PADDLERS have started entering the 2019 edition of the N3TC Drak Challenge canoe marathon, which will take place in the Southern Drakensberg from January 19 to January 20, 2019.Defending the women’s title, Jenna Ward has confirmed that she will participate and attempt to retain the title. She is hoping to use a combination of her knowledge of the river and a solid base from a successful 2018 to her benefit.“I really love the Drak and love the fact that you have no idea what the conditions are going to be like until to you get there on race day,” she said. She won last year’s race after an exciting tussle with Robyn Owen on a testing low river.She added: “I have had a solid 2018 and I am very competitive by nature, so naturally I will do everything to try to win the Drak again.“At the recent Hansa Fish, the top five women finished within five minutes of each other after 82 km and five hours of racing, and it will be the same at the Drak.”Ward joined the Drak Trout club last year and she often spends time paddling on the uMzimkhulu River around Underberg during the holidays.She says her first Drak was somewhat accidental as she was thrown into a kayak at the age of 14. “I think I swam six times on the first day. I want to tell everyone who is scared of rivers that we were all there at some stage and you have to start somewhere.”The 2019 N3TC Drak Challenge will start at Castleburn with a 26 km stage to Sinister Pool, just above Swartberg Road Bridge on the first day. The following day there will be a 36 km-long stretch, with the finish at Early Mist Farm close to Coleford Resort.