River paddling talent at Berri
Friday, June 17, 2011 Twenty-two paddlers from the Inland Outrigger Canoe Club (IOCC) showed their river paddling talents with the some excellent results at the Riverland Paddling Marathon.
The event, which runs for 208km along the Murray River from Berri to Morgan in South Australia, was held over the three days of the Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Members from IOCC crew ranged in age from Annabelle Hanson at 13 years old to Tony Bond at 57 years old, with two different teams taking to the water in OC6s.
A further Echuca duo of Nicole Calleja and Josh Foster paddled together over a shorter 100km race in an OC2, finishing first in their class.
The IOCC’s ‘Iron Crew’, competing in the men’s veteran over 35 category, was the arguably the best performed group at the event, posting a blistering time of 16:53.33 — the third-fastest full distance time in history and the fastest canoe time ever.
Made up of Mark ‘Sharky’ Oman, Rod Pell, Bond, Dave Rowe, Yvette McCormack-Hall and Rod Clark, the team was a clear first-placegetter and crossed the finish line in first place each day.
The achievement was all the more impressive given that only Bond and Clark had previously competed in an ultra marathon multi-day race.
Pell said it was a very enjoyable weekend.
‘‘It was great. Absolutely fantastic,’’ he said. ‘‘We had the fastest time for a canoe in the event’s 24-year history, so it was really good.
‘‘It was very exhausting and cold but, with Clarky up there barking orders, we kept at a fairly fast rate.’’
Pell said the crew, which was only put together earlier this year, bonded really well, which helped them get the desired results.
‘‘After just a few months of training, we bonded really well,’’ he said.
‘‘We all knew where we stood and we put in a fairly good effort.
‘‘Luckily we had Yvette McCormack-Hall in the boat though to supply the glamour with her pink flower on her beanie every day.’’
The IOCC’s mixed open OC6 relay team also did well, taking an hour off the record they established last year. Made up of 16 paddlers, the relay team finished the event in a total time of 18:43.52 over the three days.
One of the club’s newest paddlers, Janine Carroll, who had only been paddling for a few months before the event, was in her element in the relay team while Ashley Bell received the Junior Encouragement Award for paddling a total of 115km — more than any other member of the relay team.