After its successful introduction last year, an expanded programme of the Mandela Centenary Freedom Walks will run in parallel with the Berg River Canoe Marathon from 3 to 6 July, giving local communities a chance to get involved with the iconic South African sporting event.
The free walks are open to any interested member of the public and will take place in the towns of Paarl, Hermon, Wittewater, Broodkraal and Velddrif, and each finisher will get a medal to commemorate their participation.
The walks range from 2,5km to 9km in distance and are aimed at mass participation rather than being competitive races. Minors need to be accompanied by adults.
Last year’s debut walk in Paarl attracted over 200 eager walkers, who were able to finish their walk in time to cheer on the paddlers as they started the race at the Market Street Bridge.
Last year 780 participants joined in the five Mandela Centenary Freedom Walks, part of the Western Cape Canoe Union’s Community Engagement Programs, and organisers are planning on that number topping 1000 walkers this year.
“We appreciate the enthusiastic support that the Berg River Canoe Marathon enjoys in the communities that we paddle through each year,” said race committee head Enslin Van Riet.
“The Mandela Centenary Freedom Walks afford these supporters a chance to get involved by taking part in their own sporting event,” he added.
“It supports the national initiative to get more people active and encourages a healthy, active lifestyle, so we encourage as many people as possible to join in these walks,” he said.
The final Walk forms part of the rolling Velddrif Winter Carnival that includes live music, craft markets, food stalls and fun competitions that coincide with the final day of the Berg River Canoe Marathon.
The Winter Carnival includes a fun 4km canoeing race from Bokkomlaan to the race finish starting at 10am for K1s, K2s, K3s, surfskis and sea kayaks, with life jackets and buoyancy compulsory.
Mandela Centenary Freedom Walks 2019
Paarl 3 July 2019 @ 9:15 Paarl Arboretum Market Street Bridge 5 km
Hermon 3 July 2019 @ 10:00 Rondeheuwel Primary Hermon to Du Vlei Farmstall 2.5 km
Riebeek Kasteel 4 July 2019 @ 7:30 Riebeek Kasteel Town Centre to Zonquasdrift 9 km
Piketberg 5 July 2019 @ 10:00 Wittewater Carl Schreve Primary to Moravia 3 km
Velddrif 6 July 2019 @ 8:00 Velddrif Carinus Bridge to Bokkomlaan 4 km