With the country’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations easing to adjusted level three, and Canoeing South Africa reinstating its training and competition calendar, the 60th edition of the Berg River Canoe Marathon has been cleared to take place from 5 to 8 August.
The much anticipated milestone event was moved from the first weekend of July after the lockdown regulations to combat the third wave of infections were tightened up, and the revised August date was set, pending the easing of regulations as the third wave started to subside.
With the adjusted level three regulations permitting outdoor events with a maximum of 100 people at any one place at a time, and the easing of interprovincial travel out of Gauteng, the event organisers have been able to structure plans to stage the event safely and in full compliance with the prevailing lockdown regulations.
“We had a variety of plans ready to be able to stage the event and comply fully with the specific lockdown regulations, and the adjusted level three restrictions fit into these plans well,” said event director Brandon Macleod.
“In fact the limit of 100 people together at any one time fits in well with our plans, as it enables us to run the race with reasonably sized batches spaced far enough apart to ensure we can enforce the social distancing plans within the level three lockdown limits,” he added.
With the event finally getting the green light athletes that have been holding back on lodging their entries and booking travel and accommodation for the event will be able to start their final arrangements.
“It is a huge relief to be able to set the wheels turning for what is an important milestone for this race,” said Macleod.
“The level of interest in the 60th Berg is high, especially after the 2020 Berg was cancelled. I am sure there will be a flurry of entries this week now that everything has been cleared for the race.”
He added that the municipalities covering the 240 kilometre route from Paarl to Velddrif had been encouraging and supportive of the various staging plans designed to comply with the lockdown regulations.
“It is going to be a different Berg, as we conform to these unusual times. But critically we are thrilled to be able to make the Berg happen this year,” said Macleod.
“With the paddlers now cleared to return to training and competing, we really want to use this Berg as a signal of hope at the end of a grim few weeks for this country,” he added.
“We have an exceptional field entered and we look forward to the race providing a spectacle that will inspire paddlers and the general public to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.