River Canoe Marathon Media Release
: Dave Macleod
Ultra Paddle replaces
2020 Berg River Canoe Marathon
Paarl - With the
2020 Berg River Canoe Marathon cancelled along with other
sporting events due to the COVID-19 lockdown regulations, the
race organisers have arranged a ground-breaking virtual race
called the ”Ultra Paddle” that will allow canoeists around the
world to be part of a show of solidarity, and share in the
enthusiasm for the 59 year old classic event while raising money
to support Canoeing South Africa’s food relief programme.
The four day, 240km race from Paarl to the Cape West Coast town
of Velddrif, which was to have started on 8 July, always
attracts a core of paddlers keen to test themselves against the
river, weather and sheer distance of the race that has made it
one of the toughest of it’s kind in the world.
The virtual race aims to make the multi-day epic accessible to a
far wider audience than normal, by asking paddlers to cover the
240km before the end of July, allowing athletes to take on the
challenge in more manageable distances.
“One of the realities of this lockdown is that the average
paddler is far less fit than he or she would be at this time of
the year, and it would be irresponsible to ask them to cover
distances like the 75km in a day as they do of the third stage
of the Berg,” said race organiser Brandon Macleod.
“As an event, and as a sport overall, we will be fully compliant
with all the lockdown regulations, and while we know that the
paddling community is desperate to get back on the water, we
have the be realistic,” he added.
“The Berg has always been about Ultra Paddling – taking on long
stages for four successive days – and we want to keep that
heritage alive during this abnormal year, particularly as we
build to the 60th anniversary edition of the race next year.
“This will give paddlers a reason to grind out multiple
kilometres for base training, and pounces on the eagerness of
paddlers and sporting enthusiasts to finally be a part of
something again,” he explained.
Macleod said that participants will pay a R150 participation
fee, for which they will get their Ultra Paddle race number, and
on competition day a certificate from the Berg Marathon with a
personal coupon entitling that paddlers to special benefits at
the 60th anniversary edition of the Berg in 2021.
To put the event within reach of less fit paddlers and novices
the Ultra Paddle will allow participants to cover a total
distance of 50 kilometres before 31 July to receive their bronze
Participants who cover a total of 240km before the end of the month will
receive silver certificates, and the serious paddlers who cover
the full distance in four sessions will get awarded the gold
“The Comrades Marathon “Race the Comrades Legends” event showed
that there is a great passion to get involved in these iconic
South African events by opening them up to a broader audience,”
Money from the participation fee will go towards Canoeing South
Africa’s ongoing before relief programme that is delivering food
parcels to canoe club members badly affected by the rolling
“Clubs around the country have received fantastic support from
the federation through the provision of food parcels for members
that have been badly affected by the lockdown. By July there
need will be great, and the injection of funds from the paddlers
will be very welcome.
“For frustrated paddlers the Ultra Paddle is a chance to get
back on the water and work towards a goal, while at the same
time contributing to Canoeing South Africa’s goal of helping our
members who really need it,”
Entries for the Ultra Paddle will open on the Berg Marathon
website next week.
More information can be found at
Social media : #Berg2020
(click to download
Click HERE to download
landscape on white - JPeg
cancelled 2020 edition of the Berg River Canoe Marathon will be
replaced by a virtual Ultra Paddle event open to canoeists
around the world, raising funds for Canoeing South Africa's
ongoing food relief programme.
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