Port Macquarie Rowing Club's Annual River Festival
As dawn broke, crews were already getting ready. There was a buzz in the air. Music from a PA was beginning to get people moving, even a dance step or two. A registration desk was busy with late entrants. And all shrouded in hearty greetings and laughter.The annual Three Rivers Mini Marathon, Rowing Festival was on again.
The race is rowed over 25 kilometres, from Telegraph Point on the Hastings River to Port Macquarie, NSW, in a range of rowing and paddling craft. Whilst being highly competitive the event also celebrates a huge camaraderie. Like many long distance events, there are many first timers that view this as a rite of passage. They are welcomed and supported by all.
Images: Getting on the right track, a little music and commentary, The all important maps and information, ]Last but not least. Late registrants can still get in on the day, Details and information being relayed to the team of volunteer marshalls
It's all smiles then it gets serious
Getting down to the serious business, a safety briefing covers nearly 20 minutes. Nothing is missed. This is an endurance race and mistakes will be made. The good news - they have you covered.
And then its all hands to the water. A small army of over 150 competitors and over 50 craft head to various beaches, docks and ramps to launch ahead of the phased starts. And then they are off!
Images: Focusing on the task ahead. The Home team's new coxed four, No small feat! Flamin' Dragons board their crew of 19, Brave smiles ahead of 25 kilometres! They went on to win their class. Congratulations girls! And they are off! The first strokes! 25 kilometres to go!
After the rush of adrenalin at the start, the pace settles to a strong but steady stroke rate. There's a long way to go. Race planning has organised the start to coincide with the outgoing tide to assist rowers down the river. Today however, nature has other plans. A stiff 20 knot breeze is blowing against the rowers negating any advantage from the ebbing waters. It's going to be tough!
Images: Pain and pleasure. They're nearly home but you know it's hurting. From here its 6kms to home - against a stiffening wind. For some it just looked far too comfortable. The Grafton team at 17km looking exceptionally well ordered. Rule No 1 comes into play - When there's a camera around... LOOK GOOD! Flamin' Dragons still going strong at 17kms
Then came the finish!
After a brutally hard race came an even more brutal finish. Having raced neck and neck over 25 kilometres averaging speeds of over 13kph two Ocean kayaks, a double and a single; closed on the line, stroke for stroke.
Gary Henderson and Luke Morris (double), the local Port Macquarie team, finished barely 6 seconds ahead of Matt Blundell (Sydney) in a thrilling and record breaking (1.52:37) finish.
After the race came the well deserved celebration of the efforts. The Blue Hyp Jazz Band provided the entertainment and the Lions Club Tacking Point, the refreshments along with Black Duck Brewery, Endura Sports Nutrition and hot drinks from The Coffee Shot. Massages were also provided.
And the party began!
Music and refreshements welcome the weary home ahead of the awards presentations to celebrate their acheivements.
© Robert Oates | BALLANTYNE Photography Travel and Events Photography and Editorials
Congratulations to all competitors.
For all race head over to Port Macquarie Rowing Club
For further photos of the event including the Captain's Pre-Race Dinner click here
Three River Mini Marathon is annual event hosted by the Port Macquarie Rowing Club. To find out more or book your spot for next year click here