Published by Cobram Courier in print and online on January 1, 2014.
Cobram residents Alice Colla and Jordan Blower were among the youngest competitors to paddle in the Murray Marathon this year.
Alice is also an international competitor — originally from northern Italy, she is living in Cobram as an exchange student.
Alice and Jordan, both 16, were introduced to canoeing by their maths teacher at Christ the King Anglican College, Gary Smith.
The girls said they were surprised to have competed in such a big event.
‘‘Neither of us are very sporty and nobody really expected us to go and do a marathon,’’ Jordan said.
‘‘We had been training for just two months, so it’s not a long time to do a marathon,’’ Alice said.
Alice and Jordan represented Cobram Barooga Canoe Club under the team name Cobram Crazies.
Coach Rob Schram said they had come a long way since their first training session.
‘‘They wobbled around and giggled a lot (at the beginning) but they seem to really enjoy what they’re doing,’’ Schram said.
He said they became serious about the sport at a training session about a month ago, where they paddled more than 20km on the Murray River from Cobram.
‘‘They finally realised just what they’d taken on,’’ he said.
‘‘Their training has been completely different ever since.’’
Jordan said they started training twice a week, but increased the intensity to daily sessions in the few weeks before the event.
There were seven teams in the junior section, two of which Alice and Jordan competed against in the Junior 16 division.
Their division paddled about one third of the total Murray Marathon distance.
At the end of day one, Cobram Crazies were in second place.
The girls posted a time of 02:18:32 that day, paddling from Cobram to Tocumwal.
From Thompsons Beach, Cobram, before the race began, Jordan said she was confident about the first leg.
‘‘We’ve done this leg before so we know this part of the river,’’ she said.
‘‘But the next four days are going to be a bit difficult because we’ve never been in that section of the river.’’
On day three, the girls recorded 03:43:25.
Despite coming third in the division for the day, they held second place overall.
On the morning of day four, Jordan said the girls were pleased with their performance.
‘‘It’s not too hard and there aren’t too many forks and turns to have to worry about,’’ she said.
‘‘The hardest part is not knowing how far we’ve got to go — we can’t say the end is just around the corner.’’
On day four, the Cobram Crazies added 01:55:15 for an overall time of 07:57:45, putting them in second place at the time of publication.