Once upon a time (1971) an American called Andy Toro built a canoe to race in Australia’s 404km 5 day Murray Marathon. He made it in pieces so that he could carry it on the plane. He raced in a strange country with strange people who wore cotton pyjamas while they raced, drank Fosters, and ate steak after the race (when all Andy wanted was some water).
Long story short, Andy won and returned to the US leaving the canoe that he built behind.
As is often the way with boats that win races, everybody wanted one and soon there were many many Toros racing the rivers of Australia. So many that 47 years later, we can still put a race together where everybody is paddling a Toro. And so it is with the Great Toro Race, organised by Mad Mick Dinkgreve.
This year Andy returned to Australia with his wife Jane to race in the event that bears his name.
The race covers the first 26km section of the Murray Marathon’s (now Massive Murray Paddle’s) Day 3 from Picnic Point to the checkpoint stop at Barmah Bridge and runs through the Narrows, a winding section of river with fallen trees the force you to zigzag down the course.
Kate and I raced in a borrowed boat, from a running start at the back of the grid. We came third in the mixed class behind some excellent competition. There were some huge laughs, a few spills, some shenanigans and maybe the odd conniption.
We are now wondering whether we should get one of these Toros so we can improve our time in next year’s race…
Photos from Tony Bond and Ashley Rasti Bell. Report by Steve Dawson.
Special thanks go to Mick Dinkgreve for organizing this event and for the Australian Canoe Racing fraternity for breathing life into single blade racing in Australia. Thank you also to Andy and Jane Toro for accepting Mick’s invitation to come back to Australia to be part of a special community. Andy previously competed in four Olympic Games, two for Hungary and two for the USA, winning a bronze medal in the 1000 metres C2 in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, and was an Olympic coach and served for more than a decade on the U.S. Olympic Committee.
On behalf of the CV Marathon Committee
Monday April 23rd, 2018 9:37am -> Monday April 10th, 2017 1:55pm