WATCH | 2022 Fish River Canoe Marathon ends with Birkett and Hartley as champions


Upon her time-out departure, Bridgitte Hartley said her first challenge was to join a fast-paced group of male paddlers.

Andy Birkett and Bridgitte Hartley were crowned SA K1 River Champions after scoring victories in the men’s and women’s races at the 40th Fish River Canoe Marathon today, October 8th.

A week after winning the world marathon title, Birkett showed his class and form by adding four more minutes to his overnight lead as he completed a clear final stage to win the title.

With no pressure Birkett said he was able to enjoy the 38 kilometer second stage from Knutsford to the finish in Cradock.

“I had a lot of fun on the river today,” said the East London-based Euro Steel ace.

“Nerves always go through the roof at Cradock Weir. You never know in Cradock. You could bathe and swim for a long time. Luckily I was clean on the river today,” said Birkett.

Birkett added that since his move to the Eastern Cape he had appreciated the intensity of the Borders training squad and highlighted the performances of Josh Fenn in Portugal and Matt Fenn on the overall fish podium as champions. U/23. The victory follows Birkett’s victory in the K2 championship race with Nicky Notten last year, making him one of the race’s few back-to-back champions.

Clinton Cook took second place honours, edging out local Matt Fenn, who won the Canoeing South Africa U/23 CSA gold medal. Since his time-out departure, Hartley said his first challenge was to join a fast-paced group of male paddlers.

“It was super hard! A few weeks ago I did a beat and the guys really worked me out so I decided I had to stick with this group and work hard,” the London Olympics bronze medalist said in 2012.

“I lost the group over Gauging Weir but decided to paddle into myself and make sure I didn’t make a mistake,” she added.

The reward for his efforts was the luxury of opting for the portage around Cradock Weir before completing the 20-minute victory procession until arriving at Cradock Sports Complex to successfully defend his K1 Fish title.

The women’s podium was rocked by the omission of Christie Mackenzie, who missed her morning A start, assuming she was starting on time. She finished second overall for the fastest women, but was omitted from the official results by race officials. This left the door open for Jordy Peek to win the silver medal and for Kirsten Scott to sneak past the women’s podium and lead Tracey Oellerman to the CSA U/23 gold medal.

Matt Fenn took full advantage of his victory in the U/23 men’s division while Jack Shooter won the U/18 gold medal. As the race focused its attention on the K1 as a singles championship year, the only boat beaten to finish by Andy Birkett was the K3 of Ricci Talevi, Nic Weeks and Mike Arthur. Emma Hatfield and Brad Boulle’s mixed doubles was the first K2 to finish.

As the race toasted winners in all age categories, there was a special moment when Rory Anderson was called up to receive the first-ever Fish Hawk award as the first paddler to complete 40 fishing marathons, and the staggering feat of completing each edition. of the popular Eastern Cape classic since its inception in 1982.

Results: (second leg – Knutsford to Cradock)


1.Andy Birkett 2:04:21.05 4:59:08.80

3. Clinton Cook 2:08:32.79 5:10:21.59

4. Matthew Fenn (U/23) 2:08:49.56 5:10:38.94

5. Greg Louw 2:10:17.26 5:12:07.24

6. David Evans (U/23) 2:11:18.43 5:16:20,12

7. Scott Little (U/23) 2:12:39.26 5:17:40.33

8.Wayne Jacobs 2:11:08.42 5:17:59.04

9. Thomas Lovemore 2:12:10.77 5:19:02.51

10. Jack DeSwardt (U/23) 2:11:03.72 5:19:26.72


1. Brigitte Hartley 2:24:19.00 5:49:07.63

2. Jordan Peek 2:28:47.35 5:59:58.68

3. Kirstin Scott 2:33:55.20 6:15:39.98

4. Tracey Oellermann (U/23) 2:34:46.69 6:19:53.99

5. Tracey Van Der Walt 2:32:48.03 6:20:34.26

U/18 Boys:

1.Jack Shooter 2:16:54.16 5:31:11.84

2. Joshua Glyn-Cuthbert 2:20:20.40 5:43:49.72

3.James Sharpe 2:25:31.90 5:47:32.29

4. Ian Hemingway 2:24:59.67 5:52:17.12

5.James Goble 2:21:22.35 5:55:30.09


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