I've been racing in this event since 2002, when I punted down the river in a wide, slow old plastic kayak in the excruciating time of 17 hours, 34 minutes. I've said it before, but that first Hawkesbury remains one of the hardest things I've ever done.
|The start of the 2012 Hawkesbury Classic.
This year I've switched boats to an ocean ski. It's a new challenge as I'll be more exposed to the conditions on the night, paddling a craft with no deck, but one that should see me down the course underneath the 11 hours I've set my sights on for the past two years.
It's run for the benefit of a charity, the Arrow Bone Marrow Foundation, just as most of the big events thesedays are linked in with a cause of some sort. Whilst I'm always respectful of this essential fund raising source, it does get a bit bewildering after a few different races to even remember which one is for what, so I mostly resist the call to send out fund raising notifications on social media etc.
|The life & times of Barry Davison.
He posted a lovely note with his donation, pointing out that his quality of life and roller coaster ride of dire predictions followed by strong recovery was facilitated directly by the hard work & research of the good people at the Arrow Foundation. Sadly Barry's rare bone marrow cancer took him from his loved ones earlier this year. Happily, before he passed away we all had a chance to send him off at a brilliant tribute night where he received a lifetime coaching award from Cricket NSW, and made a lovely speech to the gathering which rounded out his community involvement in the game he loved with great dignity.
Listening to Barry's catalogue of treatment for his disease, the costs of the drugs, the time spent hooked up to various machines administering measured doses of what at times were seriously experimental treatments that the Arrow Foundation had a direct hand in creating. He was in awe of the dedication of their doctors & scientists, and was pretty stoked that my pain in the Classic was going to be for the gain of others suffering with diseases like the one he endured.
|Feeling the pain at the end of 100km
So, this year, after speaking to Barry's wife Sandy & his sons & teammates of mine, Greg & Rod, I'm going to make a hoo-ha about the fund raising aspect of my race, to honour & remember the very brave & generous man that was Barry Davison. I've targeted $2000 as a good result, but it would be great to exceed that amount. The race is this Saturday evening, and you can donate to the Arrow Foundation cause & sponsor my efforts by clicking the link HERE. Times are tough and I appreciate any support you can spare, and I in turn pledge to race my ski like it was stolen!