2024 Ultra Marathon Opportunities

LCRK has always had strong participation in a range of accessible and iconic ultra-marathon events. For 2024 the events include:

Note: Clarence 100 has been changed to 11,12,13 October 2024

Links below to webpages for these events:

RPM 8-10 June 2024

RPM 2024 Report - Best scenery for an Ultra Marathon in Australia– by Wade Rowston

The Riverland Paddling Marathon (RPM) is held every year over the June long weekend on the Murray River starting at Berri and finishing at Morgan in the Riverland region of South Australia.

The Murray River in this region is simply magnificent with some spectacular sections with huge cliffs on the outside of very long corners. It is also peaceful and remote in many sections with only the sound of your paddles splashing and the birds to be heard.

On land, the Riverland region is very much outback country as the landcrews and relay paddlers know driving from checkpoint to checkpoint.

This year we were blessed with favourable weather conditions with very little wind and mostly mild temperatures except for a couple of cooler starts. However, the water level was quite low which meant there was little flow to assist the paddlers.

This years LCRK contingent included:-

  • Full Distance 200km (M200)

Naomi Johnson and Tony Hystek – K2

Mark Hancock and Andrew Murray (Muz) – SLR2 (landcrew - Jess and Nathan - friends from Adelaide)

Tom Simmat – Horizon Tourer (landcrew - super Christine)

Richard and Lindon Barnes – Kermit the double Mirage

  • Full Distance 200km Relay (R200)

Richard Yates, Craig Ellis, Tony D’Andreti, Duncan Johnstone – Doubles - SLR 2

Andrew Pratley and Wade Rowston – Singles (Epic V12 and Sonic)

Here is brief overview of each boat/team. All credit and kudos goes to the full distance paddlers. The relay paddling is not easy either with each leg being paddled as fast as possible.

Naomi and Tony – they had a less than idea preparation with a lack of time together in the clubs Knysna K2 and changed paddling positions in the boat just prior to the RPM. There were also some boat repairs and adjustments required. Tony had a knee issue and was not the usual tower of strength that we are used to. By their usual ultra marathon standard, they struggle through day one, the longest day, and had lots of stops. Slight improvement on day 2 but by day 3 went very well even though Naomi had picked up a cold. Having said all that they were still the fastest M200 boat. Friendly competition between with the two LCRK relay teams ensured they pushed along as best they could. Congratulations!

Above: Day 1 - Naomi and Tony all smiles at Day 1 start (Photo Wade)

Mark and Muz – they also had a late change of boat and a change of paddling positions when they moved from their Mirage 720 to an SLR2 a couple of weeks before the RPM. Day one was a long slog for them as they were still getting used to the SLR2 and there was no river flow helping the paddlers. Days 2 and 3 saw big improvements and solid ultra paddling saw them finish strongly. Jess and Nathan, their friends from Adelaide, were superb as their landcrew.

Above: Day 1 - Mark and Muz keen to get stated in their newly acquired SLR2 (Photo Wade)

Tom Simmat – reverted to his Horizon Tourer for comfort and stability after tipping in due to high winds at his last RPM a couple of years ago. Day 1 was a long hard slog when cut off times at the last checkpoint threatened, but he managed to finish in time. He also improved on days 2 and 3 and finished strongly. He was supported magnificently by ever present Christine.

Above: Day 2 start - camera shy Tom the furthest boat (Photo Wade)

Richard and Lindon – paddling Kermit, the worlds heaviest double Mirage, ever joyous Richard and Lindon, with no preparation, cruised along and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and stopped for a lunch breaks. I am not sure if they were aware of cut off times at checkpoints. On Day 1 they may have been out of time at the last checkpoint but continued to the finish line in any case, finishing at dusk. On Day 2 and 3 they pushed along and made the cutoff off times. They were extremely popular in the locks where other paddlers like to raft up to stable boats. I did exactly that. Thank you Richard and Lyndon.

Above: Day 2 - Kermit with Richard and Lindon on board cruises out of the lock (Photo Andrew P)

Richard Yates, Craig Ellis, Tony D’Andreti, Duncan Johnstone – with great preparation and organisation this is always the A-team of the event. From the very first leg on Day 1 they showed their intent to be at the head of the field, which they achieved every day. To their credit they switch paddling partners each day. On Day 1 and 2 all I can report is that they disappeared into the distance after exiting they lock. However, on Day 3, they were pushed to the limit for line honours after Andrew P paddled the double leg out of the lock superbly and managed to get a 6 min break on them at the last change over to me. However they caught me with about a 1km to go. Well done team! They were easily the fastest double relay team and added to their orange hat collection. (The trophies for winning your division is an orange RPM hat).

