As the Western Cape continues to be lashed by rain and the Berg River hits unprecedented levels, former Dusi Canoe Marathon champion Dave Evans has decided to take on his first Berg River Canoe Marathon from 5-8 July.
The Stellenbosch student has performed well at the other major river races in the country; however the Berg has never quite aligned with his training regime until this year and he’s excited about the prospect of a first finishers medal for the four-day event.
“Dusi has always been my focus in the past, so I have stopped training after the Dusi and never been fit enough for the Berg,” the Euro Steel star said.
“Then I usually pick up my training for Fish and into the KZN river marathon season, but this year I’ve got a bit of freedom from an academic perspective, so I focused on marathons which has given me more time to train.”
It’s going to be an interesting test for the former World Marathon Champion silver medallist who has been training for the event – just not on the Berg River.
“I haven’t done any tripping on the Berg to be honest, but I have been asking as many people as possible for tips and advice for the race!
“The general consensus from the people that I speak to is that it’s tough and you just have to push through.
“I have always enjoyed the endurance aspect of paddling, so I think that this will play into my hands for the race.
“I haven’t set high expectations but I’m definitely going to give it my best shot and I’m going to race with the intention to do well,” Evans added.
The Berg is currently experiencing levels not seen in many years and this means that the current conditions are unlike anything seen before for most entrants. With the race still a few weeks away, no one is sure what the level will do, but Evans feels this is another exciting dimension.
“Water levels in rivers are constantly changing and I think that that adds another adventure element to racing, which is exciting.
“There are going to be some experienced paddlers around me, so I think I’m going to have to follow them closely.”
Evans has been putting in the hard yards back home in KwaZulu-Natal following the conclusion of his mid-year exams at university, and will continue to work hard as he prepares for his maiden Berg trip.
“This year I’ve been focusing on gym work and will gym in the mornings and then paddle in the afternoons.
“With my marathon focus there’s been a lot of speed and strength work, but I’ll be putting in some long sessions ahead of the race.
“I’ll look to do two-and-a-half hour sessions and try and get some 40km sessions, in so I can get used to time in the boat,” he added.
Entries for the 2023 Berg River Canoe Marathon are still open.