Maritzburg-schooled Christie Mackenzie overcame a serious, deep gash on her leg to claim top honours together with her paddling partner Cana Peek on the first day of the Dusi Canoe Marathon on Thursday.Mackenzie, who was taken to hospital after her injury, and Peek head into Friday's race enjoying a two-minute lead ahead of the Haw sisters, Tamika and Bianca. Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase finished third.All things went according to plan as the Epworth old girls dominated the race even though the injury set them back on the final portage.Mackenzie was injured as she took a tumble down Geoff’s Road as the boat clipped her, and got cut badly just below her left knee. “I was just trying to help Cana keep the boat on the road, Cana was actually dragging the boat all by herself. So, she took the boat and I was just trying to keep it on the road because you know it can go to the sides,” said Mackenzie. She doesn’t think the injury will jeopardise their chances of winning the race. “I’m fine, I’m feeling so strong,” she said. “They gave me an injection [at the finish line] and I’m not feeling anything, I’m so happy. Do you [Cana] want to get one?” Mackenzie asked her partner, laughing.“When I fell, we still had about 250 m to run to get to the water and I was running fine down there. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline, but I wasn’t feeling sore at all until I saw the hole in my leg. It shouldn’t affect my running but tomorrow [Friday] there’s more paddling than running anyway,” said Mackenzie. Martin Dreyer and his wife Jeannie after day one.Meanwhile, it was double delight for Dusi legend Martin Dreyer, who together with his wife Jeannie, is leading the mixed doubles race.While still celebrating the victory, Dreyer was even more thrilled when he heard the news that his Change a Life Academy protégé, Khumbulani Nzimande, had won the first day of the men’s race together with Andy Birkett. “That makes my heart very happy,” said Dreyer. “When Thulani Mbanjwa and I won the Dusi in 2008 we came to where Thulani stays by helicopter as soon as we finished because he wanted to tell the community that he would build his family a home with his prize money of R44 000.“Khumbulani was only 11 years old sitting at home and he saw the helicopter coming. He saw Thulani get out and he said ‘I want to be like him’. “He looks up to Thulani and Thulani stays close to him. Today he leads Thulani,” he said.