A duo to watch at Dusi Canoe Marathon

2018-02-09 10:55
Pietermaritzburg-based Bridgitte Hartley is looking forward to the Dusi Canoe Marathon next week.

Pietermaritzburg-based Bridgitte Hartley is looking forward to the Dusi Canoe Marathon next week. (Gameplan Media)

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Local canoeist Bridgitte Hartley is ready for the major pressure that comes with trying to grab a podium place in the Dusi Canoe Marathon next week and has trained hard for the popular event with her partner, Christie Mackenzie.

It is set to be a competitive women’s field in the three-day race and, although Hartley would not call herself a river marathon specialist, she feels that her team are equipped to make an impact.

She believes others think they are actually one of the favourites for honours, but won’t be gutted if they don’t take top place.
She says anywhere in the top three will make her smile.

Speaking to The Witness on Thursday, Hartley said: “Our preparations are going well. We’ve had a few pre-races where we’ve made mistakes and realised where our mistakes were and we worked on them.

“We just have to go out there and race our own races. We’ll just go as hard as we can and if we get tired we can push our bodies to the absolute max. We’ll never give up on anything until we cross the line.”

The duo teamed up for the first time in the 50 Miler in December and Hartley feels they have ironed out all mistakes since that race.

“I think Christie and I complement each other. I think we’ve really managed to figure out how to complement each other in certain parts of the race in terms of who carries the boat where and when.

“All those little small plans along the way and I feel like the more we paddle together we just get stronger and stronger. So, I’m really excited actually,” a confident Hartley said.

This will only be the 34-year-old’s second Dusi K2 and her third overall after finishing third at last year’s K1 edition of the race, behind young Mackenzie in second place.

With 2016 K2 champion Abby Solms not taking part in this year’s event due to her pregnancy, their pairing should prove to be the biggest threat for the likes of Jenna Ward and her partner.

Hartley added: “It’s a hard call to say who the better crew is after looking at some of the other combinations.

“I think at this stage it’s still open cards as to who is going to take the women’s title at Dusi. I think at this stage it’s just about staying focused and not giving up along the route until we cross the line on day three.

“I think we won’t be putting too much pressure on ourselves because we might make mistakes if we do. We’ll just take it a day at a time and see how it pans out. If we finish in the top three that will be the most amazing thing.”

The race takes place from Thursday February 15 and run until Saturday, February 17 from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban.

Read more on:    dusi canoe marathon

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