Development Canoeists Show Their Mettle in Berg River Canoe Marathon
Among the competitors in this year’s Berg River Canoe Marathon, there are 20 development canoeists included in the line-up for one of the most challenging water races in the Western Cape. The canoe marathon begins on Wednesday, 10 July in Paarl at the Market Street Bridge and ends on Saturday, 13 July in Velddrif.
An iconic 212-km race, the marathon offers a canoeing experience like no other: fast-flowing narrow channels littered with trees, metres of tough, character-testing flat water and the unrelenting winter rain.
The river runs north from Paarl, all the way to the small Boland town of Piketberg, before heading west towards the ocean, with its estuary at the West Coast town of Laaiplek. At the end of the challenging four days, everyone can celebrate and recuperate at the Velddrif Festival, which promises to be bigger and better than last year, with music and festivities.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) has a proud history of supporting this marathon. On Sunday, 7 July 2013, the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr Ivan Meyer, was introduced to the development coaches and canoeists from the Stellenbosch and Paarl Canoe Clubs.
Development coach, Mr Wayne August, is confident that at least one of his paddlers will finish in the top twenty in this year’s marathon. “The team trained an average of five hours per day over the past four months. I’m confident that they will make us proud,” said August.
Wishing the paddlers well, Dr Meyer lauded them for their commitment and preparation for the canoe marathon. “Your sport of choice requires hard work and discipline. You have shown the tenacity and willingness to do well by being out on the water, even on the coldest of days. I’m confident that you will not disappoint,” he said.
Facilitating participation in sport is an integral part of the Department's drive to create opportunities for all in competitive events. This event also offers recreational opportunities for spectators and it highlights the benefits of social inclusion. The Berg River canoe marathon could be an unforgettable experience for the development canoeists.