A sudden surge in entries and the signing of two sponsors has helped the organisers of the annual Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon confirm that the event will be staged this Friday 2 March, with water certain from Henley dam but very little prospect of any water below Inanda Dam for the final section into the finish at Blue Lagoon.
2017 title sponsors Lovemore Brothers have been joined by the new corporate Savunde Accountants as co-presenting sponsors to ensure that costs and prize money is assured for the 2018 Non-Stop Dusi presented by Lovemore Brothers & Savunde Accountants.
Often the take up on entries is fairly late for the Non-Stop with paddlers watching weather systems carefully as well as checking how much damage the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon might have caused to the body, coupled with speculation about water from the major dams in the uMngeni system.
Despite the certainty that the drought will prevent any water outflow from Inanda dam, meaning the brave paddlers will run much of the 25 kilometres to the tidal estuary above Blue Lagoon, the core Non-Stop Dusi fans have not been intimidated by this prospect, and entries have started arriving at the race off at Camps Drift.
The 125km journey from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban follows very different rules to its three day long big brother with the race not following a specific craft class and paddlers can race for the title in either a K1 or a K2.
Along with this the race’s rules are a lot more lenient when it comes to where they are allowed to portage. The only rule of the race is that you have to run underneath the College Road Bridge, however from then on it’s up to the paddlers discretion as to how much they want to paddle or run.
The race is seen as the ultimate show of endurance and stamina with temperatures in the valley often peaking in the high 30’s but humidity playing a huge role as the paddlers get closer to the finish at the coast.
“We thought the certainty of no water for the final section below Inanda dam would chase all the paddlers away, but we underestimated the spirit of the Non-Stop Dusi core paddlers,” said race director Steve Botha.
“The first entry in came from the mixed double crew of Shaun Dias and Kerry Segal, and they were so enthusiastic. Soon more entries came in, and I am sure we will take entries right up to the race start on Friday morning,” he added.
Paddlers will set off from Camps Drift at 05:15 with three cut-off points along the way, the Finger Neck portage, the Inanda Dam Wall and finally the Pump House weir.