Lindy Taverner

Paddling hero's Berg tips

2011-07-01 08:01
Sport24 columnist Lindy Taverner (File)
Lindy Taverner

Seven-time Windhoek Berg River canoe marathon champion, Hank McGregor, and Eastern Cape Olympian Michéle Eray respectively won the Dunlop Surf Ski World Cup titles on the weekend in Durban.

They accomplished this just a week after both having won their races in the Swartland marathon that covers a third of the Berg River course. There are two serious contenders for the most hardcore sports people in SA!

They have now set their sights on the Berg titles. Four days and 243km of tough canoeing is expected on this wintery  50th Berg Marathon from July 13-16. The four-day staged expedition race departs from Paarl in the Winelands of the Western Cape and concludes in Port Owen.

McGregor reminds paddlers, “Wear your warmest gear, take rain jackets and dry your clothes around the monstrous fires at the overnight stops. Store boats upside down and empty the pumps to prevent ice from forming inside. If you can help it don't be the one to take your tent down in the morning as your fingers will hate you, and tape your blisters with insulation tape in the mornings!”

The Berg’s defending ladies champion, Robyn Kime, kindly shared these personal tips:
“As a novice on the Berg the furthest you have probably paddled before in a race is about 45km. So I suggest taking the start of each day very slowly.”
“On the last day your body is exhausted, and you will know how hard you can push and how to pace yourself. Working together is essential as the river is wide, flat and slow moving.”

"Enjoy the great camaraderie and atmosphere of the Windhoek Berg as you won’t find anything quite like it anywhere else. The last few kilometres of each day feel almost impossible for all paddlers, novice and elite.  Enjoy the feeling at the finish. No matter how long you take, finishing the Berg is a huge accomplishment."

Thanks to Jeff Ayliffe from World Sport Media for his assistance with this column.

Lindy Taverner is the editor of the RUSH magazine that was based in the Eastern Cape and recently relocated to Cape Town. Previous issues and updated extreme sport news can be found on her site

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    lindy taverner  |  cape town

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