McGregor and Adie engrave their names into Fish River history

2014-10-13 00:00

CRADOCK — Two new names will be engraved on the Hansa Fish River Canoe marathon winner’s trophies as Hank McGregor and Abby Adie claimed memorable victories in the hotly contested men’s and women’s 2014 clashes yesterday. Nic Burden, Adam Nisbet and Jean-Luc Mauvis were crowned 2014 SA K3 River Marathon champions.

Five-time canoe marathon world champ McGregor narrowly edged out a flying Andy Birkett in the dying metres of the 82 km encounter from Grassridge Dam to the Cradock Sports Complex to add a maiden K1 title to his five consecutive K2 victories at the Eastern Cape event.

“I am double [marathon] world champion and now two weeks later I’ve won the Fish, the one race that I have wanted to win for a long time, to end off a great season for me,” said McGregor. “It was a tough race for sure; I was pushed all the way to the finish. Fortunately I had a bit of a buffer because I hit a bit of a bad patch at Gauging Weir and when Andrew [Birkett] caught up I just stuck to him like glue before I managed to pass him on the flat.”

McGregor landed back in South Africa two weeks ago a tired yet satisfied man after winning gold in both the senior men’s K1 and K2 events at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, but he was adamant the illusive K1 Fish title was still very much on his radar.

With his wife Pippa and son Thorsten on the river banks throughout the two days of racing, McGregor was over the moon to have achieved the feat.

“We all came down to the Fish together and it has been a successful family trip.

“To see [Pippa and Thor] along the race route and here at the finish was really great,” said McGregor.

Birkett started the day 46 seconds behind McGregor but the EuroSteel competitor again showed his unmatched tenacity and unwillingness to give up as he clawed his way back into the encounter shortly after Gauging Weir.

Overnight women’s race leader and the dominant force of South African women’s river marathon scene currently, Abby Adie (Natal Canoe Club/Kayak Centre) quickly extended her slender 29-second lead to beyond three minutes early on in stage two.

A swim at Marlow Chute just eight kilometres from the finish put the young star on edge but she refocused and powered home to add the K1 Fish title to her remarkably long list of 2014 achievements including the SA K1 championships at the Drak Challenge, Non-Stop Dusi, Umkomaas River Canoe Marathon and Berg River Canoe Marathon.

“It was good, hard day today. Michelé pushed me to the limit but my aim was to win the K1 title and I did that, so I am over the moon,” said Adie.


Overall: 1. Hank McGregor 2:05.40 5:00.05, 2. Andy Birkett 2:04.55 5:00:42, 3. Jasper Mocké 2:04.24 5:02.33, 4. Greg Louw 2:08.39 5:06.47, 5. Grant van der Walt 2:08.22 5:07.38

Women: 1. Abby Adie, 2. Michelé Eray, 3. Jenna Ward (U23).

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