Above: Day 1 - Team Cheezels (The A-team) waiting for their start + Naomi (Photo Wade)

Above: Day 2 - Richard and Duncan off to a good start on Day 2 (Photo Wade)

Andrew Pratley and Wade Rowston – Andrews’ preparation was solid but mine was far from ideal having picked up a bad cold a couple of weeks out, plus a trip to Bali for a wedding the week before. As it turned out my first leg out of the lock on Day 1 went well as I was able to cruise behind an SLR2 without expending too much energy. From then on, I knew I would be OK to get through the race even though I was only about 70% healthy. Andrew, motivated by friendly club rivalry with the other doubles, and fuelled by the worlds largest waffle from Loxton bakery, paddled a brilliant leg on Day 1 to keep us ahead of Naomi and Tony. He then repeated that on Days 2 and 3 with some super strong paddling legs. It was great fun and we managed to be the fastest single relay team for the event.

Above: Day 1 Andrew ready to launch for start. Who said it was cold? (Photo Tony D - Keg)

Above: Day 3 Wade at beautiful sunrise start(Photo Andrew P)

Here are comments from the paddlers and landcrew (Christine) :-

Naomi – ‘Photos only capture the cold effort of this race; what they never quite snap are ghost-like movements of mist gradually lifting of a morning, paddling in the shadow of breathtaking cliffs, nor the taste of warm soup after working so hard - for the humbling awe of being in the grasp of this stunning river and then coming out the other end, one has to make the pilgrimage and feel it for themselves!’

Tony H – ‘Great scenery, weather, and company. By day 3, we were in great shape, and enjoying everything the river could throw at us (which wasn’t much this year). If only we’d been able to start the race as we finished it.’

Mark – ‘Andrew and I paddled in our new SLR2 with only a couple of training paddles. We were excited to go substantially faster but the lack of river flow this year meant we had similar times to last year. The first day was tough for us but it got better with each day which we never quite understand. Great to spend some time away with the LCRK crew.’

Muz – ‘As Mark mentioned, our expectations for a faster time than last year were high leading into the race as we were competing for the first time in our recently purchased SLR2. Although the trip across is long, it is easily managed in two sections, with a night in Hay and then a shorter drive the next day into the Riverland area. It would have been much nicer to have a little bit of flow in the river, nevertheless, it is a great event to be part of. The other competitors are friendly and the time together in the locks each day is quite unique.

The race caters for all levels of competitiveness whether you decide to do the full distance or team up in a relay. The Murray is a beautiful river to paddle, and it is a great way to see parts of Australia that you don’t see everyday.’

Keg – ‘A great weekend with great mates with a great club’

Duncan – ‘Spend a long weekend with your good mates paddling through pristine parts of the lower Murray River full of spectacular views, bird life, rosy red sunrises and lingering sunsets. Cool weather paddling at its best and offering a good range of distance challenges for the single or relay paddler’

Richard B – ‘Linden was fearing the cold, as she goes numb on a 15C day, so we now wonder if the cold is a Riverland myth. Definitely the long straights and cliffs are part of the magic, as are the pelicans and black swans.

The logistics of everyone sharing a lock ride together kept us feeling part of an organised race, and a great chance to converse with the LCRK crew. Otherwise we were tail end charley all the way after all three slower crews retired from the race. Early pre-sunrise starts, and post-sunset finishes are a bonus of being slow’

Lindon - 'First of all, the best part about the RPM was the gathering of LCRKers, and the way you stuck around at Morgan for us to come across the line, not to mention helped heft Kermie in and around. Thank you to you and all for that. Just wish we could have had a few more slow paddlers up the back with us rather than shunting them into the shorter courses. Don’t want to make people give up canoeing because they think they aren’t fast enough.

The race was well organised with minimal fuss. The weather was brilliant, the scenery superb.'

Tom – ‘The current wife and I returned to the RPM after a bit of a gap and a spill and withdraw the last time so some unfinished business but in a more stable but slower boat, Horizon Tourer. This was our 8th finish. With no flow in the river this year I found it tough going, especially on the first day. Good mild weather and not too much head wind. Big drive from Morgan to the Sunshine Coast after, for my son’s 40th so a big marathon all round.’

Christine – ‘It was a great Riverland as always. I can recommend camping at each checkpoint. It gives me the opportunity to meet up with locals. I go to every checkpoint to see Tom go past. It may seem onerous but although I am not needed often, the few times Tom has needed me it has been dire, a hole in his boat when he hit a tree and hypothermia when he fell in the water battling against strong winds. It would not have been such a successful event without the range of paddlers from Lane Cove.

Andrew P – ‘Kayaking is more about logistics than time on the water; the packing, washing, and drying seem almost endless. Riverland is not immune to this (given you need to get to South Australia), but there's something unique and special about waking up three days in a row, standing in the dark on the riverbank, and seeing familiar faces. As a bonus, if you're in a relay team, you've got a 50/50 chance of going to Loxton pie shop.’

Wade – ‘The enduring image I have in my mind is of Naomi and Tony about 500m ahead of me dwarfed by the magnificent high cliffs on the big left turn before the final straight into Waikerie on Day 2 on a beautiful sunny afternoon. The river is simply stunning in parts and is a must do for all marathon paddlers … and really it is not that cold’

Above: Day 3 - 2024 LCRK Team at the finish