.
The marathon will finish with back-to-back 75km Murrabit to Swan Hill legs today and tomorrow, with extra YMCA Murray Challenge paddlers expected today.
‘‘The next two days
‘‘It’s an area that really rallies behind the event and it will be a great day to celebrate the last traditional marathon.’’
Organisers do not expect the recent grass fire at Swan Hill to impact on the marathon.
Water has been returned to Kinnairds and Black wetlands to help with their revitalisation after bushfire damaged them in February.
More than 2200 people have signed up to show their support for a campaign to have the green route chosen for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
Echuca faces a big test against Tatura at Victoria Park today.
Painter Ben Winspear and Scott Wileman will create new works as the public look on during the at Rochester Art Exhibition.
Kyabram Bombers have the chance to beat Rochester under light for the first time this Friday evening.
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Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Eighty residents at a forum determined the Heathcote Community Plan was on track but need some fine tuning.
Cobram skate park hosts skateboarding and music for youth week.
Senior state minister Adrian Piccoli reaquainted himself with Deniliquin yesterday, leaving Deniliquin Counil hopeful it has an ally in him.
With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.
Fourteen-year-old Benalla girl Jaimee Linke will launch her debut novel next month.
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