Pietermaritzburg - When 15-year-old Hannah Main sets off on her first
Dusi Canoe Marathon on Thursday morning she will not only be one of the
youngest Dusi competitors, but it will also be unique in that it is half a
century since her grandfather did the iconic three day race from
Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
Highway schoolgirl Main will be paddling her first Dusi with her father Steve,
marking the 50th anniversary since her grandfather Brian Hutchinson and his
partner Malcolm Moor lined up with the 26 other pairs of competitors on the
start line of the 1965 Dusi Canoe Marathon.
Hutchinson completed the race with Malcolm Moor in an approximate time of 18 hours, paddling in the old style canvas canoes. That race was won by
Don Cobbledick and Charlie Mason in a K2.
For the father and daughter combination starting this year's race has set the
1965 winning race time of 13 hours 34 minutes and 47 seconds as one of their
“Hannah and I have been training hard for the last two years," said Steve
Main, who is also one of the teachers in charge of canoeing at Kearsney
"We have put in many hours of training together and we are fully prepared.
Through this we have got to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We have
had our moments in the boat, however we don’t take it too seriously.
"It is an absolute privilege to paddle my 15th Dusi with my daughter and I
am sure other father/daughter combinations will share similar experiences,”
said Steve Main.
They will race in the Father/Child competition, alongside regular Dusi
contender Abby Adie, who is paddling with her father Graham as well as the
Mixed Doubles competition, which will include the powerful crews of world
champion Hank McGregor and his wife Pippa, and former Dusi champ Jason Graham
paddling with Tamaryn Graham.
An increasing number of schoolgirls are taking part in major races, a
consequence of the thriving canoe programmes in operation at many KZN schools,
where parents are often co-opted to paddle with their children.
The 64th edition of the Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift in
Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21
February 2015. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za