Some 16 paddlers from the Stellenbosch Maties Canoe Club have committed themselves to take part in this year’s Berg River Marathon a gruelling four-day event which starts at the Val de Vie Estate on Wednesday, July 6 and ends four days and 250km later on Saturday, July 10 in Velddrif along the West Coast.
This strong Stellenbosch contingent will be part about 100 countrywide paddlers who have entered this year’s Berg Marathon, the 61th in a row. This year for the first time ever in its history the start will be at the Val de Vie Estate’s Berg River Bridge the Estate being one of the new sponsors of the marathon.
Leading the pack with the most number of entries completed are Gerhard Beukes who is chasing his 40th marathon, with Francois Loedolff going for his number 37 and Mossie Serdyn aiming to finish his 33rd marathon. David Malherbe will be trying to finish his 6th marathon after completing his 5th marathon in 1991.
Stellenbosch Maties Canoe Club paddlers who have committed themselves to take part in this year’s Berg with their number already completed are Hanré Streicher (5), Francois Loedolff (36), Schalk Smit (11), Danie Brink (4), Theuns Matthee (15), Johan van Rooyen (14), Tracey Oellermann (2), Daantjie Malan (10), Johan Mossie Serdyn (32) , Francois Meyer (7), Gert van Deventer (15), Gerhard Beukes (39), David Malherbe (5), Conrad Kriel (2), and first-timers Luke Kingwill and Rob Pike.
With the recent good rains the paddlers are looking forward to at least a medium to full river and possibly good weather for the duration of the marathon.
The full course of 248 km Berg River Marathon comprises four days divided as follows: Day One from Val de Vie to Delsma Farm 61 km; Day Two from Delsma to Bridgetown 56 km; Day Three from Bridgetown to Zoutkloof 73 km; and Day Four from Zoutkloof to Velddrif 58km.
Top contenders for the podium will be Hamish Lovemore and Hank McGregor, and in the ladies’ section Nikki Birkett who will be defending her 2021 Berg title.
One of the most exceptional paddlers to take part in this year’s marathon will certainly be the 83-year old Jannie Malherbe who will be attempting to finish his 49th marathon this year. Jannie also participated in the first ever 1962 Berg River Marathon.