River Canoe Marathon Media Release
14 June 2022
: Dave Macleod
Avidon eyes Berg debut
Paarl – When the field of paddlers gathers for the start of the
2022 Berg River Canoe Marathon outside Paarl on Wednesday they
will be feeling fresh ahead of their four day, 240km journey to
Velddrif. All bar one. Ultra-athlete Ingrid Avidon is the only
athlete aiming to complete the Freedom Challenge Extreme
Triathlon this year.
By the time she starts her maiden Berg marathon she will have
completed the Comrades Marathon up run course and then done the
tough Freedom Challenge 2 200km Race Across South Africa (RASA)
bike ride from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl, hoping to get there in
time to join the field at the start of the Berg River Canoe
The Freedom Challenge was started by adventurer David Waddilove
many years ago, but he started by running from Cape Town to
Durban, then completing the Comrades and the Freedom Challenge
before concluding with the Berg River Canoe Marathon.
Avidon is in the middle of her brutal 12x12 Challenge in 2022
that involves twelve successive tough sporting challenges,
including her first MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon in February.
That outing produced plenty of drama as she and her partner
Themba Ngcobo ran most of the 36km final stage into Durban with
their K2 canoe smashed into two pieces.
On the weekend Avidon successfully completed the Comrades
marathon route up-run, largely unnoticed, and was pleased to
finished well with the twelve hour target she had set for
Then she focussed on her mountain bike to start to legendary
Freedom Challenge RASA ride. “I hope to get to Paarl on July the
2nd, so that will give me a few days to rest and recover before
the Berg,” said Avidon.
“I am not the first person to attempt this triathlon,” said
Avidon. “To date at least sixteen people, one of them a woman,
have successfully completed it so my dream, although difficult,
is certainly not impossible.”
Avidon’s goal of completing the Freedom Challenge Extreme
Triathlon as a pinnacle event on her 12x12 calendar has been
complicated by the unusual Cape winter weather.
The Capetonian has been training hard for her maiden Berg, but
with desperately low river conditions due to the lack of early
winter rains, she hasn’t been able to complete as many
qualifying races as she would have liked.
As she rides the 2 200 kilometres to Paarl on her mountain bike
she will be watching the weather and river conditions closely.
“Believe it or not, less water in river is better for me,” she
said before her Comrades up-run got under way. “Only time will
tell. I will just have to see what happens to the weather in
Paarl when I am cycling.”
Her concern is the arrival of heavy winter rains just before the
race that may leave a flooded river for the race.
“If that happens I might just try find a really competent
paddler to escort me in the race. And then portage almost every
dangerous section,” she said. “This might take forever though
but I am willing to try.
“When I conceived my year of twelve extreme challenges, I was
looking for an ultimate challenge to take me completely out of
my comfort zone and into a new realm of self-discovery, both
physically, emotionally and mentally,” she said.
“I usually do feel stressed, nervous and emotional just before a
big event and the last few weeks have been an emotional
roller-coaster ride ranging from excitement to fear.
“Will my body cope? Will I be successful? What if I fail? Will I
disappoint others? Am I being responsible? Am I a bad mother?”
“ At the outset of my 12 x 12 journey, I had no idea of the
catharsis of emotions that lay ahead! The old adage: “be careful
what you wish for”, now rings loudly in my head.
“I am being pushed way out my comfort zone and am learning many
things about myself, both good and bad,” said Avidon. “I am a
work in progress.”
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Canoe Marathon logo - JPeg
landscape - JPeg
Ingrid Avidon's Freedom
Challenge Extreme Triathlon - JPeg
Ingrid Avidon will
make her debut at the Berg River Canoe
Marathon at the end of a brutal three week ultra triathlon
crossing South Africa.
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