A GROUP of paddlers from the Central West have been named as the highest fund raising group in the Massive Murray Paddle, raising $27,000.
Susan Colley, a Bathurst Pan Dragon member, and paddler in the marathon event, said the group of 19 paddlers came together about eight months ago, and decided to enter the competition, which this year celebrated 50 years.
Starting in Yarrawonga and finishing in Swan Hill, the event is the longest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere covering 404km in total over five days.
With 19 in the team, Ms Colley said between eight and nine paddlers took to the water each day.
"We had people from Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo, Parkes, Wagga and Moruya in the team, we've all met in past paddling competitions in the past, and we were all interested so we joined together in a team.”
It’s the first year the group have entered.
“Someone came up with the idea and we just went for it,” she said.
“To paddle 404km, we’re all just elated we were able to compete, and get through it without any injuries. We were all absolutely stoked, it was a life changing experience,” she said.
Incredibly the group only trained together twice before the event.
“In the winter months we only paddle once a week, and twice a week in the warmer months. Some members do training at the gym, but during the last eight months we only came together as a group on two weekends,” she said.
As part of their entry in the event, they also did some fundraising, raising a staggering $27,000.
Ms Colley said the group were very surprised when organisers announced they were the highest fundraisers.
“We weren’t expecting it at all,” she said.
“We also came second in our class, which was another bonus, we weren’t anticipating any of this,” she said.
Ms Colley said the money they raised would be divided up into six different charities each representing a charity close to the participant’s hearts.
“The Bathurst group chose the Bathurst Women’s Refuge. The Bathurst group has a lot of women paddlers and we work in education or health so we agreed it was a great one to support.”