The Gauteng Marathon Championships took place on Saturday and Sunday 10 / 11 May at ERK home dam, Homestead, in Benoni, as a practice run for the SA Marathons to be held there next month – 7 / 8 June.
it was a bumper turnout for flat water long distance trials event, as paddlers turned out to be selected to represent their province at the SA event!
There was certainly some exciting racing and close bunches making it an interesting weekend of enjoyable competition!
The front bunch of top paddlers were in fact not from the senior age category (like Comrades runners and good wine, paddlers need time to mature and become disciplined and strong enough to take on the marathon events!)
Wayne Wilson (SM – KZN) was the final winner after much jockeying for position among the front bunch which dwindled down to a competition between the final two on the end sprint, with Dave Hamilton Brown coming in 2nd by a few seconds – (VET – DABS), while Siseko Ntondini (SOW U23) hung in on the bunch during the race showing great portaging ability for his young age, finished 3rd a minute later.
The other top finishers in the various age categories were
Shaun Maphanga (SV – FLO) in 1:50 K1 17,
Theo Smit (SGM – CEN) in 1:50 K1 18,
Alex Masina (U16 – JCC) in 1:50 K1 19,
Johan Ubbink (U18 – CEN) in 1:52 K1 21,
Cornelis Human (Snr – CEN) in 1:52 as K1 22,
Colin Wilson (SM- DABS) in 1.54 K1 25,
And the older generations who did a shorter course – Vince Buttrick (GGM – ERK) in 1:41 and
Trevor Smith (GM – LOW) in 1:45.
There were only two C1 paddlers with Radoslaw Olszewski finishing in front of protégé Calvin Mokoto in 2.08 and 2.13 respectively.
In the K2 races on Sunday, the top winners were Siseko Ntondini with Bradley Fisher (SOW/DABS) in 1:44, with Michael Stewart and Nicholas Weeks (ERK) 2nd in 1:45, with the third finishers being James Godden and Luke Symons (Dabs) in 1:45 as first Veterans. The 4th K2 in the bunch was the SGM partnership of Theo Smit and Pierre van der Merwe (1:45) (CEN).
Shaun Maphanga and Serge van Hee (FLO) were the first Sub Vet finishers in 1:46 as K25 and the Sub Master winners were Malcolm Stothard with Mike Barry (DABS/ERK) finishing in 1:49.
The Under 16 top finishers were Andrew Shuter and Alex Masina (1:57) as 14th K2, (DABS/JCC) and the Under 14 team winners were Jonathan Jooste and Wian Bornman (LIK) in 2:05 as K2 20.
Top Master team finishing 12th was Colin Wilson with Jim Davies (DABS) in 1:50 and the GM category winners were Rodney Carpenter with Vincent Buttrick (ERK) in 2.00!
The first Great Grand Master finishers were Mike Howard and John Rowan (JCC/ERK) in 2:08 as the 22nd K2.
Only two ladies teams participated in the K2 event, with Anna Clifford Arwidi and Sarah Evans (DABS) finishing in 2.00 as 16th K2, and young Under 14 Caroline van der Linde with Megan Oelofse in 2.05 as K2 21.
Well done to the school leaguers who were able to manage the longer distance tougher races at the Gauteng Marathon Championships.
The Schools League organizes monthly races for new and younger paddlers to get into canoeing, racing, and have a system to monitor their progress – points are awarded to individuals on a sliding scale which accumulate through the year and are credited to the school as well as the club represented by the paddler, and an annual prizegiving recognizes the achievements – it’s a great program to prepare youths for main stream GCU Calendar adult races as they get stronger and fitter over the years.
These youngsters are our feeder to the canoeing sport and many of the young paddlers who started out in guppies have become our top achievers in Gauteng canoeing across the disciplines including rivers.
The Guppies were not required to do a portage section and they will need to practice smooth take outs and put ins for the SA marathon champs next month!
The Under 8 and Under 10’s 4km race was quite manageable for most of the regular sprinters with young Kara Du Preez being the only girl racer and looking really strong, while Theo Dreyer and Linton Oelofse took first and 2nd place in under 8 Boys……(CEN/LIK/LIK)
Matthew van der Merwe won the Under 10 boys race with Luthando Gxobole in 2nd and Nicholas Erwee 3rd. (FLCC/SOW/DABS
The Under 12 girls Megan Oelofse and Abigail Bezuidenhout (LIK) led the guppy race from start to finish effortlessly it seemed showing no signs of strain on the 6km stretch, while Jaydon Hunt won the boys Under 12, with Inus du Preez in 2nd and Connor Erwee in 3rd. (FLCC/CEN/DABS
The Under 14’s always find it a huge challenge as the distances jump from 6 km in Under 12 to around 15km for Under 14 and only paddlers who are training at least 3 times weekly and are able to do regular 10km time trials would be comfortable with this endurance event so newer paddlers will definitely take strain as they would need a couple of years paddling to get strong enough to cope with the long distance plus the portage, lifting the boat and dragging it around on the grass!
Well done then to Jaime Wellisch (VLC) who has only been paddling for a few months and has already achieved a great deal including completing the tough long distance and the tiny young girl really struggled with portaging but she hung in there bravely and did not give up finishing as the 2nd Under 14 girl in 1:40, with the amazing Caroline Van der Linde (LIK) in 1st place which has been her trend for some years – including at the SA interschool sprints last weekend – so – strong in sprints AND marathons, finishing in 2nd place even against the boys in Under 14 !
Jonathan jooste (LIK) was the first place winner in 1:32, Sibusiso Chwayi (SOW) 2nd, and Wian Bornman (LIK) 3rd
The Under 18 race was won by Johan Ubbink (CEN) in 1:52, with Siyabonga Tyiki (SOW) 2nd and Spoon Mkhuzangwe (VIC) 3rd, while the Under 16 race was led by Alex Masina (JCC)and these youths did the full adult distance of 22km at this particular event, with Alex managing to stay with the 2nd bunch right throughout the race finishing 8th overall right behind strong adult paddlers in 1 hour 50 minute.
Buti Lamola (VIC) and Dewiko Loots (LOW) were 2nd and 3rd Under 16 finishers.
School league only works on individuals so K1 races, but a few of the youths also teamed up to paddle the K2 trials on Sunday with the top junior finisher being Andrew Shuter with Alex Masina (Dabs/JCC) in 1:57 as the 14th K2, with Dewiko Loots and Liam Stewart 2nd Under 16 as 18th K2, and the 3rd place Under 16 K2 was 19th was Sibusiso Chwayi and Lona Magadla (SOW).
Jonathan Jooste partnered with Wian Bornman (LIK) to take top podium position for the Under 14’s as the 20th finishing K2, with second place going to Caroline van der Linde and Megan Oelofse (LIK) the only female k2 juniors in 21st position, and young Zanenhlahla Mbala (SOW) finished in a K1 as the 3rd Under 14 in the race!
So some very strong developing youth at these provincial events which bodes well for the future of canoeing in Gauteng! Well done to all the brave hard workers!