Sandton paddlers start their 12th marathon

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Sandton residents Steve Stapylton-Smith and Michael Koller recently tackled tough rapids to complete their 12th Fish River Canoe Marathon in the Eastern Cape.

Gauteng Canoeing Union Media Liaison Jennie Dallas said the pair traveled with a number of paddlers from Gauteng to Cradock in the Eastern Cape to assemble at Grassridge Dam for the start of the thrilling river race.

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“[The] the release of water provides local farmers by arrangement, to fill their reservoirs, which creates roaring rapids filled with thrilling waves and rapid flow and allows paddlers to shoot the various weirs, most with chutes built over them, without significant damage to low water rock sections,” Dallas said.
The duo completed the 80km marathon in seven hours and 30 minutes over two days – 16th in the masters age category and 70th in K2 (two-man double kayak).

“They really enjoyed the fish [marathon] again a very well organized event where the people of Cradock go out of their way to accommodate the crowds of visitors and host the annual canoe pilgrimage.

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“The river is always thrilling, freezing but clean with fantastic rapids and weirs on both days.”

Of the 12th marathons completed by Stapylton-Smith and Koller, they have completed 10 together.

“They are both active sportsmen and Steve [Stapylton-Smith] enjoys working out, running and canoeing. Mike [Koller] is also an avid polo player [horses] and enjoys mountain biking.

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