2005 Encounter Lakes Marathon an Outstanding Success


ÒFine and DandyÓ was the official long-range weather forecast for the 2005 Encounter Lakes Marathon. Well, at least thatÕs what the flyer saidÉ And true to its word, that is exactly what the 44 paddlers experienced for the 5th race at this fine paddling venue with several records falling.  Located in the suburbs of Victor Harbor, Encounter Lakes is a 4 km closed residential canal with a great beach launch area that is also suited to portage.  Spectators are well served with paddlers passing by at regular intervals and a cafe nearby Ð it was good to see so many locals out around the course to watch the paddlers progress.  This year the race was moved from July to September, and the benefit was obvious with perfect paddling weather for the entirety of the race programme.

The international classes were well attended with Maxwell and Proven dominating the long course (24km) in their K2MO Ð good news leading up to the World Championships in October.  Spectators were treated to a near faultless display of both paddling and portage from this combination.  The K1 fleet also showed great class during their portage legs.  Maxwell and Proven broke the record to set a new mark of 1:37:40 for K2MO and Brehin broke his previous mark by over 13 minutes to set a new K1MV35 of 1:57:24.

In the regular long course classes Teirney and Renfrey led the field home in 1:42:23 to break the previous record in K2MO.  Michael Cooper was the first of the K1 boats home in 2:19:38 for K1MV45.  Roger French paddled his impossibly narrow C1 home in 2:20:32 to set a new mark for the C1MO class.  Roger and Daphne Magor (TK2XV55) got away from the TK2 pack early to come home in 2:21:14 to pip Lamprecht & Hales (TK2MV55) in 2:23:20.  Bill Griffin was the only TK1 to contest long course, recording a tidy 2:31:59 for TK1MV55.

The short course was contested by 16 paddlers, starting three laps into the long course event.  The pace was quick from the start for this 12 km course. Nick Tucker (K1MV35) lead home the field in 1:04:26, with both Stephanie Finn (K1WV45) and Neil Thomson (K1MO) both breaking records at just over 1:06 each.  In the touring classes Butler and Turner led the field home in their SK2 at 1:08:08 followed by Richardson & Haures (TK2MO) and Roberts & Binks (TK2 MO).  A great effort by Shields & Ellis (TK2MU14) to get home in a respectable 1:18:47.

The Residents Ramble preceded the main racing classes and saw a range of craft completing a lap of the lake.  When half the RR field lined up at the start with pet pooches on board, the Race Director was confronted with the challenge of creating new classes Ð is dog paddling is still paddling!  For the residents, Reg Arnold took home the prize of breakfast for two at the Boulevard CafŽ and Glen and Joy Gusscott won a bottle of the highly sought after 2003 Five Island Shiraz for their efforts.

This event has become one of the highlights of the MCC calendar with Marc Brehin and team organising a professional and well run marathon event at an excellent venue.  Thanks to Marc and all his team for their efforts.  Thanks also to the Boulevard CafŽ for their continued support of canoeing at Encounter Lakes, the Encounter Lakes Residents Association for their support for this event and Steve Dalton of Paddle Power for providing the excellent display of canoes and paddling craft at the spectator and staring area.

Next events are the Masters Games from 4 October and the ICF World Marathon Championships in Perth on 15 – 16 October 2005.  The Next MCC event is the Christmas Race on the 26 November from Blanchetown to Swan Reach (26km) followed by the MCC Christmas Dinner at the Swan Reach Hotel Ð all paddlers welcome to join in.