River Canoe Marathon Media Service
09 Sept 2021
Written by: Dave Macleod
Hartley & Mackenzie a definite for Fish 2021
Cradock - Bridgitte Hartley and Christie Mackenzie have confirmed their
entry for the Fish River Canoe Marathon on 8 and 9 October, excited to
take their form from the world marathon championships in Romania the
week before into the race.
Hartley and Mackenzie were the dominant women’s crew on the final stage,
but a swim at Cradock weir, twenty minutes from the race finish, left
the door open for Jenna Nisbett and Kyeta Purchase to scamper past them
and take the honours so they will be out to reverse the drama of 2019
that saw the K2 title slip through their fingers in the closing minutes
of the race.
Pietermaritzburg-based Hartley, who has won the K1 edition of the race
in 2018, is looking forward to another shot at the K2 title, and says
her partnership with Gauteng resident Mackenzie has grown since that
last Fish challenge.
“It is a great combination that clicks almost immediately when we get
into the boat together,” said Hartley.
“I spent a really good week training with Christie in Johannesburg last
month, getting in some speed sessions, distance sessions and the
infamous Dabulamanzi dice which is pretty intense, and the boat felt
Hartley said that their personalities are well matched, and they are
able to monitor each other’s composure in the heat of competition
“I enjoy Christies confidence and power in the boat. She normally drives
the boat in the front seat, even though we did swop during our training
last month because the boat was fitted with a t-bar, and it felt just as
good,” said Hartley.
“If I get stressed out during a race she is always there to calm me
down, and similarly if I sense she is getting carried away I can calm
“The one thing I do know about Christie is that she will always give you
100% in every training session and every race,” she added.
Hartley jets off to the world sprint championships in Denmark this
weekend, and after a brief sojourn in Hungary she will join the national
marathon team in Romania, where she is excited that their race schedule
fits in with their K2 plans perfectly.
“We both race our K1 races on the same day,” she explained. “I have my
short course race and she races the Under 23 K1, so that means we have a
full day after that to get into the K2 together and settle into it
before we race.”
She added that once the world marathon championships end it will be a
race to get down to Cradock to prepare for the Fish.
“We can only leave Romania on the Monday so I plan to go straight down
to Cradock from Johannesburg. That will allow us to get two full days
tripping in on the river before the race.
“I am really looking forward to this year’s Fish! There are quite a few
women’s crews that are going well at the moment and it has been
fantastic to have the women’s race at the Fish being so close and
exciting in the last few years.
“I have only ever won it in a single, so I would love to win it with
Christie this year. It is a tactical race. You are tempted to go hard
but you have to balance it with caution and not making any mistakes,”
More information can be found at
download the hi-resolution pic
2019's runners up and 2021
World Marathon Championship partners Christie Mackenzie (front) and
Bridgitte Hartley (back) will return to try and go one better at the
2021 Fish River Canoe Marathon from 8-9 October.
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