The Mirror News

Fastest ever Murray to Moyne for South Gippsland Hospital Moovers

Despite rainy weather, a punctured wheel or two, and mechanical issues with one of the team’s buses, the South Gippsland Hospital Moovers posted their fastest time ever in 2024’s Murray to Moyne bicycle relay fundraiser last weekend.

In their 12th consecutive Murray to Moyne, the 16 SGH Moovers cyclists took turns to ride the 440 kilometres from the Murray River at Echuca to the Moyne River at Port Fairy and clipped well over an hour off their previous record.

Accompanied by a support crew led by SGH Moovers’ event coordinator Deb Allott, the riders and their bikes left Foster on Friday April 5 on board two buses, bound for Echuca, where on arrival a local motor workshop provided an on-the-spot bus repair.

In Echuca the SGH Moovers joined 20 other cycling teams representing health services, health-related charities and community organisations from across Victoria ahead of the start of the 37th Murray to Moyne on Saturday April 6.

Another five bicycle relay teams chose to tackle the longer version of the Murray to Moyne, and they began their ride from beside the Murray River at Mildura.

All 26 teams comprising more than 300 cyclists were aiming for Hamilton and an overnight stay before tackling the final 100 or so kilometres to Port Fairy on Sunday April 7.

The Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay was originally founded by the late Graham “Woody” Woodrup, a competitive cyclist from Port Fairy who set many long-distance records including Perth to Sydney and the 24-hour tandem world record.

Woody and his wife, Hester, established the event in 1987 as an annual charity ride to raise funds for hospitals, health services and health-related charities.

The SGH Moovers pedalled off from Echuca a minute or two after 9 am on a drizzly Saturday morning, with team leader Mick Manassa scoring a flat rear tyre just 1.6 kilometres out.

The team members shared covering the distance between them, with a smaller group of riders cycling steadily during the day and into the night, through rain showers, up and down hills and around or over potholes, while the others rested on the buses before the next changeover.

After hours of effort buoyed by encouragement from their fellow cyclists and plenty of nutritious food and refreshments from the support crew during the ride the SGH Moovers arrived in Hamilton at 11 pm, bettering their time by nearly 90 minutes.

On Sunday morning the SGH Moovers undertook the final Hamilton to Port Fairy leg as a peloton and crossed the finish line near the mouth of the Moyne River at 11.30 am.

SGH chief executive officer and Moovers back-up crew member Paul Greenhalgh said the Corner Inlet district-based cycling team, together with “our wonderful sponsors and donors”, had raised much more than this year’s target of $12,000.

“We still have to do the final tally, but we’re anticipating that the final figure will be around $15,000,” he said.

“This amount more than covers the cost of the 3000-litre diesel fuel tank for the three new generators that have just gone in to serve the three buildings of the SGH precinct,” he said.

“The Hospital itself, the Community Health Centre and the Banksia Centre all now have an independent and reliable electricity supply that kicks in straight away whenever there is a mains power outage.”

Mr Greenhalgh praised everyone in the whole SGH Moovers team, including the riders and the support crew, for their energy and commitment, and thanked all of the Moovers’ sponsors and donors for their generosity.

“The SGH Moovers represented Gippsland at the 2024 Murray to Moyne, and our region got right behind us,” he said.

“Thank you so much to all of our sponsors, including Foster Tyre Centre, Evans Petroleum, Qube Holdings, Foster Pharmacy, South Gippsland Radiology, Southern Stockfeeds, The Mirror, Foster Cellarbrations, Taranto Glass and the Foster RSL,” Mr Greenhalgh said.

“Thank you, too, to all of the individual people and community groups who have helped us achieve more than our goal!”


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