The organisers of the annual Breede River Canoe Marathon have shifted the dates of the 2017 race to the weekend after the ICF World Marathon Championships in Pietermaritzburg, hoping to lure some international stars to extend their stay in South Africa to take on the two day classic through the Cape winelands.
Normally on the first weekend in September, the 2017 edition of the 71km race will now be staged on the weekend of 16 and 17 September.
Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg will be the venue for the much-anticipated ICF Canoe Marathon World Champs from 7 to 10 September, the venue which is also the start of the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon in February each year.
This has piqued the interest in the colourful calendar of major multi-day South African river marathons amongst many international marathoners, some of whom are planning to head to the Western Cape after the conclusion of the World Champs to take on the challenge of the famous Breede Marathon.
The race is skewed heavily in favour of K2s, or doubles, with the generally wide and flat nature of the Breede river lending itself to marathon racing in K2 and even K3 craft.
Local paddlers have shown a willingness to help international paddlers by assisting with river-ready K2 craft with overstern rudders best suited to racing the Breede, as the flatwater marathon K2 craft are all fitted with understern rudders.
Race organisers are optimistic that the forecast for late winter and spring rains will help ease the drought-ravaged region into paddler-friendly conditions come mid-September.
Entries for the event have already opened online at the race website, and normal entries can be lodged until midnight non Tuesday 5 September.
The first stage consists of 37km from outside Robertson to Riggton Farm near Bonnievale, which includes technical tests at the Goudmyn sliding weir and low level bridges and Secunda weir. The final stage is 33,5km to the Kam’bati Resort outside Swellendam.
Breede river Canoe Marathon 2017
Stage One – Saturday 16 September
Robertson (McGregor Bridge) to Bonnievale (Riggton River Farm)
Stage Two – Sunday 17 September
Distance : 33,5km
Bonnievale (Riggton River Farm) to Kam’bati River Resort
The finish will be at Kam’bati River Resort near Swellendam.
Prizegiving will start before 14h00