Pippa McGregor takes gold in tough marathon champions

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Salt Rock’s Pippa McGregor clinched gold after a blistering finish at the South African Canoe Marathon Championships at Hazelmere Dam.

McGregor partnered Jenna Nisbet in Saturday’s K2 race, replacing Olympic medalist Bridgitte Hartley with whom she won bronze at this year’s Dusi Canoe Marathon.

They were engaged in a life-and-death battle with Tannah Smith and Jade Wilson throughout the grueling 26.2km run, but kept their composure and took just a one-second lead in 2: 05.16.

“It was really tough in the first few laps, but eventually it fell to the two boats up front,” McGregor said.

All four paddlers train together, so any moves attempted by the leaders are quickly spotted by the chasing duo.

Pippa McGregor and Jenna Nisbet take off en route to victory at the South African Canoe Marathon Championships this weekend.
Picture: Cameron Hudson/Gameplan Media.

“We are really happy to come away with the victory. Jenna is an absolute master of marathons, so it was a privilege to paddle behind her,” said McGregor.

In Men’s K2, Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocke took silver, finishing less than two seconds behind winners Hamish Lovemore and Clinton Cook.

Lovemore scored a hat trick, also winning the K1 Under-23 and K1 Open races.

“Hats off to Clint and Hamish, they definitely got the better of us at the finish,” McGregor said.

“It was our first race together in five years (in reference to Mocke) so we have something to work on in the coming months,” he said.

Despite young challengers threatening the throne, the McGregors – paddling’s first family – continue to shine and will no doubt represent their country again in September.


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