Get Ready for the Burley Griffin 24hr Paddle Challenge!

Ever wanted to know just how far you’re capable of paddling in 24 hours?

The finale of the 2019 Ultramarathon Series gives you the chance to answer that very question, pitting paddlers against the clock in a bid to see who can check off the most laps of Molonglo River, Canberra.

Sunset over Molonglo River (Photo: Wade Rowston, LCRK)
The brazier is lit! The 2018 paddle challenge gets ready for dark. (Photo: Wade Rowston, LCRK)

The clock starts ticking at 10am on Saturday 7th December, with 4.7km laps of Burley Griffin Canoe Club’s home stretch providing excellent spectating for paddlers and supporters alike. Keep paddling into the night for the traditional BGCC bonfire and some of the most stoic race volunteers you’re likely to meet. While it might seem like a daunting undertaking, the camaraderie on the water at 2am is exactly what the ultramarathon paddling community is all about.

Sign up as a solo paddler or as part of a relay team, with the level of fun and challenge up to you. Some paddlers will be out there to set personal best distances or clock up kms for the Paddle NSW Ultramarathon Series, whereas others might be diving into night paddling for the first time. Any craft is welcome, including SUPs, dragon boats and OC6s.

All entries via Webscorer

More info on the BGCC website

Note: Juniors who are not yet 15 years old at the start of the event may enter, but are NOT permitted to commence a lap of the course between 7:30pm & 6:30am.

Finish line at the 2018 paddle challenge. (Photo: Naomi Johnson, LCRK)

Ultra-Insight with Richard Barnes

A dedicated paddler for many years, Richard’s ultramarathon bio would take just about the whole 24hrs to get through. He has competed in just about every long-distance race Australia has to offer as well as many big international events, circumnavigated Tasmania, and completed numerous Bass Strait crossings. And this year he’s eyeing up his fifth 24hr Paddle Challenge.

Why do you love this event? Great venue in sheltered water. Get to share 
time with lots of other wonderful people from the canoeing family. Get 
to see them every 4 km lap, again, and again, and again...

What is the biggest challenge of paddling for 24 hours? There are a 
range of challenges, from the more prosaic of organising food and gear 
to see out all eventualities for 24 hours, to delving into the unknown 
of being tough enough to make it through to the finish. Maybe the 
biggest challenge is simply staying awake in the early morning hours.

What do you think about out alone on the water at night? Never alone, 
as there are always other paddlers out there, and that is the starting 
point for inspiring conversations. And if its not human paddlers for 
company, there are also the feathered inhabitants, like the shags and 
storks and other birdlife of Lake Burley Griffin. In between, the calm 
and tranquillity leaves moments for reflection and planning new 
adventures.
Favourite food for a long paddle? Can't go past a good banana. The 
latest fad seems to be to reinvent them as banana bread. I'm also a fan 
of a cold coca cola. Jam tarts go down a treat. For something more 
substantial, a ham and tomato sandwich is sure to hit the spot. Segment 
by segment orange, or chip by chip crisps can while away many hours.

Any advice for paddlers taking on the 24hr challenge for the first 
time? Go slow at the start. And the middle and the end. No matter how 
fast you paddle, in a 24 hour event, everyone at whatever speed gets to 
the finish at the same time.
Richard settles in for the 2018 24hr Paddle Challenge. (Photo: Wade Rowston, LCRK)