2013

We had fantastic weather and the course was really good

Results

THE Upper Murray Challenge has lived up to its reputation for being one of the toughest races going around.

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 At one stage under threat, organisers and competitors rallied to make the iconic Khancoban to Corryong adventure race one of the biggest and most challenging yet.

 “We had a couple of spills on the mountain bike leg but that’s always going to happen,” race organiser Steve Taylor said.

 “But we had fantastic weather and the course was really good, it was dry for the best part and the river was at a really good level.

 “It made for good racing but a few tipped out, including me.

 “And the Volunteer Rescue Association had to rescue one fella who got stuck and lost his boat which snapped in half.

 “That put a bit of a dampener on his day but he was impressed, saying he hadn’t seen organisation as good as we had with the VRA getting to him within 10 minutes.”

 The annual, community-run multi-sport event would have to be one of Australia’s most unique races, involving a 38-kilometre mountain bike ride through forest trails, a 26-kilometre paddle down the Swampy Plains River to it’s confluence with the Murray River and finishing with a 25-kilometre run.

Taylor said this year’s event attracted 88 starters, up on last year’s figure.

 Competitors were treated to the best of the Upper Murray.

 “I’d altered the mountain bike leg slightly to create a little more interest,” Taylor said.

 “And I didn’t want to make it easier so people could cruise around — that’s not what the event is all about.

 “It’s always been a hard event and we wanted it to continue with that reputation.

 “It’s one of the most unique events with the area, the combination of the mountain bike, kayak and the run.

 “The snow’s still on the mountains and at times you get a glimpse of some awesome views — but you’re not really concentrating and enjoying them when you’re just trying to get oxygen into your body.”

 Having learnt that the challenge was under threat Taylor said he had been determined to keep it going.

“All the sponsors and local businesses were disappointed when they heard it wasn’t running,” Taylor said.

 “And I was determined to compete after a disappointing year last year on the mountain bike where I had three punctures in the first 10 kilometres.

 “It’s a personal challenge and if you’re attracted to endurance sports it’s all about bettering yourself.

“You want a better time than last time and I was determined to do the whole event.

 “People enjoy a challenge and people were rapt the race is continuing.”

 Under perfect conditions for racing Bairnsdale’s Tim Boote took out the title in a time of 6 hours 1 minute and 51 seconds.

Maria Plyashechko from Melbourne was the fastest female competitor, finishing in 7:11.41, while Josh Street from Boronia was fastest veteran, coming in at 6:28.19.