Tugela to cap river racing season

2008-03-07 00:00

THE Tugela Marathon this weekend marks the end of the KZN River racing season for the 2007/08 season with only a couple of beginner’s races on the Upper Umgeni in the winter break through to early August.

The two-day marathon starts today with golf and supper for those interested at St Catherine’s golf course between Greytown and Kranskop.

At about 8 am, after a leisurely breakfast tomorrow morning and once the rest of the entrants have arrived, the convoy moves off for the start at 10 am from Middledrift.

Day one covers either 39 or 30 km depending on the use or not of the Horseshoe portage, which cuts off nine kilometres of flat water in years when the river is low.

The overnight camp is at Mbopane, where the hot afternoon is spent in the river in the shade of a giant fig tree, with cricket on the sandbanks if the river is low. In the evening there is a campfire and entertainment including drag races in canoes fitted with wheels, crewed by the lightest and pulled by the strongest.

Day two is much shorter at about 28 km and finishes under another big fig tree on Dunlop farm near Mandeni. After prizegiving the convoy climbs up out of the hot valley again for lunch under the Tree of Libation — another big fig.

Following the Tugela, canoeing in KZN turns its attention to slalom, wild water and sprinting until early in May.

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