Ron Blum – Marathon Paddler
Life membership of Canoe SA conferred at the Annual General Meeting held on 20 March 2013
Citation for Ron Blum:
The chance find of a homemade canoe at Taperoo in 1944, when Ron was a ten year old, started what was to become his keen interest in canoeing and paddling on flat water and in the sea.. Ron recalls this “canoe” was fashioned from a sheet a corrugated roofing iron and was very unstable due to it being higher than it was wide. When Ron’s dad saw this boat he promptly cut it up which probable saved Ron from a misadventure in the water.
Later as a teenager Ron built two canoes (canvas on wooden frame construction) and in the 1970’s when his children were old enough they enjoyed paddling together in kayaks.
Prior to the formation of the Marathon Canoe Club being formed Ron was in a group of social paddlers who went to the Murray and toured various back waters. These paddlers included Ian & Robyn Pope, Lawrie & Anthea Shem, Ted Misiewicz and Ron Bath.
In 1984 the Marathon Canoe Club was formed with Ron being a founding member and competing in the club’s first event – Blanchetown to Swan Reach. Twenty years on Ron once again paddled in this race and helped the Club celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2004.
When the Murray 200 commenced in 1988, Ron was one of the first paddlers in that event and was awarded the 1,000km medal in 1992, together with Graham Voss and Graham Mitchell.
The Marathon Canoe Club experienced some financial difficulties in 1991 and Ron volunteered his services as Chairman and under his leadership the new committee dealt with the money problems and re-built the club.
Taking a break from paddling Ron was the Murray 200 race Organiser in 1993 and again in 1994 both being successful events for the club.
The Red Cross Murray Marathon also attracted Ron’s interest and he has successfully completed seven of these demanding ultra marathon events – 404km over five days. In one year Ron was in a K4, which was the first time a Vet 40 team had entered.
The late Ted Jackson was another ultra marthon paddler who Ron admired and they teamed up for interstate marathons and Masters events. Ted was an unassuming man and Ron took the time and effort to have Ted’s Australian record for the longest inland waterway paddle to be recognised in the Guiness Book of Records.
Ron has also freely giving his time and expertise to other marathoners paddling the length of the River Murray. He was a support paddler for Ron Bath when he started on his reverse Murray paddle starting from Goolwa. Ron’s experience on the notoriously changeable Lake Alexandria proved invaluable when he paddled across the lake with Mick Allford who broke the record for the fastest Murray paddle in the early 1990’s. In 1990 Ron guided Carol & John Wilson on the last day of their Murray paddle with Carol becoming the first female to complete the 2,400 km journey.
Bill Robertson appreciated Ron’s support (together with other MCC members) when they crossed the lake in 2005, on Bill’s Murray adventure.
The sea has always been of interest to Ron providing that extra challenge for a kayaker. He has paddled from Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island on no less than six occasions and an open water group trip to Reevesby Island.