At least 22 paddlers from the Stellenbosch Canoe Club have already committed themselves to take part in this year’s Berg River Marathon a gruelling four-day event which starts in Paarl on Wednesday, July 7 and ends four days and 240km later on Saturday, July 10 in Velddrif along the West Coast.
This strong Stellenbosch contingent will be part of some 110 countrywide paddlers who have entered this year’s Berg Marathon, the 60th in a row, which as always will start at Market Street Bridge in Paarl. Entries are open until midnight the day before the start and the number of participants are bound to increase somewhat.
Stellenbosch Canoe Club paddlers who have already committed themselves to take part in this year’s Berg are Hanré Streicher, Francois Loedolff, Adie de Kock, Erich Andrag, Schalk Smit, Etienne de Villiers, Danie Brink, Theuns Matthee, Johan van Rooyen, Lood Rabie, Tracey Oellermann, Gustav Smook, Barry Muller, Daantjie Malan, Johan (Mossie) Serdyn, Francois Meyer, Gert van Deventer, Gerhard Beukes, Evan Knight, Johan Wiid, Ross Leslie and Shannon Parker-Dennison.
The organizers are happy with the entries so far and looking forward to at least a medium to full river and possibly good weather for the marathon which has been plagued by the severe drought in the Western Cape and caused entries to drop dramatically. The Covid pandemic did not help either and forced the cancellation of the Berg in 2020, but the organizers managed to pull off a virtual Berg which was supported by hundreds of paddlers from all over the world.
Canoeing South Africa (CSA) the umbrella body for the Berg River Marathon has geared itself to stay in full compliance of Level 3 lockdown regulations with plans in place to stage the race as safely as possible. Organized overnight sites, catering and prize-giving ceremonies have therefore all been cancelled.
The full course of 240km Berg River Marathon comprises four days divided as follows: Day One from Paarl to Delsma Farm 52 km; Day Two from Delsma to Bridgetown 56 km; Day Three from Bridgetown to Zoutkloof 75 km; and Day Four from Zoutkloof to Velddrif 57km.
Top notch paddlers who have already entered and will be vying for the podium are Andy Birkett, Jasper Mocke, Hamish Lovemore, Siseko Ntondini and ladies such as Jordan Peek,
Bianca Beavitt and Susan Lützner. The 71-year old Giel van Deventer from Paarl who sees the Berg as his “annual medical check-up” will be aiming to set an all-time record and finish his 50th Berg this year.