Grafton race Report by Gavin Rayward

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The fourth event of the Northern Marathon Series was held on Sunday 31st May, on the mighty Clarence River in Grafton.  It has been a long time between drinks for the Big River Canoe Club, with the last event held in 2010, so it was very exciting to see the return of marathon paddling to the Clarence River.

The heavy fog lifted just in time for racing, revealing absolutely idyllic paddling conditions.  There were two courses on offer – a single 7km lap around Susan Island, or a double lap for the 14km

course.   25 single craft and 3 doubles took on the 7km course.  46 singles and 5 doubles took on the 14km course, giving a total of 87 paddlers for the event.

Varsity’s Hayden Clark, in a K1, took out the 14km event in a time of 1:04:47, with Pacifica Canoe Club’s Mike Mills-Thom, only 3 seconds behind.  Mick Herden, of Varsity, took out the 7km event in an ocean ski, in a time of 34:49.  It was great to see some locals return to the water, with Michael Stubbs, Leila Muir and the combination of Steve Muir and young Lachlan Sutherland each taking out their respective categories in the 7km event.

A big thanks to Steve and Leila Muir from Grafton Paddle Sports, Bob and Christine Berridge from Bonville, Colin Cussel and other members the FNCCC, as well as Ian and Julie Frost for their help and advice in getting the event up and running.  A special mention to Julie and Rex of Varsity, whose help on the day was invaluable in ensuring that the event ran smoothly.

Thank you all for supporting the event, and we look forward to hosting it again next year.