The Hungarians Are Coming!! And the Germans, British, Chinese, Spanish and some okes from the States…….
They are assembling on our shores for the highlight of the marathons calendar – The World Marathon Champs! (WMC 2017) They will be here is September! Really Really soon if you think about it. Are you ready?
To help you get ready we thought that we would give you a few exciting tips.
- We have some of the BEST marathon paddlers in the WORLD representing us. Hank McGregor is No 1 (8 Gold medals to his tally) and Andy Birkett is No 2 (Just won the Drak and the Duzi) Jenna Ward(U23) and Kyeta Purchase (Jnr) managed a formidable 2nd in the K2 Women last year so all eyes will be on them to see what they pull out the bag this year.
- The ICF WMC 2017 is being hosted by Natal Canoe Club in Pietermaritzburg from the 5- 10 September. They have been pulling out all the stops to get ready in time. The portage grass already looks fantastic and the clubhouse is in tip top shape in expectation of hosting. NCC is a super spectator venue as one can watch the race from either side of the river bank or the grandstands that will be set up overlooking the portage area. It is also easy to get up/ down to the turn buoys if you want to watch the strategy around that.
- Added to this we have a host of super fit marathoners just itching to add their names to the list of team members now that WMC 2017 is in SA! Whatever happens we are going to be represented by a Super Strong Team.
- YOU! Yes you. Representing SA, for seniors, juniors and U23 paddlers is restricted to the fastest two boats at SA championships. All other categories can simply enter irrespective of ability. The more the merrier! It is not every year one can compete in world champs in our home country so especially in the masters categories, people should be encouraged to take part irrespective of their ability.
Teams coming this year, Hungary will definitely be here in full force, France, UK, AUS, Italy, Germany and Spain is always passionate about marathons. From the Europeans I have chatted to, they are quite excited to make their trip into a holiday.
So what should you do? If you are a master – start getting fit, better yet go and find a coach and get them to put you on a programme. It is going to be a blast! You will race the world’s best and people like you all in one heat. Entering the race is always going to be first prize because you never know when you will get a chance again.
If you are not a master, or if you are still recovering from an op, think about offering your services to help out on a day or a couple of days. The organisers are going to need people to man the pounds, do admin, be marshals etc. just like any normal race. So if you are free, they will need the help. We will let you know more about that later.
Get behind your local paddler. It is going to take a massive amount of work between now and September to get ready. Don’t stop encouraging them when they go past you, offer to run with them at 5am in the morning. Or at least offer to hoot outside their house at 4:45am to get them up! Lastly forgive them if they fall asleep on your couch at 9pm, just wake them up and send them home because while you are sleeping late tomorrow they will be doing laps in the mist.