The 22km flat water marathon race hosted at Florida Lake Canoe Club on Sunday 28 May 2017 provided an interesting if challenging course of 9 laps requiring intense concentration confirming that paddling is not just a physical sport but one requiring elevated powers of mental focus, on keeping track of the laps, the course, and of course technique!


Being the first race to make use of the CSA Entry system may have also added to the difficulties of the race as there were a number of on the day late entries…..although most found the process simple and convenient.


The course was made up of a first lap of 2km, and 8 laps of 2.5 kms, with some wind, some choppy conditions, some chill, a few portages, and some good healthy strong competition as well as a few comebacks!!


With 37 boats on the water as well as the rescue boat, who was needed to show the paddlers the route,  the event had 15 K2′,s 20 K1’s, and a K3 participating  as well as a C1, however the paracanoeist withdrew shortly after the start, choosing not to risk a swim in the choppy chilly conditions….as did a number of other racers including one highly competitive K2 who had an unfortunate swim in the cold conditions….a tough race?


Well done then to the ladies, frequently referred to throughout history as the “weaker” sex since disproven, who included K1 Anna Clifford Arwidi (Dabs), K1 11, and 25th overall, in 2 hours 12 minutes and 55 seconds, while Mariette Zandbergh and Jessica Booyzen (WAT) finished as 15th K2, in 37th place overall, and the only other ladies team….


The winning boat were Sub Veterans Wayne Jacobs, and Piers Cruickshanks, (Dabs) in 1:47:39, with Luke Symons and Nicolas Oldert (Dabs) finishing as first Sub Masters in 2nd place in 1:47:46, while the Under23 Siyabonga Tyiki and Thando Ngamlana (SOW) finished in 1:47:56 saving the face of the younger generation who can barely keep up with those in the older age categories confirming Clark’s assessment that not enough flat water training is being used for strengthening stamina and endurance in the discipline….!  There were only 11 boats in the 37 finishers that did not fall under an older age category – Sub Veteran and upwards……ie 11 juniors/Under23 and Seniors/Mixed age groups.


Emile Theunissen and Michael-John Robb (FLO/DABS) were the first senior age category finishers, in 4th place, and a time of 1 hour 50 minutes, while the Veteran team of Kobus and Caroline Filmalter finished 6th as the  first Mixed Doubles, in 1 hour 54 minutes.


The Grand Masters rushed in to fill the gap left open by the younger paddlers, with Graham Holm and Gary Ralph (Dabs) finishing in 1 hour 55 (Dabs) but an under 16 team  flew the flag for the young ‘uns   -Sowetans Zanenhlanhla Mbala and Wongama Makhasi (SOW) finished as 10th K2 in 2 hours 01 minute and 41 seconds!


Tommy Booth (ERK) finished as first K1, SV 2, in 2 hours 2 minutes, and Richard Cele (VIC) was the 2nd Senior age category finisher, as 2nd K1, in 12th place overall, in a time of 2 hours 2 minutes, while the 23rd K1 finisher was a very impressive Under 14 finish – Finlay Leask (Dabs) in 2 hours 3 minutes!


Peter O Connor (Dabs) was the first GGM to finish in 2 hours 4 minutes, as the 5th K1, and 16th overall, followed by Mark Handley (VIC) some 7 seconds later as first Master.  Young Jonathan Jooste (ACD) was the first Under 18 Junior finisher in 2 hours 4 minutes and 30 seconds, 9th K1, and 20th overall. Douw Kruger and Melusi Nxumalo (FLO) finished by default as the 3rd Senor open age cateogry finishers, 12th K2, 21st overall, in 2 hours 7 minutes.


The only K3 finished 24th overall, in 2 hours 11 minutes, as a Mixed K3, and 3rd Veterans, with Charles Murray, Gillian Jones and Schalk Mouton (Dabs).


The C1 paddler, Radoslawic Olszewski (ERK) finished as first Sub Grand master, 14th K1, and 29th overall in 2 hours 14 minutes.


Doubtlessly the finishers are tougher, stronger and fitter than before – well done!  The spicy prego’s and hot coffee helped recover from the cold, and thanks to those who supported the race organisers…..


Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

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