Adventure Sport

Herreveld back for 10th Berg

2011-06-28 20:56
Robbie Herreveld (File)
Cape Town - Gauteng river racer Robbie Herreveld will be making a return to the Windhoek Berg River Canoe Marathon after an absence of fifteen years since his total domination of the highly competitive races in the nineties.

Herreveld was justifiably known as the "King of the Berg" for his unbeaten run of six victories from 1991 to 1996, and still holds the record for being the youngest overall winner of the race at 19 years of age.

Now 40, Herreveld, who runs a successful kayak business in Sandton, has come out of retirement to share in the occasion of the 50th anniversary of a race that consumed his attention as a young athlete.

"I just had to be part of the 50th Berg," says Herreveld.

"To tell the truth I have been planning to go back to do another one for a number of years but things just got in the way. I got a palm thorn through my knee that needed a number of operations, then a virus sidelined me. But I just have to be there for the 50th Berg."

"It will also be my tenth Berg, which is significant," he added.

Herreveld drove past the start in Paarl recently, and it brought memories flooding back of his competitive days when he would arrive as part of a hardy Gauteng contingent to take on the best of the country's river marathoners.

Throughout his reign as the King of the Berg he had the affable Graeme Monteith at his side, at times as an adversary but often as an ally in the tough marathon racing that is integral to the 243km race to the West Coast.

"Monty and I are good friends and club mates and I am chuffed that we are both doing the race this year," said Herreveld.

"We really enjoyed the way the Berg was raced in those years. Make no mistake it was hard but it was clean and fair. That's the way we like it."

Herreveld's training has been derailed at a key stage in his endurance based training by flu, but the big framed Dutch born international will never back off from a challenge.

"We will just have to see what this old body has got in it," he muses in understatement.

"I really just want to go out there and enjoy the race and the occasion. Fifteen years is a long layoff, so we will just have to wait and see."

The Berg River Canoe Marathon takes place from 13 to 16 July 2011, preceded by a time trial on 12 July.


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