Dane Maretti returns to MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon 2022

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Experienced Danish paddler Søren Maretti (front) will return for a second attempt at the MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon from February 17-19 with South African paddling star Hamish Lovemore.

Seasoned Danish canoe marathon paddler Søren Maretti will return to the 2022 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon with young South African marathon ace Hamish Lovemore for the race from February 17-19.

Maretti (24) will not compete in this year’s edition of the race as a complete novice after he and his partner Emil Kramer complete the first two days of the 2020 race before Kramer fell ill and they are forced to withdraw.

“I think Hamish (Lovemore) and I have a good chance of being at the top of the race, he’s a really good paddler. I trust him to lead me safely on the river.

Maretti is the current Danish senior K2 champion and turned heads in the recent Fish River Canoe Marathon where he teamed up with Alex Masina for a solid fourteenth place finish.

It was a conversation in Cradock with Lovemore that paved the way for the agreement for Lovemore to pilot Maretti to finally complete a Dusi. Despite just one appearance at Dusi, the young Dane still has high expectations for himself and Lovemore.

“I’m very interested in finishing the race, but I also want to be in the race for the gold medals,” said Maretti. “I think Hamish and I have a good chance of being at the top of the race, he’s a really good paddler. I trust him to lead me safely on the river, ”said Maretti.

Maretti said the preparation for the Dusi has been difficult during the Danish winter, but he believes that with his previous experience he knows what to expect despite the limited time the duo will have before the race.

“I will arrive in South Africa about five days before the race,” he said despite wanting more preparation time.

“I would love to be there sooner, but it’s just not possible with my studies and work from home.

“But I’ve done the race once, so I feel like I have a pretty good idea of [how] I have to prepare for the race.

Birket itching to get back on uMzimkhulu

Meanwhile, defending champion and seven-time winner of the N3TC Drak Challenge canoeing marathon in partnership with FNB Andy Birkett said he was looking forward to returning to uMzimkhulu to renew his relationship with southern Mecca. Drakensberg.

Birkett, speaking as he traveled to Underberg for a week of training on the uMzimkhulu river, said every paddler felt the absence of rowing this popular race, last held 23 months ago. the cancellation of the 2021 edition during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Andy Birkett.

Andy Birkett.

“I can’t wait to get back to the river,” he said. “Everyone is super excited for the Drak. Two and a half weeks before the MyLife Dusi it is also perfect for a tough race as part of the planning for the Dusi, ”he said.

Birkett said the key to success on a technical river like the uMzimkhulu was learning and absorbing a unique rhythm that had to be consistently fast and fluid on a river made up of many free-falling rapids.

“It’s not just about finding the fastest line through a rapid. Sometimes you can choose a slower line that connects better and allows you to maintain your boat’s speed by staying in flowing water, ”he said.

“It’s hard to explain, but it’s definitely something you learn and learn over time on the river. You can waste a lot of energy by not paying attention to the river and always looking and planning fifty yards in front of you.

Birkett, who now holds the record for most wins in race history, said he was looking forward to being challenged by a full river.

He added that his week of training at Underberg would be followed by a meeting with his young partner Dusi Dave Evans in Pietermaritzburg.

“Gee, there are six weeks left at the Dusi and we haven’t sat in a boat together!” ” he said.

The N3TC Drak Challenge canoe marathon takes place in Underberg on January 29-30, 2022.

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