One of the first entries received for the upcoming Breede River Canoe Marathon on 3 and 4 September was that of the powerhouse KZN women’s crew of Jenna Nisbet and Pippa McGregor, dramatically changing the complexion of what will be a highly competitive women’s race.
The pair won gold at the SA Marathon Champs held at Hazelmere Dam in June, earning them their place in the national team to contest the ICF World Marathon Championships in Ponte De Lima in Portugal at the end of September.
Nisbet says that the timing of the Breede Marathon is ideal for their preparations for a shot at the women’s podium at the world champs a month after the Breede.
“We really wanted to try and get as much race experience as we could before we race at the world marathon champs in Portugal,” said Nisbet.
“At the moment there is not that much on the calendar for us to do, so we had to sit and work out which is the best race for us to do.
“We are really looking forward to the adventure!” said Nisbet, who hasn’t raced the Breede since her podium finish with Kim van Gysen in 2012.
Nisbet said that they are looking for a tough test of their ability in the build-up to the world champs, even if it means racing against the elite men’s crews around them.
“It’s hard to tell what the women’s field is going to be like, but we are keen to mix it up with some of the men and see how we go,” said Nisbet.
“The plan is to use it as our final training block before the worlds,” she said.
The entry from the Team Euro Steel women has fuelled speculation that McGregor’s husband Hank McGregor could well have booked travel to the Western Cape for the race as well to use the event as his final competitive outing with K2 partner Jasper Mocké ahead of the world champs in Portugal.