Race Report: Berg River Marathon

16-19 July 2014

By now you will all have heard of the superb success of young Andy Birtkett who won the Berg River ultra marathon race, managing to stay ahead of Graeme Solomon, but herewith some feedback regarding those Gautengers who took on the longest canoe race in South Africa under extreme cold windy and unpleasant conditions as can be found in the Western Cape in mid winter!  Birketts overall finish time was just short of 17 hours for the 240km.

Competing against some of the top paddlers of South Africa, including world champion marathon winners, world surfski winners and Dusi winners, the Gautengers had their work cut out, but as is often said – at a race like this, the finishers are all winners and victorious…..

So well done to Gauteng’s top finisher, Roy Clegg from VLC who finished 22nd, missing the 3rd place Veteran position, and completing the four days in 4:35, 3:38, 5:39 and 4:43 with a total of 18 hours 36 minutes on the river……. just ahead of Abby Adie, the lady winner who was two minutes later in 23rd.

Cornelis Human (DABS) was the next Gauteng finisher, in 27th position, and an overall time of 18 hours 51 minutes, with Siseko Ntondini 28th, (SOW) 1 minute later as the 9th Under 23 finisher.  Thando Ngamlana (SOW) finished 31st, 10th Under 23.

In 45th position, and a time of 20 hours 1 minute and 42 seconds, Mike Barry (ERK) landed a podium position – 2nd Sub Master, with Malcolm Stothard as 3rd SM a minute later in 46th (DABS), and Etienne Rawlinson a minute after that to finish 47th (DABS).
Gerhard Moolman (Dabs) was 7th Veteran in 49th position, with Tommy Booth (Erk) 55th in 20 hours 24 minutes.  Lee Hawkins (Crocs) finished
59th- (20:39) as 2nd Sub Vet – another podium position, and remember there were over 150 finishers so we are still just around the first third of the field!

Grant Conlon (VLC) finished his 16th Berg in 62nd position as 5th SM, in 20 hours 47 minutes, and Charles Datt (Crocs) 68th in 21 hours 5 minutes.  Young Danie Botes (Tuks) was 20th Under 23 in 81st position, and Daryn Koertzen 83rd followed by Thulani Ngamlana, Sipho Qoko, Richard Cele, Andre Zandbergh and Ryan Rodda (Crocs/Sow/VLC/WAT) who was in 93rd position.

For many Gautengers this was their maiden Berg and it would have been an experience of a different sort, as many underestimate the amount of training and difficulty in finishing over 60km in a day under difficult weather conditions, to have to do more than 40, over 70kms in the following two days to finish with over 50kms on the final day – a truly body defying experience as the muscles will definitely resist and complain!

Anya Botes (CEN) never ceases to amaze at only Under 16, one of very few junior girls to dare take on this challenge, as well as one of only 2 in this young age group, managed to finish in 105 position, in a time of 22 hours 48 minutes to earn her podium position as junior lady finisher.

Stuart Hynes (Dabs) finished in 120th position 6th GM, with fellow club colleague Jason Brown in 123rd as 19th Veteran, followed by another club colleague Schalk Van Zyl in 24 hours:33 minutes.

Gavin Taylor (Crocs) 127th, 8th SGM, Willem Van Riet (Dabs) 132nd Sub Great Grand Master in 2nd podium position, with  Wayne Taylor (Crocs) a regular at the race, 139th and 13th Master, while Watuni’s Jan Leonard finished 8th GM in 147th position declaring it his hardest Bergyet.

Centurions Kobus Botes was 14th Master in 151st place, and a time of 28 hours 47 minutes, while the only other Gauteng lady to take on this demanding challenge was Lynn Morris (DABS) in 153rd position and a time of 29 hours 3 minutes, as the 14th lady finisher, and the 15th Master age category.

We look forward to hearing their accounts of their four day adventure and experiences and congratulate them for finishing – a number of Gautengers planning to do Berg either never got there, or did not last the 4 days – so well done to those who did – a great achievement and superb show of mental strength and physical determination!

Jennie Dallas
for GCU PR
082 857 857 1