On Sunday 25 June, we were hosted by Canoe Developments very own Janet Simpkins and DUCT to a most fabulous morning of events. The idea was ingenious – get hundreds of kids and DUCT supporters together for a fun run around Camps Drift and at the same time raise their awareness of the water quality and surrounding pollution and in a stroke of brilliance get the development paddlers to put on a marathon display.
Well it was a stunning day on Camps Drift and the kids just kept on barrelling in in eager excitement of the race. Hundreds of kids and concerned coaches and teachers were soon milling around Natal Canoe Club discussing race strategy, the rival schools to beat and the best way to stay warm in the middle of winter. All the while the development paddlers were setting up and getting ready to put on the most amazing display of paddling right amongst the runners. Just before the start of the 6km race with everyone gathered on the front lawn the paddlers set off to render an impressive display of what a race start looks like, paddling in a bunch and finally the exhausting portage was demonstrated. The kids on the bank were fascinated.
Soon after that the MC’s had the task of trying to call everyone to order in order to get the fun runs under way. First the 6km run was got underway and then 15 minutes later the packed 3km race was started. We forget how much fun a school fun run can be! The kids went screaming off down the banks of the drift off towards the bridge in the early morning mist only to be seen a few minutes later tearing along the opposite bank. The fun must be in winning because these kids were taking this very seriously.
In the meantime the paddlers continued their training in earnest under the watchful eye of their respective coaches. This meant that the kids as they finished their runs could make their way back down to the water to watch. What a unique experience. The morning was rounded off with a brief talk on water safety, a song and dance display by some of the school children and finally a much needed lunch.
A big thank you to Janet for hosting me and a huge tumbs up to DUCT for organising a wonderful day. It was very encouraging to watch the level of commitment around the future of our water quality and we simply love watch our future river, marathon and sprint champs in the making. We could not have asked for a better Sunday – Thank you.