Kayak, my favourite Palindrome.
A Kayak Marathon is by definition a Kayak Race of a distance of at least 10km.
I don’t do things by half measures and take on 10km races, my very first ever event that I committed to was a mere 111km! Yes, I took on the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic in 2010. Not only did I take on one of the “Big 3” in Australia for my first event, I did it in a Plastic SOT (Sit On Top) Rec Boat!
Why such an odd choice in boats? Well the answer is simple – it was the only boat that I could find that Fit Me!.
2010 was a tough event and unfortunately, my race was cut short to 98.5km when the conditions changed and were too dangerous, with a 60kn headwind and around 1M breaking waves, all combined with an incoming tide, it was simply too dangerous to let anyone continue.
Within a month, I decided that the only way I would get a boat to fit me would be to build one, so that is exactly what I did. I spent around 150 hours over 8 months building a Chesapeake 18 Sea Kayak and customised it to fit me.
The boat hit the Water on Aug 6th, 2011, just in time for me to put in a couple of month’s training for the 2011 HCC, which I had the pleasure of paddling and completing with my Father, who just so happened to build himself a boat over about the same time as me. We finished the HCC at 10:11am with an elapsed time of 17H 26m.
Since I had put in the effort and was mostly ready, I jumped in and entered a nice “Saturday Afternoon Paddle” – or the Christmas Race which is run by the MCC SA – a 29km race from Blanchtown to Swan Reach on the Murray, completing the distance in just over 4 Hours.
After this event, I set myself a goal for 2012 – and that was going to be to complete 5 Marathon events.
- The Back to Back (1st weekend in May)
- The RPM 100 (Queen’s Birthday Long weekend in June)
- The HCC (End of October)
- The Christmas Race (Last weekend in November)
- The 1 day event of the Murray Marathon (Between Christmas and New Year)
The Back to Back has come and gone. It is around 20km (20.5km) on the Saturday Afternoon followed by a 20km (21km) Sunday morning paddle on the Murray River near Murray Bridge. I set myself a target time of 2h 50m for each day and did it in 2:40:08 on Saturday and followed it up with a 2:38:26 on Sunday.
I heard about another event and that was on – the West Lakes Classic (6,12 or 18km) at the end of May, so jumped in and had a crack at the 18km. Setting myself a target time of less than 2H 30m. I never got the official time but it was around 2H 13m.
Just 2 weeks ago, I completed the RPM 100. The RPM (200) is considered to be the toughest Kayak Marathon in Australia – as it is in the middle of winter on the Murray River. For my first hit-out in this event I chose to enter the RPM 100. The race was hard, cold and very challenging, but my time is now in the record books! I will put together a Race report in the next few days.
Stay tuned, I will be looking at all sorts of things from equipment, training and sharing race reports.
* Big 3 – HCC, RPM, Murray Marathon