Murray River Marathon – Australian Kayaking Event

The iconic Mighty Murray River is known for many great things, such as a perfect holiday destination, a haven for water activities and home to an abundance of wildlife and natural Australian flora.

It is also home to one of the worlds longest annual kayaking races, the Murray River Marathon, where you can kayak Australias finest river country, covering 404km in 5 days –



The Murray River Marathon Kayaking Event

The kayaking event starts in Yarrawonga on the 27th December downstream through Tocumwal, Picnic Point, Echuca, Torrumbarry and Murrabit finishes in Swan Hill on New Years Eve.

The Murray River Marathon began in 1969 when 10 friends decided to raise money for the Australian Red Cross.

This kayaking event has now grown in popularity with more than 750 paddlers, and over 3000+ support crew and volunteers, making it Australia’s premier flat-water kayaking event. The event would not be possible without support crew and volunteers which generally are made up of sponsors/partners, Management Committee, YMCA Staff, plus family and friends.

Since 2009 the VicSuper Murray Marathon has been managed and run by the YMCA Victoria after the Red Cross ended its association in 2008.  The YMCA Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation and has committed to invest all funds raised from the event into the social, environmental and economic sustainability of the Murray Region.


The Purpose of the Murray River Marathon

Although the aim of Murray River Marathon was originally to raise money for specific charities, this kayaking event has grown into much more than its over the years, now reaching and supporting into the communities that host this event.

So of these are: –

  • Promote active and healthy lifestyles for individuals and families
  • Support the Murray River Region through funds raised, tourism, and people to the area.
  • Increase the recognition for YMCA Victoria as a leading charity
  • It develops and strengthens partnerships with stakeholder and promoters of the Kayaking Event

Murray River Marathon

 The Options for Entry in the Murray River Marathon

There are various competitive and non-competitive options to suit different paddling abilities:

  • Full Distance (404km) – Take the ultimate challenge and race the 404km 5 day course by yourself or in a team.
  • The Half Marathon (202km) – Try the half marathon 202 km over the 5 day course.
  • Relay – Enter a team of three or more paddlers.
  • OC6 Challenge – Designed to allow relay teams consisting of up to 24 paddlers each to compete directly
    against each other.
  • Junior Marathons – Paddlers as young as 13 can participate in the marathon over a reduced distance in Junior 14, 16 & 18 age groups.
  • School’s Relay – Consisting of current year students from the school the team represents.
  • YMCA Murray Challenge Single Day Event (63km) – The Murray Challenge is a single day (30th December) 63km challenge starting at Echuca and finishing in Torrumbarry.
  • K4 Challenge – Limited to three teams of up to 16 paddlers you will compete amongst each other not only to be the first down the river.

Entry to the Murray River Marathon opens around July and generally closes on November 30th, and is certainly an event the requires thorough preparation, and a support crew to assist with food, water, shifting camp and basic medical assistance.


Accommodation for the Murray River Marathon

While enjoying the breathtaking environment while kayaking down the Murray River, you are going to need somewhere to stay. Luckily Free Camping is offered at all of the check points along the kayaking event, and more info about that can be found here => camping arrangements info

For those that don’t fancy roughing it accommodation can be found at many of the towns along the way, but it is recommended to book well in advance to avoid missing out during the holiday season:


The Preparation

Typically the marathon participants can expect warm to hot Murray River weather conditions, but should also prepared for cooler wet conditions, and in extreme circumstances flooding or even fire danger.

Even though there are different Kayaking Event categories suited to all fitness levels, ages, and groups….preparation and training for the event  is the key to a successful and enjoyable Murray River Marathon.

For full details and how you can be part of the action at this years VicSuper Murray Marathon visit


Murray River Marathon Course

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