Event wrap for 2018

The exciting first race of the Adventure Cup Series Upper Murray Challenge was greeted by a beautiful Spring day as participants set off in Khancoban last weekend. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool and the beautiful blue sky and surrounding mountains made for an ideal background for the event. Much like the weather, the Upper Murray Challenge was challenging, brutal and spectacular in all of its glory.


Racers lined up for their race at the main plaza of Khancoban and soon took off for a 28-kilometer cycle. This track consisted of 4WD trails, three sections of single tracks filled with steep hills and descents, and some spectacular paddock sections along the river. This course was a great opportunity for the racers to check out the nearby rapids before paddling back through them afterward. The ride was slightly modified this year and has since received a lot of positive feedback.

Tim Boote took an early convincing lead in the Males division, while Maria Plyashechko took charge in the females. 

After a quick transition to pop on their paddling gear and leave their bikes to have a break, it was time for the contestants to have some fun in the water. 

james pretto at umc 

The second leg was a 27-kilometer paddle along the Swampy Plain and Murray river. Event head sponsor Snowy Hydro showcased a special water release for this event, making the paddle component an outstanding feature of the race. The first section of the paddle included grade 1 rapids that are considered extremely challenging for even the most athletic participants. Participants were able to take a short moment to recharge during the second leg of the paddle as they enjoyed still water and had a chance to appreciate their surrounding environment. It was at this point that James Pretto (who is well-known for his paddling strength) was chasing Tim with all of his strength. In the female's division, Marlena Ahrens was trying to reclaim the podium after taking out first place in last year’s race, too. Marlena has represented Australia in multiple marathons and water-based races. 

Last but not least, the final leg of the race consisted of a 23.5 kilometer run. Contestants set off for their first 7 kilometers along a rocky gravel road, soon making an off-road climb to Mt Elliot and down to the Thowgla Valley. At this point, contestants endured a 5-kilometer bitumen road down to the Corryong town center.  A number of participants chose to run this leg of the course as a stand-alone event, including local Kate Elphick who is currently 21 weeks pregnant. Upon completing this leg, Kate stated “I had waited until today to see how I felt as to whether just did my favorite section, complete walk or skip this last (the only boring bit) 5km. I jogged the first 7km feeling good with views of the Murray & snow then meandered (occasional jog) over the Elliot ridgeline”.

damo guthie paddling umc

The highlight of the race was the glorious finish of eight St Leonard’s students who were eager to give the course their absolute all. It was the students first time participating in the Upper Murray Challenge and, after many hours of training and preparation, they were able to conquer the summit with their heads held high. 

Upon completion of the course, participants and loved ones enjoyed the sunshine as they socialised amongst each other and enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch provided by the Corryong Rotary Club. The crowd embraced a final presentation of those special awards to the course winners.  

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the Upper Murray Challenge will be back in 2019 with a few fresh additions – Including a brand new Short Course!

The 2018 Upper Murray Challenge was proudly supported by Snowy Hydro, Corryong Health, Snowy Valley Council, Towong Shire Council, Full Cycle of Albury, Shotz Sports Nutrition, Shane’O café and multiple volunteers and crews such as the SES, VRA, and Albury Wodonga Amauter Radio Club

To all who gave their time on this wonderful day, we thank you!

st leonards at umc