Only a few days out, the weather report was still positive for Race 5 in the 2024 Marathon Series – The Wonnie Marathon – “sunny day with gentle wind”.  However, as the race got closer, reports of showers were announced. On the day – Saturday 22 June – the rain started about 2am and stayed pretty much on and off until the end of the race.

Despite the rain, we had a strong contingent of roughly 100 hardy paddlers spread over all divisions. Division 8 had a whopping 18 paddlers, and they were ready to race. It was great to see the commitment of paddlers to turn up and support the Wonnie race again this year. It was also good to see a few OC1’s in the starting lineup.

This was the second year of the revised 10km course taking paddlers from Thompsons Bay near the mouth of the Woronora River up to Prince Edward Park. Despite the relatively new course, paddlers had no trouble navigating the waterway, however there was some wood and debris, likely from the recent rain, on the course.

The conditions on the water were variable with intermittent rain and slight winds making it cold on the water at times and then other times paddlers were able to heat up with the wind at their backs. The support boat crews, and the SES bore the brunt of the cold and wet weather out on the course and everyone was extremely thankful for their efforts on the day. The SES continues to support this annual race on the Wonnie and the club would like to acknowledge their commitment.

Once again the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club volunteers turned up to carry out the many key roles from timekeeping, registration, cooking and collecting money to marshalling and organizing the parking etc. Many thanks to them for their fine effort in making the race a successful day.

The race distance may have been slightly over the 20km nominal distance which added a few minutes to the racers’ times.

In Division 1, Lane Cove’s James Harrington just beat Matthew Gates home from Burley Griffin. A strong group of local CSCK paddlers in Div 2 were just edged out by Todd Boreland. Viliam Mako was the fastest paddler in the 10km race with a time of 54:10. In the 15km race a charging group was led back by Craig Elliot who finished with a time of 1:17. In the 5km Hannah Crossland from Windsor won with a time of 32:25.

Local Sutherland Shire paddler Robyn Bingle won Div 12 backing up from the recent RPM 100 in South Australia where she was the fastest female paddler. Well done Robyn!

All in all, despite the challenging conditions a successful event was held. Thanks again to all the competitors who turned up and raced in such good spirits. A huge thank you to the army of volunteers who made the day such a success.

Results are available via WebScorer: 2024 Marathon #5 – Woronora | Race results | Webscorer

Series results also available via WebScorer: 2024 PaddleNSW Marathon Series | Series results | Webscorer

Entries are now open for Race 3 in the 2024 Harbour Racing Series – a new event: the JB Run in Jervis Bay, hosted by Makai Paddlers on Saturday 29 June: 2024 Harbour Racing #3 – The JB Run | Event registration | Webscorer

Entries are also open for Race 6 in the 2024 Marathon Series, Saturday 21 July at Penrith, hosted by Penrith Valley Canoeing: 2024 Marathon #6 – Penrith | Event registration | Webscorer

Photos available on Flickr – 2 albums. Thank you to David Little, Annette Matthews, Fi Weigall, Greg Goodyear and Robert Johnson: 2024-06 Marathon #5 Woronora Album 1 (of 2) | Flickr, 2024-06 Marathon #5 Woronora Album 2 (of 2) | Flickr

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