Adventure Sport

TV celeb qualifies for Dusi

2012-01-30 13:56
Liezel van der Westhuizen and Gregory van Heerden (File)
Cape Town - After having completed the ultimate one day endurance race in 2010, THE IRONMAN - which comprises of a 3.8km swim followed by a 180km cycle and 42.2km run, to make a total of 226km - SABC3's Expresso Show presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen has qualified to compete in the toughest three-day canoe race in South Africa - The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Van der Westhuizen teamed up with The High Performance Manager for Canoeing South Africa, Gregory van Heerden, for the event. Van Heerden has a wealth of paddling and coaching experience and is looking forward to returning once again to the race that started him paddling 23 years ago.

The duo have now completed six of the qualifying events needed to enter the Unlimited Dusi, by racing and winning the K2 (doubles) section of the Western Cape Canoe Unions “Breede Summer Series” earlier in January.

This past weekend they jetted to KwaZulu-Natal to compete in the Dash and Crash and Campbells to Dusi Bridge races which was Van der Westhuizen’s first glimpse of the legendary Dusi River. They finished in first place in the K2 Doubles on the first Dash and Crash and Top 5 in the second Dash and Crash. During the third race of the weekend, Van der Westhuizen fell during the run leg of the race and sprained her ankle. Van Heerden carried the canoe for most of the 5km run whilst Van der Westhuizen strapped her ankle with the only thing on hand - masking tape! This didn’t get the duo down and they managed to complete the race with enough time to spare. They have now completed all six qualifying races for an entry into The Unlimited Dusi, the only celebrity team to qualify for this year’s race.

Not daunted in any way, and with only 12 weeks from complete novice to the race, Van der Westhuizen has been putting in long hours of tough training with Van Heerden in order to prepare for the event. Daily paddles at Milnerton Canoe Club, beach runs, and gym sessions (including hiking up Table Mountain with the canoe) are all part of the training programme Van Heerden has devised to ensure that the pair not only give the other celebrity entrants a serious run for their money, but are also well prepared to take on the big race.

The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban takes place on February 16-18.

Click here to follow Liezel van der Westhuizen on Twitter

Liezel van der Westhuizen and Dusi partner Gregory van Heerden (File)

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