Canoe Marathon Diary Note
by: Dave Macleod
Ozzie Gladwin's canoeing legacy honoured annually
Pietermaritzburg - One of the biggest canoeing races in the
annual build-up to the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon pays tribute to Ozzie
Gladwin, a stalwart of the sport in the 1960s, who strangely, was never
a paddler himself.
Ozzie Gladwin got involved in the sport supporting his son Peter
Gladwin, who was a successful doubles paddler in the early days of the
Dusi, winning the K2 title in 1959 with Dave Sterling, and again with
Derek Antrobus in 1963 and 1964. Peter Gladwin married Fletcher
Campbellís daughter, which gradually drew Ozzie Gladwin closer to the
Ozzie Gladwin was a respected time keeper at the Roy Hesketh race track
in Pietermaritzburg, and was tasked with bringing his timekeeping and
administrative experience to canoeing, and he quickly became a regular
feature at all the domestic races run by the provincial canoeing union.
With the local season leading inextricably to the annual Dusi Marathon
from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, Gladwin was closely involved with the
organising and running of the race in the sixties.
He added another string to his bow when he used his amateur radio ham
experience to try and solve the perennial problem of a lack of
communication once the race got deep into the Valley of a Thousand
Demand for information on what was happening in the Dusi every year,
particularly from the newspapers and the SABC Radio stations, led
Gladwin to fitting a radio unit to his Willyís Jeep, and thereby
enabling updates on the raceís progress to be transmitted out of the
valley for the first time.
Gladwin set up a network of fellow radio ham operators along the route
to whom he would communicate updates on the racer, which were then
telephoned to the newspapers and radio stations.
"He was a very amiable man, everyone liked him," recalls his son Peter.
"He took the timekeeping job very seriously, and was also a fantastic
supporter and second to me and my partners over the years.
"It is a fantastic tribute to have the race named after him," Peter
added. "And it is a race that has continued to grow over the years,
which he would have appreciated."
Peter Gladwin enjoys recalling the pioneering days of his racing and his
father Ozzie's involvement as an official.
"It was so different to the Dusi of today," says Gladwin. "There was no
seconding allowed at all, you couldn't even get some water from another
person. You had to cook your own grub, and any boat repairs you had to
do yourself, in race time!"
While the advances in technology gradually replaced Ozzie Gladwinís
communication solution, he is remembered as a loyal servant of the
sport, and the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon that is held from Albert
Falls dam to Thornvale Farm on the Upper uMngeni every year, pays
tribute to his contribution to the sport.
The 2017 Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon takes place from Albert Falls Dam to Thornvale
Farm on Sunday 26 November. More information can be found at
Click to download the hi-res
Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon
Horizontal Logo -
Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon
Square Logo -
Ozzie Gladwin (left) with his
son Peter at the finish of the Dusi Canoe Marathon. The annual Ozzie
Gladwin Canoe Marathon honours his contribution to canoeing
administration, timekeeping and his innovative radio ham solution to
getting information out of the valleys during the early days of the
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