Rising paddling star Hamish Lovemore will return to the Berg River Canoe Marathon this year hoping to build on his experience at the front of the race in 2021.
Last year Lovemore fought it out for most of the four days with eventual race winner Andy Birkett and perennial podium finisher Hank McGregor, eventually finishing in third place overall.
The under 23 star burst into the limelight in 2021 when he won the senior K1 and K2 races at the SA Marathon Championship and this year he’ll pour all his efforts into that again hoping to be selected for the national team for the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Portugal later in the year.
Looking back at his efforts at the Berg in 2021, Lovemore, who won the Berg title in the 2019 team format with Tyron Maher, believes he’s had to refine his training as he has longer term plans in mind.
“Last year I think I over-trained for the Berg and had to take three months off because I picked up a back injury,” Lovemore said.
“This year I’m going into the race with a lot less pressure on myself although I am definitely going there to try and win – I try and win every race I race in.
“At the moment though I haven’t put too much thought into the Berg because we’ve got SA Marathon Championships coming up next week.”
This year’s race will start at the prestigious Val de Vie Estate in Paarl and will add 10km to the start of the race which Lovemore says shouldn’t be ignored.
“On a stage that was originally 50km to add an extra 10km people might not think that’s a lot but it’s definitely going to make things more difficult!
“The race this year has added the bridge prizes and the time incentives which will definitely make the racing more interesting.
“In the past the race has been won on the second day so to be able to gain time every day through those check points makes the race exciting throughout,” he added.
Lovemore’s layed back nature means that he doesn’t show too much emotion on and off the water, however he’s excited for a good battle.
“I want to go out there and have a lot of fun,” he commented. “Racing Hank is always tough and he’s so hard to beat.
“Racing him is cut throat but we’re such good friends that I look forward to racing him every time,” Lovemore added excitedly.