Adventure Sport

Eray faces fitness battle

2011-09-20 10:14
Michelle Erap (Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media)
Cradock - Defending champion Michele Eray is locked in a race against time to recover from a tendon injury in time for the Hansa Fish Marathon that starts on October 7.

Eray has already withdrawn from the national marathon team going to the world marathon champions as she struggles to shake of a debilitating tendonitis injury that derailed her recent worldwide surfski tour.

Eray won the women's division of a surfski race in the US in excruciating pain as the inflamed tendons in her lower forearms worsened throughout the race, eventually forcing her to abort the rest of her tour and return home to try and deal with the crippling injury.

"I guess it’s the cumulative effect of years of racing without a break," said Eray. "The tendons in the back of my left hand are the problem and it has been six weeks off training and at the physio to try and get it right. I definitely won't be able to put in the training I was hoping to for the world marathon champs so I have formally withdrawn from the team."

"The Hansa Fish is another story though," she added. "It is my local event and it is such a classic race, on and off the water, that I just cannot miss it. I hope to be able to start doing some paddling next week and that will give me three weeks to get some sort of form together to try and defend my title with Robyn (Kime)."

"This break has been a bit of a blessing in disguise because it has made me think about what events are important to me," she said. "I respect events that respect women. It's as simple as that. I will go all out to support events that offer equal prizemoney to the men's and women's winners and for years the Hansa Fish has done that."

Eray won the K2 title with Kime last year, triggering celebrations in local paddling circles as an Eastern Cape local won a race title for the first time in more than a decade.

She has been in sublime form since then, winning the Dunlop Surfski World Cup and the tough Berg titles before setting her sights on the second half of the year packed with major surfski internationals and crucially the women's K1 race at the world marathon championships in Singapore in October.

As a full time coach and biokineticist Eray knows how far to push the human body, but she is struggling to come to terms with the tendon injury that has brought her racing and training to a grinding halt.

The 30th edition of the Hansa Fish river canoe marathon takes place in Cradock on October 7 and 8. More information can be found at


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