Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon 2012 Media Release

 No ozzie1201

23 Oct 2012

Len Jenkins aims for tenth Ozzie Gladwin title

Pietermaritzburg - Len Jenkins is aiming to win his tenth title in The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin on Sunday 11 November and extend his uncanny record over the 26km paddling and portaging classic at Albert Falls Dam.

Coming off the back of an imperious sixth successive victory in the Hansa Fish SA K1 champs in Cradock Jenkins has the base and the form, and has confirmed he will be out to contest the 2012 title after turning his back on plans to travel to Hong Kong for the annual Dragon Run surfski race.

Jenkins has won The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin nine times, seven of them in the past decade, and has an uncanny knack for mastering this race which comes very early on in the summer season and peaks with The Unlimited Dusi from 14 to 16 February 2013..

"The trick is to make sure you don't lose too much time to the runners," said Jenkins. "In the Ozzie that means getting off the dam first with as much of a lead as possible, and then running the portage around the dam wall hard, hopefully so that the runners don't overtake you."

When pressed for who he saw as the "runners" there was no hesitation from Jenkins. "Bungee," he said simply, referring to Dusi icon Thulani Mbanjwa by his popular nickname. "Actually it could be Bungee or any one of the guys who train with him in the valley because they are all brilliant runners."

True to form Jenkins was non-committal about longer term plans and targeting The Unlimited Dusi, but said that The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin was a key kick starter to the preparations for the Dusi season ahead.

"The distance is just right at this stage in the season. It is a hard hour and a half with only the one portage to worry about," said Jenkins. "It's a race you can get away with if you haven't been doing any running, and the race distance adds up to a nice bit training."

That strategy was enough to earn Jenkins a lucrative victory in the NCC Development Race, the first Dusi seeding race of the KZN season on the weekend, which included a tough run up the Campbell's Farm portage to the finish at Bishopstowe Hall on the top of the hill.

"That was tough but luckily I had done enough on the water to stay ahead of Andy Birkett and Bungee," said Jenkins.

Jenkins' record on The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin speaks for itself, and he will start as a clear favourite to become the first paddler in the history of the race to bag ten titles, half of them in K1 championship years.

"It's a fun race, especially the last few kays below where most of the Upper Umgeni races finish," said Jenkins. "Hopefully with all the rains the river will be really full. That will make it good fun and a bit faster as well."

The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin is South Africa's biggest one day canoeing race, and takes place on Sunday 11 November. It is the second local seeding race for The Unlimited Dusi in February and starts with a lap on Albert Falls dam which leads to a 1km portage around the dam wall down to the Upper Umgeni river and finishes at Thornvale Farm, completing a total distance of 28km.

More information can be found at www.ozziegladwin.co.za


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Len Jenkins is aiming to become the first person to win ten titles in The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin on Sunday 11 November. Anthony Grote/
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