What is marathon?
Canoe/Kayak Marathon involves paddling over long distances, on either the flatwater of lakes and dams, or the flowing water of a river. Victoria has many long rivers well suited for marathon canoeing. Paddle Victoria and its affiliated clubs conduct marathon races throughout the year and throughout the state.
Traditional marathon racing competitions, like the ICF Canoe Marathon World Cup and World Championships, involve a fixed flatwater course with regular portages, where the paddler must carry the canoe or kayak. Marathon races are held throughout the year in Victoria and cater for a wide range of ages and abilities. Most races are structured such that everyone, from novices to elite racers, can race over a distance suitable for their level of ability.
Many Victorian races have a full distance of around 24-32km for open age-group competitors while juniors and veterans will race reduced distances depending upon their age group. Most competitors race K or TK class craft but a wide range of craft including ocean/surf skis, outrigger canoes and stand up paddleboards are accepted at most Victorian marathon races.
Top paddlers can progress through the Victorian Canoe Marathon Championships to the Australian Championships and from there to the World Championships; an event in which Australian athletes have achieved great success.
For many paddlers the pinnacle of marathon racing is the annual Massive Murray Paddle, one of the longest annual canoe races in the world. Run over five days, it covers 404km of the mighty Murray River between Yarrawonga and Swan Hill.