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The Murray paddle can be a grueling paddling experience for first timers

By Ray Creed

The Murray paddle can be a grueling paddling experience for first timers.
(Without Prejudice)

Participants have a good lead up with the winter series races 12 to 22 distance’s ideal for intensity and speed. When analyzing the concept of the winter series races you can use them as the lead up for the relay competition.
Full distance can be a bit different. There were a number of lead up races to the Massive Murray Paddle (Murray Marathon).
These include the, Yarra Marra, Hawkesbury Canoe Classic, Echuca Mini, Barwon Mini, Riverland Paddling Marathon and the Footscray Murray Marathon Dress Rehearsal, Cobram 40.
A lot has changed due to dates for river access availability and other issues. So we should hold on to the ones we can do. They are equally important to the input when preparing for the marathon.
These races can highlight potential shortfalls or potential issues.

A short list of lead up races issues.

- Oh shit, I’ve run out of drink and I’m only half way.
- I’ve fallen out and have nothing to eat or drink.
- I’ve broken my paddle I need another one.
- Isn’t the check point coming up I have no food.
- My hats gone and my heads burning I need sunscreen.
- Hope my land crew has my needs covered.
- Where’s is my land crew they should be here by now.
- That’s a steep bank, how’s my land crew going to reach me.
- If you pull up after a 50 km paddle with a hole in your back side, your seat not right.
It’s time to add some padding to the seat.

Without the preparation of lead up events, the readiness of the paddler will be questionable.

It could also help the land crew, simply by allowing the land crew to calculate how fast the paddler is going and what to do if your paddler continued on because the land crew weren’t there in time (As panic can set in if you believe you have missed your paddler at the check point).

I personally consider the following for the marathon.

Has my training prepared me?
How long can I comfortably sit on my seat?
How much water will I drink over that time?
If my muscles are cramping how am I going to continue?
What should I eat and drink?
Is my boat sitting right?
If I don’t have a pump or a venturi in your boat, I might need to stop for a piss (just don’t tell my land crew when get to the finish line!).



Its fine for the experienced, a lot of us have the ability to wing it for a check point or two, we know what to expect. But for first timers Land crew and Paddlers it is a challenge.

We need to help them to get down the river, especially when they’re hurting or struggle on the first day. It’s hard to come back and have another go.

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