The North West Canoe club (NWCC) is located in the city of Mount Isa in North West Queensland, Australia. This is outback country, being some 2000 km from the state capital, Brisbane, and about 900 km from the nearest coastal city of Townsville.
Mount Isa is a mining city which is also starting to discover tourism. It is a competitive sporting city, and the North West canoe club is no different.
The 47th Gregory River Canoe Marathon was a huge success with 181 registered paddlers. There was a large contingent of paddlers from the Tinaroo Canoe Club as well as paddlers from the Sunshine Coast, Tweed Heads, Echuca and the Northern Territory.
The diversity in age and craft was amazing, with paddlers as young as 16 and as old as 73 and craft ranging from stand up paddle boards, short sit on top plastics and sleek K1’s and K2’s.
Kenny’s Corner and Galloping Jacks were two of the tricky spots to paddle through and saw a number of boats come unstuck and enjoy the freshness of the water.
The race was won by John VanRyt from Mareeba in a time of 3.24.03. The name “VanRyt” is synonymous with the Gregory River Canoe Marathon. The family has been involved with the race since its inception and also kindly volunteer to look after Checkpoint 4 each and every year. John gave an emotional speech, noting that it had been 20 years since he won the event and with a tear in his eye, also announced that he was going to be a grandfather and expected a VanRyt to be paddling for years to come.
John was closely followed by David Smith in 3.25.43 and Geoff Pearce in 3.49.51. These two paddlers from Buddina and Tweed Heads also came 2nd and 3rd in 2021. Maybe 2023 will see David Smith take the win.
The hotly contested Canadian Challenge was won by Mount Isa team BOSS Racing, Tav Cameron, Mark Thinee, Nic Beard and Stephen Derrick in a time of 3.57.50. The balance prize money for the Canadian Challenge was taken back to Mareeba by The Barrons in 4.13.29 and Tinaroo Canoe Club in 4.26.05. Mount Isa team In Deep Ship! took home the random draw prize of a unique Gregory River Canoe Marathon esky after stepping up from the short course in 2021.
Matty Kretschmann-Smith continues to encourage participation on the stand up paddle board. He was the only entry in the marathon race this year, with 3 paddlers taking on the short course.
The short, recreational race showcased 36 boats on the start line and the win was taken by Steve McLay in a time of 1.28.05. The first female across the line was Kristin Edwards from Darwin who crossed in 1.38.11.
Whilst at the river we also celebrated a number of milestones with Steve McLay celebrating 20 years; Paul Wragg and Chris Barkley celebrating 15 years and Paul Fletcher and Larry Wilson celebrating 10 years.
It was a wonderfully warm weekend, reuniting the Gregory family and welcoming our newest recruits. This iconic race is a highlight on the paddling calendar and is unique due to its remoteness, beauty of the river, the community atmosphere and the friendships made.
The 2021 Gregory was a great success.
The Gregory River Canoe Marathon will be run this year. There will be some changes due to Covid-19. The North West Canoe Club have decided the following:
No Presentation at the end of the race. Medals will be supplied to competitors as they exit the river on the completion of their race. Any competitor that wins prize money will be asked for their bank details and the prize money will be transferred to their account.
No food or drinks will be on sale at the finish line. Please supply your own food and refreshments.
This is the 46th Gregory River Canoe Marathon. Hope to see you all there for a great weekend.
Due to the on-going uncertainty relating to COVID-19 and the current emergence of hotspots interstate and now in Queensland, combined with tightening travel restrictions and border closures, the North West Canoe Club has reluctantly cancelled the 2020 Gregory Canoe River Marathon.
We hope you will join us in actuality or virtually for the 2021 Gregory Canoe River Marathon which we hope will be bigger and better than ever.
In the meantime, we thank you for your continued support of the club and, once again, thank those of you who took part in the inaugural Virtual Gregory.
And thanks again to all our sponsors without whom we couldn’t run the Gregory River Canoe Marathon – in reality or virtually!
Paddle on and stay safe.
The Virtual Gregory Canoe Marathon was a great success with ninety paddlers competing. Excellent time had by all. Feedback via Facebook, you all enjoyed the merchandise. We had Mark Snider complete the Virtual Gregory from OXFORD OHIO USA.
Hope to see you all at the real Gregory canoe race. We are still not sure if the race will occur this year on the 4th of October. If not it will be on again next year in May (Queensland Labour Day Weekend).
Click on the link below for results of the Virtual Gregory.
Virtual Gregory Canoe Marathon finish date has been extended.
It is now Wednesday, 10 June 2020 at 8:00 AM – (GMT+10:00) Brisbane
In years gone past, this weekend would see us anticipating the mouth watering roast that the Cameron’s would be cooking, sipping wine by the river whilst catching up with Sunny Coast and Tableland friends, listening to the snores of way too many drunken men in tents too close and also madly scrambling to have everything ready for our Gregory paddlers.
Instead we are all staying at home and dreaming of the cool, crystal waters of the Gregory.
If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, May is almost here and you won’t want to miss out on our 2020 Virtual Gregory.
All you need to do is register and then paddle 40km throughout the month of May to receive your Gregory t-shirt, hat and stubby cooler. To make it super easy, here is the link that will take you straight to the registration page.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
If you have never thought it possible to paddle the long race by yourself – NOW IS YOUR CHANCE.
If you are always volunteering and assisting our Club in holding the event – NOW IS YOUR CHANCE
If you are too young to paddle the long race or thought you were too old – NOW IS YOUR CHANCE
Hope to see you in our virtual world.
2020 GREGORY CANOE MARATHON POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
On the 18 March 2020, the Local Disaster Management Committee of the Burke Shire put the shire into lock down and banned ALL gatherings of more than 10 people.
The Burke Shire has an extremely vulnerable population due to their demographics and lack of access to health care.
It has therefore been necessary for the North West Canoe Club to postpone the 45th Gregory River Canoe Marathon.
Due to the uncertainty, travel restrictions that increase almost daily and the ever increasing need for social distancing, it would be irresponsible for the club to proceed with planning.
Depending on how the next few months unfold, the North West Canoe Club hopes to hold the Gregory River Canoe Marathon on Sunday, 4th October (Queens Birthday weekend in Queensland). If you are able to, keep that weekend free for a glorious weekend at the Gregory. In the meantime anyone who has already registered will have their registration refunded in full.
To help keep us moving and our spirits up, we will be running a virtual marathon starting on 3rd May 2020. Details will follow but paddlers will have a month to paddle their marathon on whatever body of water (river, sea, lake) is open to them. Registered entrants who clock up the 42kms over the month will receive a 45th Gregory River Canoe Marathon t-shirt, cap and stubby cooler.
Stay safe and well and keep paddling.
The Gregory Canoe Race Supports The Royal Flying Doctor Service
A very special thank you to out 2021 Sponsors.