Canoeing South Africa Media Release

 No: CSA2022

11 Oct 2020

 Embargo : None

Written by: Dave Macleod

Changing of the guard at SA Marathon Champs

St. Francis - Hamish Lovemore and Esti Van Tonder both toppled the established giants of marathon paddling by winning the men's and women's' titles at the SA Marathon Championships in St. Francis on Sunday.

The anchor event of the P.W. Harvey & Carey Olsen St. Francis Paddle Fest, the singles title deciders were contested in near perfect weather conditions on the canals and beach portages at St. Francis, in sharp contrast to the storms that disrupted first day’s events.

Lovemore, still an Under 23 paddler, was prominent in a four-way duel with eleven-time world champion Hank McGregor, rising Cape star Uli Hart and the evergreen Kenny Rice going into the final sprint finish.

McGregor gambled by opting for an extreme left hand line, hoping to find favourable currents in the canal, while Lovemore stayed right and fought a ding-dong sprint battle with fellow Under 23 paddler Hart, which he won by half a boat length.

McGregor had to settle for the small step on the podium, a rare occurrence in his illustrious career but heaped praise on his MacSquad training mate and doubles partner for winning the title.

"The smile on my face at the finish was pure relief because I was cramping so badly for the last half an hour," said Lovemore.

"It was hotter than expected and I went through a lot of juice and the pace on the water was really hot with quite a big bunch for most of the race.

While he has won major races before, he was quick to point out that this was by far the biggest achievement of his paddling career.

"It feels so satisfying to finally feel like I have made a name for myself," he said, before heaping praise on his coach Lee McGregor for the impact that his new personalised training programme has had.

In the women's blue ribbon K1 race defending champion Bridgitte Hartley and perennial marathon favourite Jenna Ward were made to sweat by sprinter Esti van Tonder and the much-talked-about schoolgirl sensation Saskia Hockly as the race entered its critical stage.

Hockly, who looked to threaten the loftier reaches of the senior podium, despite her 16 years of age, opted to stop early and settle for the junior title instead of staying on the water for another half an hour to challenge for senior honours, largely driven by a desire to bank energy for her K2 challenge with Ward on Monday.

With Hartley off the front bunch, that left Ward and Van Tonder to challenge for line honours, and Van Tonder showed her 200 metre sprinting prowess by powering away to deny Ward the national title, with Hartley making up the balance of the podium.

Michaelhouse stars Sam Butcher and Matt Millward swept the boards in the junior boys race in a total domination of the Under 18 category.

Durban lifesaving iron-man Connor Botha won the first ever prone class event while Cameron Tripney headed the field of Stand-Up-Paddleboarders home.

On Monday the canals of St. Francis host the K2 races at the SA Marathon Championships on the second day of the P.W. Harvey & Carey Olsen St. Francis Paddle Fest.

1 Hamish Lovemore U23
2 Uli Hart U23
3 Hank McGregor
1 Sam Butcher
2 Matthew Millward

1 Lee McGregor 1:58:53.41
2 Michael Stewart 2:00:55.34
3 Pieter Engelbrecht 2:00:56.82
1 Robert Hart 1:38:35.11
2 Brendon Thompson 1:38:35.59
3 Eugene Van Der Westhuizen 1:38:37.69
1 Pierre Van Der Merwe 1:42:05.44
2 Theo Smit 1:42:06.30
3 Lloyd Hanson 1:42:25.69
1 Rob Maclean 1:37:15.24
2 Rob Welsh 1:42:14.52
3 Garth Watters 1:44:49.91
1 Mike Staphorst 1:58:27.56
2 Frank Dabrowski 1:58:31.10
3 Mike Halliday 1:58:35.23

1 Esti Van Tonder 2:04:41.07
2 Jenna Ward 2:04:41.65
3 Bridgitte Hartley 2:07:28.17
1 Holly Smith 1:28:38.90
2 Abby Raymer 1:31:08.26
U18 and U16
1 Saskia Hockly 1:40:24.89
2 Christy Shrimpton 1:45:38.97
3 Jade Wilson 1:45:39.95
1 Angie Austin 1:47:18.93
2 Kirstin Scott 1:50:47.13
3 Iwona Gancarz 1:54:41.52
1 Lis Hart 1:27:01.40
2 Hilde Lapere 1:31:06.35

SUP and Prone
1 Migael Terblanche 1:16:27.15
2 Chiara Vorster 2:02:59.00
1 Cameron Tripney 1:43:50.43
2 Kimon Dos santos 1:44:11.35
3 Gary Van Rooyen 1:50:59.97
1 Connor Ed Botha 1:13:31.76
2 Jonny Lucas 1:16:51.27
3 Jadon Wessels 1:19:02.24
4 Kit Beaton 1:19:29.15
5 Paige Horne 1:40:41.16 F1
6 Carmel Billson 1:40:41.53  F2

For more information visit


Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic
Canoeing South Africa Logo (GIF).  

Hamish Lovemore stole the limelight away from the established stars by snatching the SA Marathon Championships senior title on the St. Francis Canals on Sunday. John Hishin/
Gameplan Media

Sprinter Esti Van Tonder (front, left) trumped Jenna Ward (right) in the end-sprint to claim the women's title at the SA Marathon Chaps, part of the P.W. Harvey & Carey Olsen St. Francis Paddle Fest. Antje Hockley/
Gameplan Media

Durban schoolgirl Saskia Hockly romped to an easy win in the junior girls K1 class  at the SA Marathon Chaps, part of the P.W. Harvey & Carey Olsen St. Francis Paddle Fest. Antje Hockley/
Gameplan Media

Conditions of usage of photographs: All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements, commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at the details below.
Is this of no value to you?
This media release is intended for use by media professionals covering this specific activity or sport. Should this release not be relevant you, please advise us immediately and we will be glad to remove your name from this particular database. It would be useful to us if you could advise us which subjects you would like to continue receiving releases on.
For any further information, or if you cannot access the images, please contact:
Gameplan Media
(031) 764 3017