River Canoe Marathon Media Service
Hartley & Mackenzie chasing Fish crown
Cradock – Following a whirlwind six weeks for Bridgitte Hartley that
included three international competitions on two continents, she is back
in South Africa and hunting a first K2 crown at the Hansa Fish River
Canoe Marathon with her partner under 23 star Christie Mackenzie from
This year’s race will also double up as the national K2 river
championships which will add some spice to an already well-seasoned
affair with a number of women’s crews coming to the fore ahead of the 82
kilometre showdown next weekend.
Despite Hartley’s travels over the past six weeks she isn’t too
concerned that she hasn’t been able to train with Mackenzie because she
believes they are a combination that clicks well.
“Obviously you would want to spend as much time together as you can
because the more you paddle together the better you get but Christie and
I are a good team,” Hartley said.
“We don’t have to say too much because we are like-minded and we have
raced a lot together in the past so I think that we will be fine when we
get down to Cradock.
“We are going to do quite a bit of tripping before the race so that will
give us a good amount of time for us to get the boat ready again.”
Hartley tasted success at the 2018 edition of the Hansa Fish, winning
the K1 championship race, and realised that she has the ability to
negotiate the tough weirs and rapids having come from a flat-water
“I gained a lot of confidence from last year’s race,” the Euro Steel
athlete mentioned. “I realised that even after a swim I have the ability
to come back and I proved that after I swam at Soutpans and still
managed to win.
“We don’t want to repeat that this year but with that knowledge I have a
lot more belief in my ability going into this year’s race.”
Hartley has broken down both days of the Fish into sections and believes
that there are a few crucial areas that need to be negotiated if you
want to be successful.
“On day one I always think that the race only starts after Soutpans.
There are some big rapids before that, and so after Soutpans you can
reassess and the racing really kicks into gear.
“Day two is very much dependant on your position after day one, and
determines whether you can be cautious through the first three quarters
of the day or whether you have to go hard from the start.
“Day two’s obstacles are at the end so it is crucial that you have saved
some concentration for Cradock Weir because it is so close to the
The K2 crown has eluded Hartley who has had to settle for second in the
previous two K2 races at the Fish. The drive to be defending champion in
both the K1 and K2 race is burning brightly.
“I would love to be the K2 champion and it’s something that I haven’t
been able to nail down but Christie and I will take the race as it comes
and see how we go from there.
“We are going to focus on the task at hand and let the result take care
of itself,” she said philosophically.
More information can be found at
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Hansa Golden Crisp Fish River Canoe
Marathon 2019 Logo - JPeg
The Bridgitte Hartley and
Christie Mackenzie combination will be one to watch at this year's Hansa
Fish River Canoe Marathon from 27-28 September.
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