With solid later summer rain and water releases from Henley Dam and Inanda Dam, intrepid paddlers taking on the 2020 Garden City Commercials Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon on Friday will enjoy ideal conditions both in and out of the river.
The mercury isn’t set to peak above 28 degrees throughout the day and rain isn’t on the cards for the day as close to sixty competitors paddle, run and walk their way 100km from Camps Drift to Blue Lagoon.
Following on from a successful Dusi Canoe Marathon last month, this year’s Non-Stop Dusi has seen a dramatic spike in interest in the Dusi in a Day. Given its close proximity to the Dusi this year paddlers might feel they are still in good shape with just two weeks separating the events.
The field will be another stacked affair as the chasers all try and catch Sbonelo Khwela, the nine-time winner of the Non-Stop Dusi.
Khwela has reunited with former Dusi K2 partner Banetse Nkhoesa for this year’s Non-Stop and the pair will go into the race as out-and-out favourites to give Khwela an unprecedented tenth win at the event.
Amongst the chasing duos are Msawenkosi Mtolo and Thabani Msiya. Both produced good results at the Dusi and will be a force to be reckoned with this Friday, however experience might count against them as they face up to the slow poison that is Khwela’s approach.
Another pair of Martin Dreyer’s FNB Change a Life Academy that could put Khwela and Nkhoesa under pressure is Mpilo Zondi and Jabulani Gwamanda.
Zondi is a former K2 winner of the Non-Stop Dusi with Mthobisi Cele so has the pedigree to perform well over the 100km race and with Gwamanda’s 20th at this year’s Dusi the pair could provide a tough test for the title hopefuls.
Nhlanhla Cele will be doing the race in a K1. He is a previous K2 winner of the Non-Stop with Thulani Mbanjwa in 2015 and he paddled to thirteenth overall at the Dusi this year with his brother Richard.
In the mixed doubles, Dusi mixed doubles champions Martin and Jeannie Dreyer have entered the race and the only other mixed double is the pair of Ronel Stevens and Lance Bartlett.
There will be one all-female crew on the start line as the experienced duo of Kim Peek and Lorna Oliver take on the Dusi in a Day challenge.
The day’s racing begins at 05:15am and as is tradition the most important rule of the event is that paddlers must go under the College Road Bridge whether it be in the water or running along the bank.
The crews will have to pass the cut-off checkpoints at Mission Rapid and the Inanda Dam wall to keep their hopes of completing the 2020 Non-Stop Dusi alive.