The Second leg of the Summer Twilight Marathon Series was raced on the Patawalonga Lake last night. This was the first time MCC had run a marathon on the Pat and for many, it was the first time they had paddled on the lake, so both the course and racing line were unfamiliar. The course was approx 12km, made up of 5 counter-clockwise laps between the King Street Bridge and the northern weir gates. A mass start saw off the 18 paddlers in near ideal conditions with a slight southerly persisting throughout the event.
From the start paddlers sprinted for the northern turning buoy only 100m up the course from the start/finish line before turning south. Space was at a premium as the entire field tried to squeeze between the turning buoy and weir gates, especially given the number of double kayaks competing. The field began to sort itself out a little on the first run to the south, but the western beach caught the TK2MV65 team of John Hales and Ron Blum who found themselves pushed and beached. Up at the front of the field Dale Thompson was setting the pace in the clear water with Peter Bowden and Stephanie Finn setting a cracking pace a little way back in the K2. Back in the pack, the mixed open combination of Emily Rozee and Greg Roberts were leading the TK2 fleet from Geof Faul and Phil Williams, Hales & Blum, Darren Richardson and Nicole Baker and further back Rob Wight and Virginia Lakeman. As the race progressed Neil Thompson (K1) and Roger Bosely (TK1) progressively increased their lead on the main group and Rozee/Roberts drew away from the main group. By the finish Hales & Blum had picked their way to the front of the main group followed by Faul & Williams and Wight & Lakeman. Dale Thompson crossed first for line honors.
The Pat proved to be an excellent venue for twilight racing, providing plenty of exposure of marathon racing to passers by, with relatively short laps and plenty of onlookers out for their evening walk around the lake. Thanks to Sue Speck for timekeeping duties and to the Holdfast Canoe Club for their hospitality (delicious pancakes Martin!!).
Last leg of Twilight Series on 9 March at West Lakes.