Drought leads to new 50Miler route

Sbonelo Khwela (front) and Banetse Myhyia. PHOTO: Submitted

THE current drought conditions have lead the Umzinyathi Canoe Club to make drastic alterations to the route for the 50Miler Canoe race on Sunday, 4 December.

The race is one of the major Dusi Canoe Marathon qualifier events. The move has been seen as a proactive step from the club and was the result of discussions with Umgeni Water, which confirmed a water release from Henley Dam for the paddlers, but offered the most sensible use of the water under the circumstances.

Paddlers in general are very mindful of the water levels in the dams and rivers as the low water levels are directly visible to them.

Along with the announcement of the new route is confirmation that the race will once again enjoy the support from leading sports supplement brand, StaminoGro. Ivan Jonsson, key account manager said, “StaminoGro are thrilled to once again be partnering with this iconic event and providing these endurance athletes with quality supplementation to see them reach their full potential.”

The new route for the race will be from Geoff’s Road to Mfula Store. This is a 40km section covering some of the most well known rapids, including certain portages to provide a good training opportunity for those preparing for the Dusi Canoe Marathon in February next year. The upside of holding the 50Miler as a one-day event is that it is now classified as a B-grade river race and can be used to obtain vital qualifying points.

Chairman of the Umzinyathi Canoe Club, Kim Pople, was excited about the race this year, “Drastic conditions require drastic solutions and we think the new route will challenge the paddlers. At the same time, we are working hard to ensure a great experience for the paddlers.”

She also lauded the support from ShareList Properties, Metier Cement and Holdfast as partners for the event as they will add extra value for both the paddlers and spectators.

The local canoe club will pull out all the stops and will have marshals and NSRI divers located at all major rapids to assist with safety and to help show paddlers the best lines. “This allows the race to cater for all levels of paddler ability, from novice through to the top racing athletes. This one is looking like a race definitely not to be missed,” said Kim.

To enter, email Lana on [email protected] Entries close on Wednesday, 30 November at 4pm. Registration for the race starts at 6am at the starting point.

Lloyd Mackenzie

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