Pietermaritzburg – The dust having settled on a successful MylIfe Dusi Canoe Marathon, endurance paddlers can set their sights on the annual Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon which will be staged on Friday 9 April, forcing the organisers to adapt the tough Dusi-In-A-Day outing as it is significantly later in the year.
The national canoeing calendar was rolled out by more than a month to accommodate paddling’s return-to-competition protocols negotiated by Canoeing South Africa, and this will have an impact on the event that is already a demanding challenge for endurance paddlers.
The later sunrise means that the start time has been moved from 5:15 to 5:45am at Camps Drift, and the cut-offs at Finger Neck and the Inanda dam wall have also been rolled back. There is however a final cut-off at the N2 freeway bridge to ensure that there is no risk of paddlers finishing at Blue Lagoon in the dark.
The organisers at the KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Club will stick to the Covid-19 protocols that were successfully enforced to ensure the smooth running of the MyLife Dusi last weekend, including competitors having to wear masks until they are called to the start, no spectators being allowed and no socialising or prize-giving as entrants are required to leave the finish venue as soon as possible after their race is completed.
The race attracts a core of loyal followers every year keen to use their Dusi training base to take on the entire Dusi route, using a number of longer portages not allowed during the traditional Dusi marathon.
The good news for the paddlers is that water releases from Henley dam and Inanda dam have both been confirmed, ensuring that the tough 110km outing will not be aggravated by having to deal with low water in the uMsundusi and uMngeni Rivers.
While the MyLife Dusi held last month was a K1 championship format, there is no prerequisite requirement for paddlers to race in a particular class, which always adds spice to the challenge at the front of the race.
Last year Mswenkosi Mtolo and Thabani Msiya paired up to hold off Sbonelo Khwela, the man who has dominated the Non Stop Dusi for the past decade.