Shongweni Dam to host SA Marathon Championships

2011-07-02 00:00

KZN will be hosting the SA Marathon Championships this year. The racing is going to be on August 13 and 14 at Shongweni Dam, home of Umzinyathi Canoe Club. The SA Champs always double as the selection event for the SA Marathon team to attend the World Championships. This is across all age-groups — Junior, U23, Seniors and all the “Master” Classes.

This year the World Champs are in Singapore from October 19-24 and they are centred around a spectacular floating soccer pitch that will be used for the portages. As a result the portage take-outs and put-ins are all on hard jetties instead of the beaches or river banks we usually have in SA.

As a result the guys at Umzinyathi have been hard at work building a floating jetty that the paddlers will use during our racing to practice jetty take-outs and put-ins. They have also replaced all the turning buoys on the dam with new fibreglass floats.

In the lead-up to SA Champs, KZN are holding a number of practice events and KZN Marathon Championships on the same course.

For the practice events the intention is to hold a relatively serious time trial-style of race with the aim of introducing people to the excitement and bustle of flat-water racing and all the nuances that are involved with group dynamics, wave riding, tight starts and finishes and portage hustle.

This has raised a lot of interest as it enables the locals to practise on the course and jetty. The first practice event is today at 9 am. The course will be in a clockwise direction round the edge of the dam with a dogleg to lengthen the distance to nearer four kilometres. This first race will be over four laps with four portages of roughly 100 m, and a one-kilometre out-and-back finish lap. The portage will be jetty take-out and beach put-in.

Depending on the entries, doubles and singles may or may not start separately, but the intention is to start all age categories together.

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