A great weekend of racing was held in Adelaide with the staging of the Australian Marathon Canoe/Kayak Championships. Over 200 competitors in 162 and 81 doubles paddled over the two days in events from Under 12 through to Veteran 65.
Distances ranged from 7.2km (U12) to 35km (Open K1/K2).
Whilst the weather during the week prior was inviting and pleasant with West Lakes looking like a millpond, Friday 14th saw 20 knot winds whipping up white caps over the lake and making conditions difficult for training. The briefing even had to be held indoors due to the conditions outside being too windy and cold.
Although the forecast was for moderate winds on Saturday they turned out to be light and a fantastic day allowed for some brilliant racing. Sunday brought a little more wind giving the paddlers some choppy conditions at the top of the island during the morning session. These abated for the lunchtime session and the last races were completed in quite calm conditions.
Some of the best sprint finishes seen in a long time were required to decide the winners of a number of events. These sprints to the line required in such a large number of classes show the tenacity of competitors to make it over the line.
It was great to see was the large number of competitors in Under 16 and Under 18 classes. This is very important for the ongoing development of the sport and shows that we have a new crop of top level marathon paddlers developing and underpinning our current athletes.
A very successful presentation dinner was held on Sunday night with around 150 people attending. The dinner raised over $1000 for the Australian Marathon Team.
On behalf of the event organisers (Canoe South Australia) I would like to thank all of the participants, volunteers and supporters including the mums and dads, partners and friends who came and made the event what it was. It is not possible to conduct these events without the involvement and support of all of these people. It was great to see the marathon friendships being made and refreshed at the Championships.
Over the coming weeks a photo gallery website will be setup where paddlers can access event photos and order them online. This will generate extra revenue for the team. Be sure to keep an eye on the website for this. During the event some 2000 images were taken and profits from sales at the event have been donated by the photographer (Carolyn Cooper) back to the team.
Although final figures are not yet available it is expected that approximately the following amounts will be passed on to the Australian Marathon Technical Committee and the Australian Marathon Team for the development of marathon canoeing.
Team Levy (entries) Ð over $2000
Marathon Tech CÕtee – over $4000
Event photographer over $ 600
Dinner / Bar / Fundraising – over $1300
Approx Total $7900
I would now like to wish the Australian Marathon Team all the best for their tours abroad to Zamora (Spain) for the World Cup and Tremolat (France) for the World Championships.
I look forward to meeting paddlers at marathon events throughout the remainder of the year and hope that we can all come together again at the 2007 Australian Championships in Victoria.