River Canoe Marathon Media Release
30 May 2023
Written By : Nick Tatham
50 Berg finishes on the horizon for Malherbe
Paarl – The 2023 Berg River Canoe Marathon will be significant
for a number of reasons, and one will be that the stalwart of the
race, Jannie Malherbe will be going for his fiftieth finish when
the race reaches Velddrif on Saturday, 8 July.
Malherbe has the second most Berg finishes in history with 49 and
is only second to the late Giel van Deventer. This year’s Berg
will carry further significance in that it will be the first
since Van Deventer tragically passed away in 2022.
The pair paddled many Bergs together and Malherbe knows that this
year’s race will be an important tribute to Van Deventer and his
influence on the iconic race through the Swartland.
“We will definitely miss Giel a lot this year,” a sombre Malherbe
said. “He was like a Berg encyclopaedia and could tell you
anything you needed to know about the race and the river.
“I would always follow him for the first few days because he knew
where the obstacles were and knew the river better than anyone.
“He will not only be missed by me, but he will be missed by the
whole paddling community this year.”
With a 50th Berg finisher's medal at the finish line for the
84-year-old Malherbe, the numbers aren’t the motivation.
“50 is just a figure and it’s definitely not why I paddle. I
paddle because it’s a way of life for me and the Berg is such an
important part of my year.
“The race splits my year in half; and I take four days off in
July where I can get away from everything; from work, my cell
phone and just enjoy myself.
“I love training in Wilderness and at the moment I’m paddling
about four hours a week which should be enough to get me to
Having finished 49 Bergs in the past Malherbe has seen the river
and the race in every different shape and form and he knows how
to pick out the significant ones over the years.
“You always remember the difficult ones. The ones with the
headwinds and the low rivers because those are the memorable
“The races done on full rivers with four sunny days aren’t
memorable, but they do remind you that every Berg is different.
“It’s a special race that has a special place in my heart and as
long as I remain fit and healthy, I’ll still be paddling the
Berg,” Malherbe explained.
The 2023 Berg River Canoe Marathon will take place from Paarl to
Velddrif from 5 to 8 July.
More information can be found at
Social media :
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Canoe Marathon logo - JPeg
landscape - JPeg
For 49-time Berg
River Canoe Marathon finisher Jannie Malherbe the 2023 edition of
the race is not about getting to that fifty mark but embracing
his health and enjoying being able to take on a race that he
loves from 6-9 July.
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