Preparations are underway for the Port Macquarie Rowing Club’s annual Essential Energy 3 Rivers Mini Marathon. Chrissy Jones finds out the details from Club Secretary, Kim Chilton.
Tell us about the marathon, Kim …
On August 28, you’ll see an eclectic flotilla of watercraft making their way along the Hastings River. Sculls, surf skis, kayaks, dragon boats, surf boats, canoes and stand-up paddlers will be participating.
Set over a distance of 26.5 km, it offers something for everyone – a sociable day on the river for the family or recreational paddler, or a chance to challenge a category record for competitive participants in performance craft.
Supporters have the opportunity to chill out on the club’s lawns, listening to a Jazz band and enjoying fare from the BBQ, while cheering finishers over the line. The marathon starts in the Wilson River, traverses the Maria and finishes on the Hastings River at the Port Macquarie Rowing Club shed.
What are the ‘Three Rivers’?
These are the Wilson, Maria and Hastings Rivers. The mini marathon starts in the Wilson River, launching at the Log Wharf at Telegraph Point. The course branches into the Maria River within the first 6 km, before joining the busier Hastings River for the final 4 km. The final leg takes competitors past the Hibbard ferry to the finishing line alongside Port Macquarie Rowing Club.
What type of craft can enter?
Sculls, recreational and competitive kayaks, canoes, dragon and surf boats, skiffs, outriggers and even fishing kayaks; basically any non-motorised floating craft. Speedy craft like rowing sculls can often finish in less than two hours, while very slow craft could take over four hours!
How should participants prepare for the mini marathon?
There are five considerations here: weather, hydration, comfort, fitness and craft reliability. Plus, you should be able to swim.
Check the weather report on the morning of the event and pack accordingly. Pack gear for both sun and cold, as conditions can change rapidly on the river. Bring water bottles and energy snacks for the trip (there are safety, but no water, stations along the way).
The event is not a race (although many like to test their speed) and is a sprint distance, so fitness requirements are not as stringent. Your experience will be enhanced by some pre-event distance training. Blistered hands, aching backs and rear ends are the hallmark of an aquatic marathon.
Are there any hazards and safety controls along the way?
There are hazards along the way, but they are well marked and explained in the pre-race briefing. The Maria has multiple sandbars, which will be demarcated with lines of buoys. Participants should always be on the lookout for water traffic, especially once in the Hastings, and they must observe extreme caution with the ferry.
If there have been recent heavy rains, there can sometimes be lots of debris in the river. We pre-sweep the course to remove flotsam, but competitors should keep an eye out, regardless.
Safety boats, with first aid equipment, will patrol strategic points along the watercourse, and a power boat will follow the final participants.Where is the cocktail party?
The pre-event sun downer cocktail party will be hosted by Crema Espresso Bar, Port Macquarie, on the eve of 27 August, between 6 and 8pm. Cost is $15 per person, which includes dinner and drinks. All participants, sponsors and the media are invited to meet and greet fellow paddlers.
Whom would you like to thank?
Many thanks to our major sponsor Essential Energy, and our category sponsors Northcorp Accountants, McGrath Real Estate, Crema Espresso Bar, Cassegrain Tea Tree Oil Pty Ltd, Donovan Oates Hannaford Lawyers, Rydges Port Macquarie, Breakwall Restaurant & Bar, Greater Port Macquarie Focus.