Photos  – See Album on GCU Website!

Although the ERK Dusi training race took place early in January before some companies and schools re-opened, the popular enjoyable race at Homestead Dam attracted a good field of over 80 canoeists, mostly those striving to build up stamina and fitness for the worlds toughest endurance event in February, the infamous Dusi canoe race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.

The race provided top quality canoeing all weather tops to all finishers, as well as much appreciated meals and drinks after which were thoroughly enjoyed!  East Rand Kayak club are extremely grateful to the Ekurhuleni City Council Department of Sports who support numerous various athletic codes throughout the area helping to develop sport in all different arena’s.

While some paddlers have obviously been training hard throughout December, others have noticeably used the past weeks to relax, as well as eat drink and were very merry resulting in a tough hard slog to shake off the surplus, detox and get back into shape with only 5 weeks to go to the Dusi!!  A few may just have had a heavy Friday night as not everybody has returned to work yet – next week’s races will tell the men from the boys!

The top winners of the race who are likely to be among the top Gauteng finishers at the Dusi event next month, are achievers as a result of community /youth development programs hosted by canoe clubs throughout South Africa.

The young  Under 23 paddlers from Soweto, led by mentor Loveday Zondi who won the race in 1 hour 36 minutes, took the 2nd and 3rd place podium positions , (Siseko Ntondini and Thulani Ngamlana) while Shaun Maphanga in 4th won the Sub Veteran podium prize. Sowetan Siyabonga Tyiki was the first junior to finish – Under 18, in a time of 1 hour 43 minutes. Mike Stewart (ERK) was first Sub Master in 9th, and Sibusiso Chwayi (SOW) won the junior Under 16 category as 14th K1, followed by Mike Barry top Master Finisher.

The winning Veteran was (not surprisingly?) Doug Jewson (DABS) K1 25, while the first SGM finisher was hardus Theunissen, K1 40 (FLCC).

Vincent Buttrick (ERK) never ceases to impress with his physical prowess despite maturity, calling on years of muscle memory training to stay ahead of many younger potentially stronger paddlers, and the Great Grand Master finished as 48th K1 finisher in 2 hours 12 minutes.

The 22km race took place on a fine day with sufficient breeze and overcast skies for the paddlers to enjoy the tough hard slog which included two portages of 2km each on the side of the dam, carrying their boats, in the Dusi tradition.  The training of running with ones boat, and find a comfortable way to manage, as well as practising smooth efficient take outs and put ins, are essential part of the preparation for the Dusi, as is the necessary fitness and endurance training and Gauteng Canoe Union calendar has provided double header weekend races throughout January to assist the paddlers with their preparation!

Jennie Dallas