There are usually eight or nine events in the Winter Series marathon races. All are organised by Canoeing Victoria and described fully in the Canoe Marathon Diary (see the CV website)
The winter series is preceeded by the Victorian Marathon Championships held in around March each year and the Australian Marathon Championships in April.
All paddlers who compete win points for their club with additional points awarded for position. A perpetual Victorian Marathon trophy is awarded to the club with the most points at the end of the season. Fairfield Canoe Club regularly finishes in first or second place, with INCC either snapping at our heels or pipping us at the post.
It is now time to rise to the challenge to regain the trophy and ensure that it stays back where it belongs at FCC !
The key to doing well has been FCC’s fantastic participation rate and our supportive environment.
But what’s it all about really – this Winter Series?
Picture testing yourself against past performances or just enjoying the company of like-minded others who prefer to do rather than just talk of stretching their abilities. This may be attempting your first race, safe in the knowledge that canoeists always look out for each other. If so, you will be comforted by the fact that you will be racing in a safe environment where the health and safety of competitors is the priority of the Canoeing Victoria organisers.
Winter Series paddlers use the races to stay in shape over winter and it’s also a great way to get ready for the Murray River Marathon if that’s your goal for the end of the year.
FCC will supply everything you need to compete if required. You just need to be a financial member of the club (your fees include a racing/insurance component that goes to the CV). From here FCC offers beginner level coaching, boats, paddles and lifejackets to get you on your way – even a trailer or a friendly car pool to get you to that venue, whether local or country. All you need is a sense of adventure and about $20 entry fee and don’t forget a few dollars for a sausage in bread and a hot coffee after the race. What a great way to see the country, get fit and swap a few yarns, let alone brag about your performance back at work on Monday. Some find that the wind was stronger, the temperature colder and the competition much more dramatic the day after a race.
Race distance and class depends on fitness and experience. Higher divisions race from 18 to 24kms – the rest of us mere mortals travel about 8 to 18kms. You will be started in a class reflective of your ability and satisfaction is guaranteed. For those a little more tentative than others, you can look forward to racing doubles and if you ask nicely a more experienced FCC member may partner you on your first doubles race.
Check out the FCC website on a regular basis and all the races to your diary to ensure that you end up on the river regularly through winter and don’t end up waiting for a nice day.
Rowan Doyle is FCC's Technical Director this year, so please feel free to contact him if you need assistance - or speak to any of the regular racers.
Still not sure about this racing caper?
Well then, get along to a Sunday session. These fast, fun and furious training sessions were started by Zoli Szigeti more than 40 years ago and are still introducing FCC members to the great time that can be had while learning the skills and gaining the fitness needed to race successfully (or not). They are a great way to burn off the over indulgence of a Saturday night with still time for a small sleep in. Best of all, the sessions are led by an experienced coach from FCC, the sessions are free for members and are structured so that you can truly work at your own pace.
I encourage all FCC members to have a crack at a Winter Series race this year – help us regain that trophy – every entry is a point and every point counts. Grab a Canoe Marathon Diary from the club and pencil in your dates for adventure.
Before every race you should add your name and details to the club whiteboard to register your interest, book a boat, a spot on the trailer and locate a doubles partner if needed. For further clarification on the details speak to any FCC member, check out the Technical Committees noticeboard, refer to the 2015 Canoe Marathon Diary and check out the FCC website under the Racing menu tab.
See you on the start line.
All paddlers intending to compete in Winter Series races are encouraged to enter online. Entering online reduces registration delays and helps get the race started on time. At your first Winter Series race for the year you will have to submit a medical form. We suggest you download a medical form and fill it in before the race to save time on race day. All race forms are available here.
We would like to thank Alex J for supplying the original version of this article.