Fish River Canoe Marathon Media Service  No: Fish2002

 23 June 2020

 Embargo: None Written by: Nick Tatham

Organisers cancel 2020 Fish

Cradock – Following the continued uncertainty around the hosting of mass participation sporting events due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, the organisers of the 2020 Fish River Canoe Marathon have taken the decision to cancel the race scheduled for 25-26 September.

The event has become the biggest paddling event in the country and was set to host the South African National K1 and K3 River Championships this year, but with just over three months to go organisers have made the decision to cancel the 38th edition of the race.

"Although South Africa is currently operating under level 3 of the lockdown regulations, there is no indication when mass participation events and functions will be able to start, or what the protocols will be," chairman of the organising committee Roy Copeman said.

“We’ve also had numerous meetings and discussions with affected parties, trying to take in all the known and unknown factors to determine our way forward.

“Given the scale and budget of the Fish, and the impact that it has on so many spheres of the Cradock community, we had to make a decision now,” he added. “We strongly believe our solution is the one that benefits our paddlers the most.”

A number of other factors have hamstrung the organisers as the majority of the paddlers taking part travel into Cradock from outside of the province which adds more uncertainty to the hosting of the two-day event.

“Cross provincial travel restrictions might potentially ease during lockdown level two but the status of ‘hotspots’ can fluctuate and prevent travelling between provinces any time during lockdown.

“Mass participation events will only be allowed to take place under lockdown level 0 and we are unsure of the time-frame of the various levels or when level 0 will happen.

“There is also uncertainty around when supporting businesses can operate normally, such as accommodation establishments and restaurants. This has a huge impact on our event,” he added.

Despite the cancellation the committee is still continuing with an open mind with the option of a social Fish River Canoe Marathon still on the table later in the year.

“If the opportunity presents itself later in the year, we will organize a “Social Fish”.

“The possible plan will be to start Day One at Prospect and finish at Baroda. Day Two from Knutsford to Cradock, finishing at the Cradock Canoe Club.

“We sincerely hope that you understand this was not a decision we wanted to make, but, we are forced to comply with the restrictions regulated by our government,” Copeman added.

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As the coronavirus continues to spread uncertainty around the hosting of mass participation events the Fish River Canoe Marathon organising committee have taken the decision to cancel the 2020 edition of the race. Anthony Grote/
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