River Canoe Marathon Media Service
16 Sept 2022
Written by: Nick Tatham
Hartley eager to defend Fish K1 crown
Cradock – Women’s defending K1 Fish River Canoe Marathon champion Bridgitte
Hartley is eager to test her skills once again at one of South Africa’s
premier river marathons starting at Grassridge Dame on Friday, 7 October.
It was back in 2018 that Hartley claimed her first K1 title at the Fish
when she held off a strong charge from Jenna Nisbet to win the title, and
the SA K1 River Marathon crown. 2022 will also be the SA K1 River Marathon
championship race which adds another dimension to the two-day affair.
Hartley has since also added the K2 title in Cradock to her name when she
teamed up with Christie Mackenzie to finally claim that elusive title, and
the two titles will give her confidence going into this year’s race.
Experience on the Fish River is something that Hartley has developed and
now with the confidence of winning she will be a threat for the other top
women in the field. The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist understands the
pressure that comes with racing.
“We always put pressure on ourselves when racing in any event,” Hartley
said. “I guess I have given myself that pressure but I really just want to
focus on having a good race and enjoying the event.”
Hartley isn’t just heading to Cradock to try and defend her title.
“I am excited about the Fish this year as I have been coaching at
Maritzburg College and there is a big group of boys doing it; so it’s going
to be great to be there racing and supporting them.
“I enjoy the atmosphere at the Fish as it brings paddlers from all
provinces together to compete and socialize in the same place. It’s great
to catch up with paddlers who have supported me as an international athlete
and see how they are doing.
“It also brings new paddlers to our sport as well as children, and with it
being held in a small town I feel there is a wonderful atmosphere and
feeling of community in our sport.”
Coming from a decorated sprinting background Hartley transitioned into
river paddling over a period of time and has now become one of the driving
forces in women’s river racing in South Africa.
The Fish has a reputation of offering up big water thanks to a guaranteed
water release from Grassridge Dam and the obstacles on the Fish are not to
be taken lightly. The famous Keith’s Flyover has always been an obstacle
the Hartley hasn’t quite tamed while the Cradock Weir continues to provide
thrills and spills.
“Keith’s has never been my favourite rapid so I don’t get overly excited
about it," she commented.
“Cradock Weir is a fantastic weir not only for the challenge of it but it’s
the last major obstacle of the race so it’s important to get through it
“The crowd on the bridge is fantastic at cheering paddlers home and gives
me added energy to keep paddling hard for the last few kilometres.”
More information can be found at
download the hi-resolution pic
Fish River Canoe Marathon Logo - Jpeg
here at the 2021 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon, Bridgitte Hartley will be out
to claim her third title at the 2022 Fish River Canoe Marathon when she
takes on the two-day challenge from 7-8 October.
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