By Fleur Rollason
To finish the marathon, the canoeists have to complete 48 kilometres on the first day and 35.4 kilometres on the second. The last ten kilometres of the race are the most exciting, with three weirs that the canoeists have to navigate. There is also the opportunity for canoeists to portage over the trickier parts of the river. This is when the canoeists walk around the weirs or rapids, while carrying their canoes, and get back into the water on the other side. The Cradock weir, the last weir of the course, is very popular with the spectators as they can watch the braver canoeists negotiate it, hopefully without capsizing. There are three types of canoes that take part in races. The K1 has only one person paddling; K2 has two rowers paddling together and K3, which seats three paddlers. K3 is unique to South Africa and this division was allowed to race with the K1s and K2s for the first time this year. There have been concerns over safety as they are larger boats and may cause problems for the smaller canoes. However, there did not seem to be any problems with the three divisions racing together. The men’s K1 winner, Len Jenkins, set a new record, beating the old one by 1.48 seconds. It was his fourth successive win. The women’s K1 winner was Abbey Miedema who just missed breaking her own record. The first Rhodes canoeist across the finish line was Ross McGeary, who was placed 67th overall. The first Rhodes woman home was the club chairperson, Sabrina Chesterman, who came in 742 overall out of just under a thousand competitors. The canoeists and spectators were lucky as the weather held up for the two days of racing.