Photos will be posted on Facebook/GautenCanoeUnion! a few early birds eye view’s are attached thanks to Sandra Roy~!
Johannesburg Canoe Club, the first original canoe club for Johannesburg, hosted the 70th running of the Vaal River Two Day Marathon river race on the weekend 22/23 June 2019. Despite predictions of extremely cold weather due to a cold front from the Cape, the days were both pleasantly warm and sunny without the nasty winds expected although the Vaal is never free of breezes!
Thanks to Paul Chappel who organised the BELL stickers for the paddlers, as well as highly visible yellow rashee long sleeve vests for all paddlers and sweeps and caps celebrating this special occasion for JCC!
There was however such a thick mist that paddlers were unable to see the bank of the river while paddling middle section, unable to see hippo rocks until knocking them, …. the first day start was also delayed because of the cold and the water department switched the release off earlier than agreed so it hardly arrived at the Letaba weir which was fortunately still shootable.
The second day was more organised with a huge fire to warm paddlers, at a lovely grassed venue, but still -3 degrees although Day 1 felt colder it was only -1 degree with a slight breeze……..and there was a good water on day 2 from the barrage!
Perhaps the most noticeably impressive finish was the Under 16 female finisher – Helen Jansen van Vuuren – K1 – a young school leaguer recently introduced to rivers with partners, having taken on the SA Marathons and gaining confidence all the way – the young lady finished as the only Female in 7:40 – a tough slog indeed for a young lady!!
It was the young ‘uns who led the way at this race on the sluggish hard working resistant Vaal uphill river with Peter Chissano (JCC) partnered up with Mzamo Zondi (LEM) to take the win in 5:43, followed by Under 23 team Connor Erwee and Wongama Makasi (Dabs/Sow) in 5:45, and young Colin Ledwaba with Katiso Hlahatsi (VIC) finishing 3rd in 5:46. The first Under 23’s were next – Sibusiso Chwayi and Zanentlantla Mbala (Sow) in 5:53 and the Veteran top finishers – kings of the Vaal River finished 5th overall – Kobus Filmalter with Caroline (WAT) – also the winning mixed double.
The 2nd Under 23’s finished 6th overall – Lona Magala and Siyabonga Tyiki (Sow/Dabs) in 6:03 and the Great Grand Master team of Brian Longley and Peter O Connor (Dabs) came in 7th looking in peak fitness condition in a time of 6:06, 3 minutes after the young teams!
Pieter Engelbrecht (ERK) was the first finishing K1, and winning Master in 6:17, and the 3rd place podium Senior finisher was Ian Wilson in 6:20.
Raymond Rorich and Nadine Norval (Cen) finished as 1st Sub Veteran team in 6:27, and the first Sub Master first finishers in 7:27 were VIC’s Anton and Shellee Nel .