The first Marathon Race of 2019 was held down the road in Canberra over the weekend.
For Sue and I it was the first time we had decided to enter the 20km race in over 3 years, so we were looking forward to seeing how we fared.
Leaving just before 6am we took off down the Hume, soon being overtaken by John Denyer and Robbo, who themselves were being overtaken by another club member, looking like a Division 1 paddler as he left us both in his wake.
We eventually caught up with John , who allowed us to wash ride him most of the way into Canberra.
Arriving in Canberra around 3 hours later we found that Club members had already either slept overnight in Canberra or had also arrived.
Due to the State Titles for singles being held in conjunction, the starting lineup was a little different, without the traditional divisional start.
The club had a great turn out, with members both old and new turning up.
At 10:50, the gun went off for our start and we were away, trying to pace out those first few kilometres. Unluckily for us, we started next to a standup paddler who was caught between us and the other paddlers, and in the heat of the moment nearly ended up in Sue’s lap as he fought to stay upright and avoid being squashed by the merging kayaks.
We were placed adjacent another SLR2 with 2 paddlers, who neither of us could shake all race. We kept exchanging leads over the duration of the race, with the other paddlers being local and getting the better of us on each of the turns.
During the race, some of the areas were quite turbulent with groups of K1s scooting past in waves, and the river being quite narrow in areas.
The end of the race was in sight and although we fell behind the other SLR2 on the last tight turn, Sue and I sped up and caught them once again with a few hundred metres to go.
Once they saw the nose of our boat, they sped up but we sped up as well, and with some encouragement from Pete watching on the shore, we crossed the line just in front of them.
We managed a time of 2:03:41 which is not bad seeing we haven’t trained for that distance.
I believe there were also a couple of events which we missed throughout the race, but my information is only 2nd hand, so I can’t vouch for how accurate this information is. Apparently, whilst competing in the 20km race, resident club hero, Jeff Buchan may have thought he heard the call of the siren luring him to shore.
It appears that the siren luring him was in fact a bearded hobbit who had gone for a swim and was in need of assistance.
Iron Man award for the race goes to Lachlan Stokes who was hit in the face by a passing paddler in a K1, the blade making a small cut in his face. Lachlan was very lucky, as this could have been much worse.
Back to club on the Sunday and we were once again in the thick of what must have been the last gasp of summer for many boat owners as they managed to crowd the river and provide a challenge to us to stay upright.
I’ll attach a copy of our stats from the Garmin watch. Timing is a bit off as I started it earlier than the gun.