Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Rowers have paddles at the ready

More than 500 paddlers will take to the starting line for this year's Murray Marathon, the 45th running of the event.

MATTHEW GALEA December 24, 2013 4:15am

The iconic Murray Marathon will hit the Murray River for the 45th time on Boxing Day, with more than 500 racers expected to take part.

This year’s edition of the historic race will be the last time in the traditional dates, adding an extra sense of occasion to a timeless classic, with YMCA Murray Marathon project manager Lee Conway excited about year’s edition.

‘‘It’s getting really close now, so it’s quite an exciting time,’’ Conway said.

‘‘It’s extra special this year too with it being the 45th Murray Marathon and the last in the traditional dates.

‘‘We are of course looking forward to all our paddlers getting together once again to participate and have fun, but this year I think there will be a real celebration feel to it considering it is that last traditional marathon.’’

As of next year, the race will be from November 24 to November 28, but Conway said that had not distracted from the YMCA’s preparations for this year’s race, which will once again feature one and three-day events as well as the traditional five-day marathon, which will cover 404km.

‘‘We are expecting more than 500 paddlers across the one to three and five day categories, with about three-quarters of those doing the full distance or relay,’’ Conway said.

‘‘We’ve got paddlers aged from teenagers to one 80-year-old, so in terms of attracting a broad spectrum of entrants we have got that covered.

‘‘It’s not often you have an event that would see a team of fit young blokes gearing up to get in the water then right next to them a team from the Country Women’s Association and that’s why we love it.

‘‘The Murray Marathon is still the longest paddling event in the Southern Hemisphere and also a great fundraiser for regional Victoria, so it’s just a fantastic event to be involved with.’’

Registration day for the marathon will be on Thursday, with the actual race starting on December 27.

Day one will have racers kick off at Yarrawonga, travelling 94km to Tocumwal, the longest leg of the marathon, while day two will continue from Picnic Point, instead of the traditional start at Tocumwal due to extensive damage to access roads between Tocumwal and Picnic Point.

Day two will finish at Echuca, equating to 76km, while day three will restart at Echuca and finish at Torrumbarry, a leg of 63km.

The change to day two means day four and day five will start at Murrabit and finish at Swan Hill, a passage of 75km on both days.

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