Paddlers have shown they are eager to return to the Drak Challenge Canoe Marathon on the weekend of January 29-30, 2022, after a successful restart of the national canoe calendar in 2021 following the pandemic blockade of sporting events.
The race was the first major canoe race to be canceled after strict lockdown was enforced last season, but since then protocols negotiated with Canoeing South Africa have paved the way for the successful organization of events such as MyLife Dusi , Berg, Breede and Fish. Marathon.
Drak Challenge attracts hordes of entries
With registrations for the Drak Challenge already bolstered by a significant postponement of registrations from 2021, organizers are bracing for substantial interest in this year’s race, especially as the weekend in the south of the Drakensberg is taking place. ready for now commonly accepted security protocols.
“There is a real feeling of FOMO after last year’s cancellation,” said race committee chief Mark Willment.
“We were amazed at the number of paddlers who registered for the race last season and chose to defer their registrations rather than request a refund. This tells us something about the high esteem the paddler community places on the Drak.
Willment pointed out that all arrangements for the race, and how it ties in with the other sporting event that makes up Drak Adventure Weekend in Underberg this weekend, will focus on compliance and safety.
“While we have no idea what the state of the pandemic is at the end of January, we will make sure that the entire weekend is safe and reasonable for paddlers, their mates and families,” Willment said.
“The very nature of our race makes it a model for organizing an event in a safe and smart way, as we have small lots and within minutes of the start the paddlers are comfortably spaced out on the river.”
“We will not be able to hold the massive music concert on Saturday night, for obvious reasons, and the nature of our events is that paddlers and their families tend to scatter in the B & Bs and hotels around Underberg and Himeville. The registration process will also be designed to be a smooth one.
“Fortunately, the vaccination process is well advanced and the success of recent events such as the Cape Town Cycle Tour has given us great encouragement to invite paddlers to return to their favorite canoe in the Berg.
“We’re proud of the idea that the Drak is the ‘funniest canoeing you can do’ as well as the highest grossing event on the calendar, which is very relevant after the pandemic left a lot of people behind. very budget conscious athletes, ”he added.
Summer rains are auspicious
Willment said the summer rains have started in earnest and local farmers expect heavy rains in the coming months.
“This promises a good Drak Challenge at the end of January and for the many paddlers who choose to spend their end of year vacation paddling the uMzimkhulu river, there should be good water to enjoy,” said Willment.