My plan was to finish my 2017 race season in Australia, completing the 404km Massive Murray Marathon. This is a multi paddle craft race and SUP had never completed the entire race before.
My first thought on entering the race was 404km, 5 days, WOW this is spoiling me I get to sleep every night. Usually in this length of race I get to catch the odd half hour sleep on the river bank and paddle day and night. Although, this sounded easier for me paddling wise, the difficult bit was going to be camping. I HATE camping, I find it unnecessary, there are plenty of nice hotels round the World. Reluctantly I agreed to camp, bought a tent, sleeping bag and air mattress. Whilst most competitors, I guess, would be getting last minute practice in on the water I was getting pre race practice in building a tent and inflating my mattress.
The forecast for this race was excessive heat, well certainly for a girl from Scotland. Risk of deadly snakes, spiders and bush fires. Luckily I like an adventure.
I decided to race without support during the day, which meant keeping my stops to an absolute minimum. Thankfully the most awesome race organisers, Sydney Harbour Kayaks, took a change of hydration pack to the middle checkpoint for me each day, so a quick one minute change over was all I needed each day.
The race days vary from 68km to 93 km per day and the heat was increasing with each day. At the end of day one my time was good but I did not manage the heat well, I was sick and just could not eat. Day 2 through 5 I managed the heat a lot better and finished each day feeling good. Day 4 we have brutal head wind for almost 40km and this really slowed me against the sit down paddle craft.
It was great to finish Day 5 and complete the full race distance, although I never reached my goal of under 40 hours I was still happy to cross the finish line and place 5th overall on handicap.
This race was pretty special, so many families with children competing, boats being paddled together with children and members of the police force to break down barriers and the friendliest paddlers ever. This race is a must for all paddlers. Awesome racing and the kindest of people
I will, for sure, be back.