River Canoe Marathon
Embargo : None
Fish excitement comes to the fore
Cradock – One of the annual canoeing highlights gets underway on Friday
as the 35th edition of the Fish River Canoe Marathon takes centre stage
as paddlers from all over the country converging on the small Karoo town
of Cradock for the two day 82km race.
The 2017 edition of the race will have some added spice as it also
doubles as the South African K2 River Marathon Championships. This
increased incentive will guarantee exciting racing at the sharp end of
When discussing potential winners it seems that people won't look
further than defending K2 champions Andy Birkett and hometown hero Greg
Louw. The pair snuck to victory in 2015 over Hank McGregor and Jasper
Mocké and should be out-and-out favourites for the title this time
McGregor, who won his tenth world marathon title last month, will be
taking on the challenge with good friend and business partner Lee Furby.
The pair are the current South African doubles surfski champions having
won the Gara Dolphin Coast Challenge in August and seem to be enjoying
the idea of racing Fish together.
The interesting fight at this year’s race is going to be for the rest of
the spots in the top five. There are a number of combinations that will
be eying a spot on the podium but they will need to beware of a handful
of outside pairs.
There is a distinct international flavour at this year's Fish River
Canoe Marathon with a number of paddlers from overseas teaming up with
local paddlers hoping to push for a spot on the podium at this year's
Of the international paddlers Hungarian ace Adrian Boros is the headline
act. The 2017 world marathon championship bronze medallist will team up
with Murray Starr for the event and the pair are widely fancied for a
Three-time Breede Canoe Marathon winner Stuart Maclaren will join forces
with French marathon and sprint star Cryille Carre while 2015 Fish
bronze medallist Siseko Ntondini has joined forces with Spanish marathon
powerhouse Kiko Vega.
There will also be a strong South African contingent as always with the
likes of Alan and Andrew Houston, Kenny Rice and Tom Lovemore, Mark
Keeling and Nick Notten as well as juniors Stewart Little and Alex
Masina and Hamish Mackenzie and David Evans fighting it out for the
Under 18 crown and pushing for a top ten finish overall.
The ladies race looks to be far less clear-cut than the men's race with
the women's batch featuring a group of K2 combinations vying for the top
The South African/Czech Republic combination of Jenna Ward and Anna
Kožíšková will go into the contest with a relative lack of training time
Kožíšková, the defending K2 champion, and Ward, who is a renowned
marathon paddler, could form a formidable combination at this year's
event and will be a combination that will be eyeing the winners spoils.
2015 silver medallist at the Fish was Bridgitte Hartley. The former
Olympic bronze medallist is teaming up with Kristina Bedec from Serbia.
The pair have been working hard together in the past few weeks and will
provide a stern test for the other title hopefuls over the two days of
2016 Marathon world championships K2 silver medallist Kyeta Purchase
will join up with good friend and Euro Steel teammate Kerry Segal for
the outing while Nikki Russell will team up with young world
championship K1 bronze medallist Christie Mackenzie for the race
starting on Friday.
One of the set K2 pairings, a pair that represented South Africa at the
recent marathon world championships, is that of Caitlin Mackenzie and
Amy Peckett. The Under 18 combination will prove tough to beat when it
comes to the overall junior girls crown.
The 2017 Fish river Canoe Marathon will for the first time incorporate a
Paddling Herd as part of The Cows, the charity fundraising foundation
that raises money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation. There are at
least 22 people signed up to race this year’s race for The Cows and they
have currently raised over R70 000.
Of this money raised The Cows will distribute it to their main
benefactor CHOC as well as to the Cradock Cancer Care Centre.
The first stage of the 2017 Fish River Canoe Marathon takes paddlers
45,8km from Grassridge Dam to Knutsford on Friday morning. More information
can be found at
Event: 2017 Fish River Canoe
Championships: 2017 South Africa K2 Marathon Championships
Date: 6 & 7 October 2017
Venue: Cradock, Eastern Cape
Stages: Day One - Grassridge Dam to below Knutsford Bridge (48km)
Day Two -
Below Knutsford Bridge to Cradock Sports Complex (36km)
Social Media: #Fish2017
download the hi-resolution pic
Fish River Canoe
Marathon 2017 Logo - JPeg
Merrel/Knysna Racing's Greg
Louw and Euro Steel's Andy Birkett will be the out-and-out favourites
going into the 2017 Fish River Canoe Marathon from 6 to 7 October 2017.
The Houston bothers Alan
(front) and Andrew (back) could be a dangerous pair as they prepare for
the 2017 Fish River Canoe Marathon from 6 to 7 October 2017.
Nick Floros and partner Nicky
Irvine will be paddling this year as part of The Cow's Paddling Herd at
the 2017 Fish River Canoe Marathon from 6 to 7 October 2017.
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