River Canoe Marathon Media Release
: Dave Macleod
Ultra Paddle takes off
Paarl - With the
Berg River full and more heavy rainfall expected, canoeists will
rue missing out on the Berg River Canoe Marathon that was one of
a swathe of events cancelled by the coronavirus lockdown
regulations, but the virtual paddle set up in its place has
snowballed in popularity.
The 59th edition was due to have started in Paarl on Wednesday
morning, but after the cancellation of the race the organisers
set up the Ultra Paddle virtual event that allows paddlers
anywhere in the world to aim at covering the race distance and
share in the event’s unique atmosphere.
Entries for the Ultra Paddle have already passed the previous
record entry for the Berg Marathon, and dozens more are expected
in the days before the start of the Ultra Paddle window which
concludes at the end of July.
Frustrated by months of being kept off the water, paddlers have
responded to the opportunity to try and cover the 240 kilometres
in four days to earn a gold certificate, or as a alternative to
paddle the distance before the end of the month to earn a silver
To encourage paddlers who are unfit due to lockdown inactivity
or newcomers to the sport, a bronze certificate can be earned by
covering fifty kilometres or more in the Ultra Paddle window.
“The Berg is all about paddling long distances and testing
yourself,” said event organiser Brandon Macleod. “While there is
no comparison to taking on the proper Berg marathon, with its
trees, channels, extreme weather and unpredictable water, it is
obvious from the response to the Ultra Paddle concept that there
is huge affinity and respect for the Berg Marathon challenge.
When the window opens on Wednesday morning paddlers around the
world will join South African paddlers on their local training
waters to start eating away at the ultimate target mileage.
Groups of eager Berg fans will paddle on the Thames in London,
in Asturias in Spain, on Lake Okanagon in Canada, training in
California, on waterways in Ireland, Hong Kong and Australia and
many other countries around the globe.
“More than anything this is an amazing show of solidarity,” said
Macleod. “The world has been brought to its knees by the
coronavirus, but this new challenge has brought people together
in such a positive way.
“We are raising money for the ongoing Canoeing South Africa food
relief programme in the process, which adds another level of
significance to each entry received and each kilometre paddled,”
On Wednesday morning eleven times Berg champion Hank McGregor
will depart from Paarl on a solo voyage down the Berg River that
will emulate the race. It is intended to keep the spirit of the
Berg alive, and stimulate interest in the 60th anniversary
edition of the race in 2021.
More information can be found at
Social media : #Berg2020 #UltraPaddle
(click to download
Click HERE to download
landscape on white - JPeg
around the world will start the Ultra Paddle virtual Berg River
Canoe Marathon on Wednesday, while 11 times winner Hank McGregor
embarks on a solo Berg aimed at keeping the spirit of the 59
year old event alive.
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