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All set for marathon efforts

Numbers have increased for the iconic Murray Marathon paddling race after the inclusion of a new format.

PATRICK O'MEARA December 27, 2012 4:05am

Numbers have increased for the iconic Murray Marathon paddling race after the inclusion of a new format.

Organisers have introduced a new three-day event, joining the main five-day 404km journey and a one-day ‘‘taster’’ competition.

The 44-year-old marathon weaves its way along the Murray River starting with the first leg from Yarrawonga to Tocumwal today.

It then travels from Tocumwal to Picnic Point tomorrow, Picnic Point to Echuca on Saturday, Echuca to Torrumbarry on Sunday and finishes with a leg between Murrabit and Swan Hill on Monday.

The three-day event will start tomorrow and finish in Torrumbarry.

The one-day event tackles Sunday’s leg.

Murray Marathon management committee chairman Scott Chapman said the three-day event was an opportunity to get more people involved.

‘‘We would have close to 100 people involved in the one-day or three-day events,’’ Chapman said.

‘‘It is a great way for us to encourage people to come up and give it a go.

‘‘It might be that people who otherwise might not have participated, come along and have a go at the one-day and love it.

‘‘Then the next year they might come back and have a go at the three-day and then want the challenge of completing the entire marathon.’’

The one-day event is in it’s third year.

A major element of the marathon is raising money for YMCA.

All money raised is then filtered back into communities alongside the Murray River, through a variety of programs which assist the disadvantaged.

Since 2009, more than $216000 has been invested back into Murray River communities through ‘‘Take the Challenge’’ grants.

Take the Challenge projects include aerobics classes for people of all abilities at Yarrawonga, Friendship Through Fitness classes at Yarrawonga and Cobram for people with disabilities, a water safety program for newly arrived migrants in Wodonga, a youth program at Swan Hill, a health and fitness program for women at the Cummeragunja mission near Barmah and Friday night games for youths at Crossenvale in Echuca.

Chapman said $40000 had already been raised by this year’s event with organisers projecting more than $55000 will be the final amount.

He said 500 paddlers would participate across the five days with more than 2500 support crew and volunteers in tow.

It is the fourth year the YMCA has run the event.

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