River Canoe Marathon Media Release
: Dave Macleod
Rains set to bolster Berg River stock
Paarl - The fate of the 2017 Berg River Canoe Marathon hangs in
the balance as a well-timed cold front makes landfall in the
Boland on Sunday, with expected rains that could rescue what is
looking to be a very tough four day outing on a low river.
With the Western Cape still in the grip of the drought that has
ravaged the region for over a year, and water restrictions
tightening as dam levels continue to drop to critical levels,
paddlers have suffered this winter as the Berg River has been
running desperately low.
The organisers of the race have announced a contingency plan,
based on the low water level, and the spreading hyacinth that
has chocked the river between Grensplaas and Gouda, covering the
last quarter of the first stage and the first section of the
If the rains significantly raise the level of the river, then
there is a plan to start the race higher of, running the first
stage from the Franschhoek Bridge and ending at Grensplaas.
Should the rains have little impact on the upper reaches of the
Berg River below the massive Berg River dam outside Paarl, then
the option will revert to starting at Gouda and finishing on
Misverstand dam after doing a lap on the dam to make up the 60km
distance of the first stage.
In these circumstances, Stage Two will be a repeat of the first
stage, but without the loop on the dam.
The entry is devoid of all the big names in Western Cape
marathon paddling, bar regular top tenner Heinrich Schloms, who
is quick to admit that he is undertrained. Berg icon Graeme
Solomon is playing a wait-and-see game before thinking of an
eleventh hour entry.
Defending champion Hank McGregor is away on a global surfski
tour, as is the winner of the recent Pink Lady SA K1 marathon
Jasper Mocké. With just days to go before the race, there are
only three senior men entered.
One of them could be the first international paddler to win the
56 year old title, in classy Hungarian Adrián Boros, fresh from
a double podium weekend at the European Marathon Championships.
He will be in a strong position to be able to build a campaign
around his two fellow international team mates Keith Moule from
the UK and Czech star Petr Mojžíšek.
The women’s field is fronted by defending champ Bianca Beavitt,
with Kirsten Penderis and Master Robyn Henderson as podium
contenders. Beavitt could well race inside the record for the
highest overall position achieved by a female paddler in the
Berg, set by Alexa Cole in 2005 when she finished 18th.
For the brave paddlers that are already entered, it will be a
nervy weekend as they wait for the cold front to arrive on
Saturday night, and then await news of the impact that the rains
will have on the upper reaches of the Berg River.
The race organisers will make the final call on the race route
on Monday morning.
The Berg River Canoe marathon
starts in Paarl on 12 July and ends at Velddrif on 15 July. More
information can be found at
(click to download
Click HERE to download
Berg River Canoe Marathon
Horizontal on white - JPeg
With a cold front approaching the Western Cape this weekend,
Berg River Canoe Marathon organisers are hoping that this rain
will mean that the race can follow its traditional route from
Paarl to Velddrif from 12-15 July.
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