After recent good rains, a fast-flowing Msunduzi river promises to put paddlers to the test in this year’s Dusi Canoe Marathon, making it one of the toughest races in years.
Paddlers will set off from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg this coming Thursday with their sights firmly set on the finish line at Durban’s Blue Lagoon next Saturday.
This year, the 71st edition of Africa’s largest canoe marathon is a K2 race. Due to the full river, the paddlers had to rethink their strategies.
Last year’s runner-up and eight-time world champion Hank McGregor teams up with 18-year-old Matt Millward.
McGregor says he hopes to use the unpredictability of high water levels to his advantage.
“It’s more than adventurous for canoeists that we have to carry our boat up the mountain and through the valley and obviously use the river as best we can and at the same time obviously there’s a heat factor. is a tough race it’s super exciting and we hope to do our best I hope I am to keep up with my young partner but I’m excited for the challenge I’m always up for the challenge to do try our best, have fun. Yeah, I’m definitely in. I don’t know if I can keep up with it, but we’ll see how it goes,” McGregor said.
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Meanwhile, Nqobile Makhanya and Sbonelo Khwela come to the Dusi race after a recent victory in the Parklane Spar Campbell farm at the Dusi Bridge race.
The pair say the win boosted their confidence.
“Winning the Campbell’s Parklane at Dusi Bridge last week gives us more confidence in terms of Dusi because now we go into it knowing there is something good we can do if we push hard to win the race. Preparations were good between me and Nqobile Makhanya. We started last year in November training together and we worked a lot with Nqobile running a lot and paddling more,” says Khwela.
“We are really prepared and ready for the race and we are very strong. Going to Dusi next week, we are really confident and delighted to have won the race that took place last week. We played very well and ran our race according to our plans and came out on top. We are really confident to go to Dusi,” says Makhanya.
The 71st edition of the Dusi Canoe Marathon will see competitors compete for the K2 edition: